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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||6.75 x 8.5 x 8.5"|
|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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Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint, Leather
The carving of flutes of the Northwest Coast extends back historically through time. The dramatic importance of the flute was indicated by the variety of specialized whistles, each of which was produced to make specific tones. Songs and dances were part fo all ceremony and ritual, a fundamental element of the inherited privilege. Equally important were the many whistles and other musical instruments that were specifically designated for most dances. Wooden whistles of one, two or three shafts, each with several holes and reeds produced a strong and clear note. Flutes and whistles were traditionally blown in the woods to introduce the cermonial season. Every instrument was the object of time, skill and concern and was considered by those who owned it as a necessary part of the family’s collection
Birch wood, Abalone, Ivory
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This ornately detailed panel pipe inlayed with catlanite, abalone shell and mother of pearl tells the ancient story of Nanasimgit.
The man or Nanasimgit is depicted at the bottom of the pipe holding skils to represent his stature. It shows the numerous potlatches he has held. The following story is a shortened version as told by the artist, Christian White:
One day, the man’s wife was washing sea otter skins near the ocean, when a Killerwhale arose from the surface. It coaxed her into the water and carried her seaward while her husband watched in disbelief. Without hesitation, he quickly decided to follow them until the Killerwhale dove near a two-headed kelp, which prevented him from going any further. He was feeling quite distraught as he returned back to the village but by then he had decided to seek the help of his uncle, the Frog.
The Frog offered him advice on how he could get his wife back and suggested that he take specific objects with him for his journey. He brought spruce root twine, a gimlet and medicine, placing them in his canoe. But, before he embarked on his journey, he was urged to undergo a fast in order to cleanse his body, which involved various rituals.
Once the fast was completed, the man embarked on his quest until he came across the kelp he had encountered before. He tied his canoe to the kelp along with his possessions and climbed down beneath the surface to find himself in another world. He followed a path where he encountered three blind women that resembled Geese. He used his medicine to cure two of the women while the third one chose not to accept the medicine. The cured women vowed to repay him for his deed. As he proceeded onward, the man came across two slaves, from the Killerwhale clan, chopping wood. As they proceeded to chop the wood, the head of their axe fell off and they began to cry knowing the consequences they would face from the Chief. The man stopped to assist them and in return they directed him to his wife’s dwelling. The slaves warned the man of the watchmen pole that stood in front of the longhouse protecting the inhabitants. The watchmen had the ability to scent out and watch out for intruders.
While he proceeded further on his path and thought about how to divert the watchmen, the man encountered a Heron repairing a canoe without success. The man stopped to offer him his gimlet to successfully repair the canoe. In return for his generosity, the Heron helped conceal the man under his wing blanket from the Black Whale guards and the watchmen. He successfully entered the longhouse to happily find his wife. At this point, the watchmen discovered the man taking his wife back with him, but were unable to stop him.
When the man arrived back with his wife to his village he felt a different connection with her, as though she was not herself. At night, he would keep her in a bentwood box, but one morning when he awoke, to his surprise she escaped. She left to be with her Killerwhale family and fully transformed into a Killerwhale. This was the last he saw of her.
4.75 x 10.25 x 1.25″ (without base)
8 x 12 x 5.25″ (with base)
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Hide, Acrylic paint, Yellow Cedar, Leather
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Beater: 19 x 2.5 x 1″
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