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Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||7.25 x 3.5 x 3.5"|
|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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“People of the Eagle” Frontlet, masterfully carved and painted by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Barry Scow, represents the Chief and his people of the Eagle clan. True to form of Barry’s fine carving, this frontlet portrays the Eagle with Sun, and commemorates Barry’s link to his Grandfather, who was a Chief, and to his heritage.
A Frontlet is a forehead mask attached to a woven headpiece, worn only by Chiefs and high-ranking individuals in order to display status. This particular frontlet carries the Eagle and Sun motif. The Eagle position belonged to the highest-ranking Chief in the village.
The Eagle lives in the sky, or Upper World, and represents status, power, peace and friendship. Eagle is the Chief of the birds, an honor he shares with the Woodpecker. The Sun is a popular Kwakwaka’wakw motif, used quite regularly in their art. The sun can represent life and creative forces as well as warmth and healing.
To further establish his high position, the Chief practiced a traditional act of discarding his wealth in front of other Chiefs. Much of this wealth was in the form of copper. To break the copper or throw it into the ocean, symbolized that he and his clan were modest of their wealth and that the value of friendship weighed more than the value of material wealth.
To assist the Chief with this historical display of modesty, a subordinate was appointed. The assistant is portrayed below the beak of the Eagle, carved in intricate detail, as one can see in the teeth and tongue of the human face. Another beautiful component of this piece are the Chief’s people, delicately cradled in the beak of the Eagle.
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The drum is considered one of the main percussive instruments, along with the rattle, which was used in traditional Northwest Coast ceremonies and cultural events. Its beat provides the basis from which dances, songs and oral histories are performed during a Potlatch.
The Thunderbird is a supernatural, mythical creature that lives high in the mountains and feeds on Killerwhale. It’s been aptly named for the thunder that rolls off its wings and lightening comes from its eyes when it flies.