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Red Cedar wood, Cedar Bark, Feathers, Acrylic paint
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Red Cedar wood, Cedar Bark, Feathers, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||22 x 18 x 14" (55.88 x 45.72 x 35.56cm)|
Barry Scow was born in 1964 in the village of Alert Bay, British Columbia, an area located of the northern tip of Vancouver Island known for its long-standing tradition of producing and nurturing powerful carvers. His grandfather was a Chief and as a result of this, Barry Scow grew up with a strong sense of his cultural heritage. His uncle was the first Indigenous person to graduate from UBC School of Law, and he became a partner in a successful law firm, then later became a BC Provincial Court Judge. He influenced Barry significantly and intended to adopt Barry as a child.
During Barry’s early years as an artist, he was often hired to repair totem poles. This allowed him to learn from many different artists and become familiar with the carving styles of different nations of the Northwest Coast. For two years after the 1987 Expo, Barry Scow formally apprenticed under the late Joe Peters Junior. He then studied under Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick, one of the most prominent carvers on the Northwest Coast. In 1992 Barry, Wayne, and Beau worked together to carve a 40-foot totem pole that stands in Stanley Park today.
Exhibiting great determination to become an accomplished carver, Scow has emerged as an important talent and is now carving powerful and finely crafted masks. Currently, he is the only artist focusing solely on transformation and other types of articulated masks – a skill he started developing in his youth when he was a puppet master, carving animated puppets.
Scow has exhibited the discipline and determination to become one of the Northwest Coast’s prominent Kwakwaka’wakw artists. Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery is pleased to present the work of this outstanding artist.
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Red Cedar wood, Cedar bark, Horse hair, Acrylic paint
21 x 13.5 x 9″
30 x 15 x 9″ (including hair)
Bukwus, also known as the Wild Man of the Woods, is an eerie supernatural creature from the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. This figure can be found lurking at the edge of a stream or in the shadows of the forest, always in search of souls that he can steal for himself. The souls that are caught by the Bukwus can be seen hovering near him, and are eternally condemned to misery, hunger, wandering, and evilness.
In his new book, The Way Home: David Neel, David features the full story of how the Bukwus figure came to be. As the story goes, there was once a group of villagers who went fishing for salmon together every fall. One man wanted to become a strong warrior, and would walk a great distance from their fishing camp each morning to bathe in the freezing mountain stream and purify himself. However, one morning, the man could not find his way back to the camp. No matter what he tried, he would always end up back at the mountain stream. His friends from the camp eventually went searching for him, but they were unable to find their friend.
Upon the group’s return to the fishing camp the following year, the man was spotted by two of the women while they were canoeing. They quickly ran back to the camp to tell the others, who went out the next day to search for him. To their shock, when they found their friend, they realized that he had become a Wildman. Although they tried to catch him, he jumped far above their heads and escaped back into the woods. After coming up with a plan, they returned the next day and managed to capture the man, though it took a dozen men to hold him down and bind him. With the help of a shaman, they were eventually able to tame their lost friend, and he returned to his life as a villager. Still, he remained stronger and faster than any other man, becoming a great warrior for his people.
David Neel’s Bukwus Mask exemplifies several of the distinct features traditionally used to depict this Wild Man of the Woods. The mask is given a shadowy, human-like form, emphasizes the attributes of the human skull. It is painted in dark colour tones that are commonly associated with the forest, and features deeply sunken eyes, a strong protruding brow, hollowed cheeks, and a hooked nose. During ceremonies, the firelight casts dark shadows across these features, creating ominous shadows that accentuate this creature’s dark nature.
Red Cedar wood, Human hair, Acrylic paint
This Welcome Figure portrait mask, based on a Nuu chah nulth mask from the 1850’s, would be danced during a ceremonial welcome song which belongs to the David family of the Tla-O-Qui-Aht clan. Smoked elk hide has been rigged to the back of the piece to hold it securely in place when being danced.
Other works by this artist
Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
“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.