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Yellow Cedar wood, Copper, Acrylic paint
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- Artist Bio
Yellow Cedar wood, Copper, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||59 x 5.5 x 1"|
|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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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.
Elk hide, Sinew, Acrylic paint
The drum is considered one of the main percussive instruments, along with the rattle, which was used in traditional Northwest Coast ceremonies and cultural events. Its beat provides the basis from which dances, songs and oral histories are performed during a Potlatch.
The Thunderbird is a supernatural, mythical creature that lives high in the mountains and feeds on Killerwhale. It’s been aptly named for the thunder that rolls off its wings and lightening comes from its eyes when it flies.
Other works by this artist
Price upon request
Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Cedar rope, Acrylic paint
“The 4 Chilkat Faces on the side of the box lid., touch on our Tlingit ancestry through our great,great,great,great grandmother Anisalaga, who was a Chilkat Blanket weaver. The faces are stylized after faces seen on Chilkat blankets, and also represent our ancestors. The split Maxinukw, or Killer Whale design represents one of the main crests of my fathers tribe, the Namgis, our people believe some of our chiefs, after they pass on to the spirit world, transform into Killer Whales. The face of Kumugwe, the Chief of the undersea world,can be seen portrayed between the Killer Whales, who originate and reside in his kingdom under the sea. The Moon is portrayed between two Salmon, the Moon controls the tides of our rivers and oceans, the source of our great wealth and gift of Salmon, the Kwakwakawakw are known as The Salmon People. The Salmons eggs are visible between the tails of the Salmon. On either end of the box are two Bears , biting onto cedar bark rope, which serve as the handles for the box., the Bear represents the strength and wisdom of the creatures of our lands.” – Kevin Cranmer