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Red Cedar wood, Abalone shell
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Red Cedar wood, Abalone shell
|Dimensions||2.25 x 13 x 2.5"|
Shawn Karpes was born in Vancouver, B.C., on May 12th 1968. His training began in 1982 with George Hunt Jr., Jim Gilbert and Victor Newman during a Native art program sponsored by three levels of Victoria public schools. In this program Shawn began experimenting in three dimensional form and began concentrating on basic design, painting and woodcarving. During this time Shawn’s mother, Elisabeth Karpes (nee Alfred), was working at Arts of the Raven Gallery and introduced Shawn to many carvers. As Shawn has been raised in Whitehorse and lived there until 1977, the world of Northwest Coast carving was a new experience to him although one to which he was connected by birth.
This introduction developed into a study of his family as well as the culture and history of the Nimpkish and Kwakwaka’wakw. Through this study Shawn was able to meet and befriend many artists who in turn inspired his own work.
In 1987 Shawn Karpes began working at Raven Arts in Victoria with Tony Hunt Sr., Tony Hunt Jr., and John Livingston. During this period Shawn Karpes increased his skill in box design and mask carving techniques. To learn the art of silver and goldsmithing Shawn worked with Fah Ambers for two years. This was followed by an opportunity to work on canoes and various carving projects with renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick.
Shawn belongs to the Namgis (Nimpkish) band and descends from Alfred, Hunt, Scow and Inis families. In his work Shawn pursues both traditional designs and the natural world. He will often depict the supernatural world using a combination of the two.
For the past three years Shawn has been working for the carving program at the Royal British Columbia Museum. In 2001 he volunteered to work on the ITUSTO restoration of the world’s tallest totem pole at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, B.C.
Some of Shawn’s commissions include a carved wooden paddle with a sun design for Glanford Elementary School, Victoria B.C, a whale welcome figure and door for Victoria Native Housing Commission, Victoria, B.C., a new totem pole for Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum carved with Shawn Whonnock and Johnathan Henderson, a talking stick with eagle and bear for the Denver Museum Public Programs, a whale panel for Sir James Douglas School in Victoria, B.C., and the restoration of the thunderbird at Naden Navy Base in Esquimalt, B.C. Shawn has carved various potlatch pieces for Alert Bay families. In 1990 special recognition was given to Shawn Karpes, Doug Cranmer, Stephen Bruce, Fah Ambers, Richard Sumner and Jason Baker for their contributions to the potlatch tradition.
1994-2001 Tribal Miniatures (annual miniatures exhibition), Alcheringa Gallery, BC
2001 Raven, Moon and Sun: Carvers of the Coast, Alcheringa Gallery, BC
1998 Killerwhale and Crocodile, Alcheringa Gallery, BC
1989 Hunt Family Show, Legacy Gallery, Seattle, Washington
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Volcano Woman is perhaps one of the oldest and most revered legends which tells of a mortal”s fate if he/she does not treat sacred objects or creatures with respect. In defense of her beloved wild creatures, she controls the powerful volcanoes. Stories tell of how the killing of a frog leads the Volcano woman to destroy an entire village.
Volcano Woman is a supernatural, powerful person in First Nations mythology. She had a son who, like his mother, had supernatural abilities. He often liked to change from his Human form to that of a Frog (Wukus).
Years ago, a Prince and his two friends went fishing. Hungry, they lay their food on leaves. The Wukus (Frog), being mischievous, jumped on their food. Twice the young Prince threw the Frog into the shrubs but on the third time they threw the frog into the fire and killed the innocent creature.
A few nights later, a woman could be heard crying and wailing. “Who has done this, come forward and I will spare your village.” This warning went unheeded for some time until finally a Woman of the Elders went to the village outskirts to see her. Volcano Woman instructed the Woman of the Elders to send forth the three young men and she would spare the village from volcanic destruction. The Woman of the Elders begging for the sake of the Village told of Volcano Woman”s ultimatum – but this warning went unheeded.
On the final night of the village’s existence, Volcano Woman was heard saying, “I asked for those responsible to take heed and now you will know my vengeance.” The Village shook, a Volcano erupted, destroying the village and all who lived there.