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Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||51 x 7 x 3.75"|
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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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.
Sterling Silver, Argillite, Abalone shell, Engraved
Although Derek White’s Beaver and Bear Box is constructed from the contemporary material of Sterling Silver combined with Argillite, this box retains its traditional values through conception and imagery. Derek exhibits his mastery in his precision of line and perfect symmetry of the formline on this treasure. The gently angled lid with Abalone inlay as well as the engraved and incised elements on the box is suggestive of the prototypic bent cornered wooden boxes and chests.
Ivory, Abalone, Sterling silver, engraved
For more details on shipping Ivory outside of Canada, please click here and then click open the Shipping section and scroll down to read more on Shipping Restrictions.
Spoons and ladles were traditionally made from either cedar wood or the horn of a mountain sheep, and their handles were carved with family crest images. Historically, these exquisitely sculptured objects were primarily created by people in Northern Nations, and were highly sought after by other nations. During potlatches [festive gatherings], cedar ladles decorated with the hosting family’s crests were used to serve food, while the elaborately carved mountain sheep spoons were distributed as gifts among the many guests.
Today, spoon and ladle productions are based on these traditional objects and are meant to be both objects of function and display. In addition to traditional mediums such as cedar wood, goat or mountain sheep horn, many modern-day spoons and ladles are constructed of gold, silver and pewter.
Other works by this artist
Red Cedar wood, Abalone shell
A ceremonial dish, also known as a feast dish or potlatch dish, was a treasured heirloom which families brought out for great feasts as a gesture of hospitality and welcoming. Presently, many ceremonial dishes are carved in miniature form, meant for collectors who appreciate the historic and symbolic value behind each artwork. This aspect of the art is considered to be a contemporary turn that northwest coast native art has taken throughout the years.