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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||11 x 14.5 x 10.75"|
|Nation||Kwakwaka'wakw ('Namgis) Nation|
Kwakwaka’wakw (‘Namgis) Nation
Bruce Alfred, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist of the ‘Namgis First Nation, was born August 24, 1950, in Alert Bay, British Columbia. Immersed in the traditional practices of the Kwakwaka’wakw culture, he was raised and currently resides in Alert Bay.
Bruce stems from a long line of prominent artists. He is first cousins with the renowned Hunt brothers. Throughout his career he has worked with such prominent artists as Wayne Alfred, Beau Dick and Richard Hunt. World-renowned artist Doug Cranmer was instrumental in teaching Alfred the elements of design and engraving and introduced him to the art of steam-bending wood boxes and chests. Alfred has been a part of many monumental projects, including the replica building of a Haida village, headed by Bill Reid and Doug Cranmer. Additionally, he contributed to the carving of a 30-foot totem pole for his village.
Alfred’s career spans over 30 years. He currently focuses on steam-bent boxes and chests that are consistently elaborately carved and painted. His signature is in the shaping of the lid, which resembles a seat. This seat-shaped lid reveals a traditional style of chests owned by the Chief who sat on the box during special occasions. These bentwood chests and boxes are highly sought after by many international collectors for their dramatic and traditional qualities.
Bruce Alfred was the recipient of BC’s 2008 Outstanding Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art. He is one of the premier artists of the Kwakwaka’wakw Peoples and his work is highly prized by collectors both locally and abroad.
2008 British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for First Nations’ Art
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Bone, Abalone shell, Cedar bark, Woven Leather cord
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: 1.5 x 9.25 x 1.5″
Including Stand: 2.75 x 9.25 x 3″
Sterling Silver, Argillite, Abalone shell, Engraved
Although Derek White’s Beaver and Bear Box is constructed from the contemporary material of Sterling Silver combined with Argillite, this box retains its traditional values through conception and imagery. Derek exhibits his mastery in his precision of line and perfect symmetry of the formline on this treasure. The gently angled lid with Abalone inlay as well as the engraved and incised elements on the box is suggestive of the prototypic bent cornered wooden boxes and chests.
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Derek White’s extraordinary Beaver & Eagle Fish Bowl, created in the traditional Haida form and utilizing the ancient technique of repousse to add dimension, demonstrates his articulate master carving and artistry skills. Containers such as bowls were traditionally created out of Cedar or Alder wood and utilized in daily life. The chosen medium of silver serves as a contemporary progression of this ancient art form while illustrating the intricate foundational links which combine cultural heritage with the arts.