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Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Copper onlay, Acrylic paint
“This mask was inspired by the tribal histories and origins of my grandmother Agnes (Hunt) Cranmer (Gwantilakw), and my grandfather Dan Cranmer (Pal Nakwala Wakas). Agnes (Hunt) Cranmer’s great grandmother was Mary Ebetts (Anisalaga), a Tlingit noblewoman from Tongass, Alaska, and the matriarch of the Hunt family. Anisalaga was a Chilkat blanket weaver, and the mother of ten children, she wove a blanket for each of her children, which is quite an undertaking considering it takes about a year to weave one blanket. The raven was Anisalaga’s main crest, and when she married into the Hunt family she brought the right to many treasures including the Raven crest, Raven frontlet, and the Chilkat blanket. The colours used to paint the sun mask (teal blue, white, black, and yellow) are the same colours that you would see in a Chilkat blanket. The two Ravens on the rim of the mask represent not only Anisalaga, but granny Gwatilikw who brought these privileges to the Cranmer family as a marriage dowry. The Raven mask itself is stylized after a Raven frontlet I made for my daughter Ganao (angle of the beak, used of abalone and copper). The sun is actually an original ancestor of the Sisantte clan, one of the five clans that make up my grandfather’s (Dan Cranmer) ‘Namgis tribe. These original ancestors transformed to human form, and became the first people of our tribes, passing down songs, dances, crests, histories to their descendants who live on today. So essentially this mask represents two family histories and origins in which I proudly share.” – Gilakasla T’sukt’sa’esagame Kevin Daniel Cranmer
Nuu Chah Nulth carver Tom Paul has carved his Winter Moon mask from red cedar wood and finished the piece with light washes of green accented with stamped arrangements of white snowflakes and evergreens. Slightly abstract, this work reflects the ongoing theme of the Nuu Chah Nulth’s thirteen moons, while experimenting with new ways of designing and configuring forms. The moon told of the arrival of food sources such as the salmon’s return and the quantities of certain crops. Culturally, each moon was characterized by images that represented that particular time of year – such are the swirling wind motifs and somber colors in this mask. The small figure on the right-hand side of the central moon face depicts the wind that brings the great flood waters. Each winter these waters wash the earth and prepare for a new beginning.