Chief Tlasutiwalis, Kwagu’l, Fort Rupert
Hereditary Chief Na-soom-yees, Mowochaht, Friendly Cove
Born in 1956 into a wealth of traditional values, Calvin Hunt started woodcarving Northwest Coast Indian art at the age of 12. From 1972 to 1981, Calvin carved full time as an apprentice with Tony Hunt, Sr. (Arts of the Raven Gallery, Victoria, BC.). Calvin moved to his ancestral home of Fort Rupert in 1981 with his wife, Marie.
In May 1988, he carved and raised the Hunt Pole in Fort Rupert, (which is hereditarily owned by his oldest brother, George Hunt Sr.), with the assistance of his brothers, nephews and cousins, he also carved a memorial grave figure for his father at the Fort Rupert cemetery. These poles were the first such poles raised in the village in approximately 70 years.
With the resurgence of canoe building in 1993, Calvin and his nephew, Mervyn Child, carved a 32′ Northern Style canoe that represented the Kwagu’l Nation at “Quatuwas” canoe gathering in Bella Bella. This canoe, named after his mother, “Maxwalaogwa”, belongs to the Maxwalaogwa Canoe Society, formed by Calvin’s wife, Marie. Calvin has also carved the 32′ Northern Style “I-Hos”, and 40′ Northern Style “Ugwamalis Gixdan”, with Mervyn’s assistance. He has helped with the carving of a Munka canoe, and a 37′ West Coast Style canoe from Quatsino. Calvin and Mervyn Child are currently carving a Head Canoe.
In 1995, during a potlatch given by Calvin and his brother, Ross Hunt Sr., he received his Chief’s name, Tlasutiwalis, from his wife’s side of the family. In July of 1998, he was seated as the fourth primary Chief of the Mowachaht; the Hereditary Chieftainship, which belonged to his grandfather, Dr. Billy, of Tsuwana (Friendly Cove), his Chie’s name being “Nas soom yees”.
Calvin’s success as an artist has not gone unrecognized. In 2004 he was appointed to the Royal Canadian Academy and recieved the British Columbia Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2009. Calvin continues his work in Northwest Coast Indian artwork, working in wood, including canoe building, original silk-screened prints, gold and silver jewelry, and stone carving.
“My art work crosses the continuum of history and the present. I enjoy being able to share our culture with the world, and I feel very fortunate to have the capacity to pass on our Elders’ teachings. Most importantly, it is a way for us to teach our children, our “Gwa’layu”, (our reason for living) by providing a creative, inspiring environment that generates knowledge of their crests, legends, songs and dances, giving them a sound foundation of their identity.” – Calvin Hunt
For inquiries regarding totem pole commissions with this artist, please contact us.