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Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
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- Artist Bio
Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||61.25 x 5.5 x 1.5"|
|Artist||Kevin Daniel Cranmer|
Kwakwaka’wakw artist Kevin Cranmer was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia, but has lived all but four years of his life in Victoria. His father, Danny, is from the ‘Namgis Nation, while his mother, Lily, is from the Mamlilikala Nation. These are just two of the many Nations of the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples. Cranmer’s work often speaks to his diverse coastal background as he can trace his ancestry to the many Nations of Kwakwaka’wakw people as well the Tlingit of Alaska.
As the nephew of Doug Cranmer, the renowned Kwak’waka’wakw artist and Namgis chief, Kevin has been immersed in the world of art from a very young age. His formal instruction came under the tutelage of his cousin, George Hunt Jr. He later worked with artists Tony Hunt Sr., Tony Hunt Jr., and Calvin Hunt. Kevin’s introduction to larger monumental sculpture began when he first started to work alongside renowned Nuu-chah-nulth artist, Tim Paul, in Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum. Thus, his large-scale works include several large co-operative projects: a 40 foot pole which stands in Stanley Park, Vancouver; a 36 foot pole carved for the closing ceremonies at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand and an elaborately carved and painted Chief’s seat for the newly rebuilt Big House in Alert Bay.
Kevin Cranmer is an active participant in the continuation of his cultural heritage through the arts. He is a respected member of his community and is an initiated Hamatsa member, one of the most sacred of the complex secret dance societies of the Kwakwaka’wakw. His artistic works not only exhibit and share unique Kwakwaka’wakw formal traditions but also preserve those traditions for future generations. Kevin Cranmer continues to create pieces for family and for use in ceremony.
2014 Winter Solstice: Celebrating the Coming of Light, an online group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., November
2012 Cranmer + Gray, Duel Artist exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
2007 Coastal Legacy, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
2006 Transcendence: a decade in perspective, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts
2005 Where the Spirits Gather, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
2005 Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest, Group Exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History. New York, USA.
2004 Box of Treasures, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
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Cattle Bone, Abalone shell, Cedar bark
Commonly used by a Shaman, soul catchers were used to cleanse human souls and spirits. If a person was sick, or perhaps possessed by a demon spirit, the soul catcher was used to coerce the evil spirit out of the body. The open ends were caped with cedar bark to hold the soul until it was cleansed and brought back from the spirit world. The healed soul of the recipient was then returned to the body by the Shaman by blowing through the soul catcher and into to the patient’s mouth.
The shape of the soul catcher is typically cut from animal bone in such a way that the ends are flared outward and the surface is carved with figures associated with the Shaman’s spirit guides. Spirit guides accompany the human spirit or soul on its transformative journey between worlds. The ends of the Soul Catcher were sealed to contain these spirits. They also protect the boundaries between the physical and spiritual world, keeping those involved in the healing ceremony safe from evil minded spirits and beings. The symmetrical arrangement of the figures essentially defines objects of this type and the figures tend to more sculptural in appearance.
Soul catchers are extremely powerful and respected healing instruments; because of this, they were often housed in special bentwood boxes to keep them safe.
Soul Catcher: 1.25 x 6.75 x 1.25″
Including Stand: 3.25 x 6.75 x 1.5″
Box: 5.75 x 8.75 x 5″