Known for his work in wood, stone, precious metals and on canvas, Sean Whonnock was born and still lives in Alert Bay, BC on Northern Vancouver Island.
By the age of nine he had been introduced to the Northwest Coast Native Art form and at twelve, Sean was selected to enter a carving program led by George Hunt Jr. His art work has been influenced by other renowned carvers like Beau Dick, Wayne Alfred, Richard Hunt, Tony Hunt and Calvin Hunt. Sean is also continually inspired by Mungo Martin, Willi Seaweed and Charlie James – groundbreaking artists who helped popularize Kwakwaka’wakw art.
Sean has consistently produced carvings and paintings since 1990 and is constantly updating his own unique style. His passion is fueled by the Kwakwaka’wakw culture and his work has become valued by collectors, galleries and museums. Sean and his cousin Jonathan Henderson carved and raised a symbolic pole in Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria in 1999. The pole is offered as symbolic gratitude to the Coast Salish people for sharing their land with the Kwakwaka’wakw of Northern Vancouver Island.
Sean actively honors his culture by attending Potlatches and has been initiated into the Great Grizzly Bear Society. The Whonnocks feel it is very important to keep family names and privileges alive and well and Sean continues to give back to his people and family by carving and donating specialized masks and other pieces for ceremonial purposes. He has become best known for his ornate Chief’s rattles, pieces that have become widely collected and used in traditional ceremonies.
Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)
Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint
Sean has consistently produced carvings and paintings since 1990 and is constantly updating his own unique style. His passion is fueled by the Kwakwaka’wakw culture and his work has become valued by collectors, galleries and museums.
A ceremonial dish, also known as a feast dish or potlatch dish, was a treasured heirloom which families brought out for great feasts as a gesture of hospitality and welcoming. Presently, many ceremonial dishes are carved in miniature form, meant for collectors who appreciate the historic and symbolic value behind each artwork. This aspect of the art is considered to be a contemporary turn that northwest coast native art has taken throughout the years.
The artist’s Past Works at our Gallery have now sold; however, a custom order may be possible if the artist is available and accepting commissions.