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Yellow Cedar Wood, Acrylic Paint, Abalone
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Yellow Cedar Wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||13.5 x 14 x 7.5"|
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 native person to graduate from UBC School of Law. He became a partner in a successful law firm and later became a BC Provincial Court Judge. He significantly influenced Barry, intending 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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One day, the man’s wife was washing sea otter skins near the ocean, when a Killerwhale arose from the surface. It coaxed her into the water and carried her seaward while her husband watched in disbelief. Without hesitation, he quickly decided to follow them until the Killerwhale dove near a two-headed kelp, which prevented him from going any further. He was feeling quite distraught as he returned back to the village but by then he had decided to seek the help of his uncle, the Frog.
The Frog offered him advice on how he could get his wife back and suggested that he take specific objects with him for his journey. He brought spruce root twine, a gimlet and medicine, placing them in his canoe. But, before he embarked on his journey, he was urged to undergo a fast in order to cleanse his body, which involved various rituals.
Once the fast was completed, the man embarked on his quest until he came across the kelp he had encountered before. He tied his canoe to the kelp along with his possessions and climbed down beneath the surface to find himself in another world. He followed a path where he encountered three blind women that resembled Geese. He used his medicine to cure two of the women while the third one chose not to accept the medicine. The cured women vowed to repay him for his deed. As he proceeded onward, the man came across two slaves, from the Killerwhale clan, chopping wood. As they proceeded to chop the wood, the head of their axe fell off and they began to cry knowing the consequences they would face from the Chief. The man stopped to assist them and in return they directed him to his wife’s dwelling. The slaves warned the man of the watchmen pole that stood in front of the longhouse protecting the inhabitants. The watchmen had the ability to scent out and watch out for intruders.
While he proceeded further on his path and thought about how to divert the watchmen, the man encountered a Heron repairing a canoe without success. The man stopped to offer him his gimlet to successfully repair the canoe. In return for his generosity, the Heron helped conceal the man under his wing blanket from the Black Whale guards and the watchmen. He successfully entered the longhouse to happily find his wife. At this point, the watchmen discovered the man taking his wife back with him, but were unable to stop him.
When the man arrived back with his wife to his village he felt a different connection with her, as though she was not herself. At night, he would keep her in a bentwood box, but one morning when he awoke, to his surprise she escaped. She left to be with her Killerwhale family and fully transformed into a Killerwhale. This was the last he saw of her.
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.