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Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||48 x 6.25 x 1"|
Jon Maxwell Henderson (Wa nu kw) is a member of the Campbell River Weiwaikum Band. He was born in Alert Bay, BC in 1969 to Sharon Whonnock (Wa nu kw) and Dan Henderson. Dan Henderson is the Hereditary Chief of the Henderson Family, and holds the name Udzistalis. When initiated as a Hamatsa dancer, Jon’s father gave him the name Akh Akh yala gilis that translates to “man standing on the beach with his mouth open.”
For the first 15 years of his life, he grew up with his mother’s side of the family. On three different occasions, while visiting his father, Jon had the rare opportunity to watch his grandfather, Sam Henderson carve totem poles, which led him to begin designing and carving on his own at the age of 13.
In 1986, Jon moved to Campbell River where he studied and learned more about the Kwagiulth or Kwakwaka’wakw art styles from his father and uncles, Bill and Mark Henderson. Jon primarily works with red and yellow cedar. He carves totem poles, masks, feast dishes, spoons (all in various sizes). In addition, he specializes in original paintings and serigraph prints. After graduating from high school in Campbell River in 1991, Jon moved on to Malaspina College where he received a certificate from the Professional Cook Training Program.
In 1993, he started learning traditional Kwagiulth songs under the tutelage of Chief Frank Nelson. To this day, Jon continues to learn from Chief Frank Nelson and other Chiefs when participating in Potlatches, Feasts and other cultural functions.
In 1996, he began carving at the Thunderbird Park carving shed, which is located on the Royal British Columbia Museum grounds in Victoria. Jon continued to carve there until 1999, along with fellow carvers, Sean Whonnock, Jason Hunt, Shawn Karpes and Luke Marsten, where they demonstrated, during the summer months, their carving skills to the tourist trade.
On October 30th, 1999 Jon and his brother, Sean Whonnock (Wa nu kw), raised a 25-foot totem pole in Thunderbird Park. The crests honour both the Henderson and Wa nu kw families. The totem pole was dedicated to the Coast Salish people, of the Victoria area, on behalf of the Kwakwala speaking people.
Jon is the proud father of two children, a son Darren and a daughter Cheyenne. While he raises his young family along side his life partner Laureen, he continues to develop and define his distinctive style of painting and carving.
“I have been carving for a living since 1994 and have strong beliefs in the richness and diversity of my culture. I will continue to carve with respect to the ways my father has taught me and with the proper protocol in the ways things are to be done. I will do my best to preserve and restore what I can of my culture as I feel an obligation to make sure there will be something for my children and for future generations of the Kwakwala speaking people. I must state that while I do not yet know everything about my culture, I know about what I carve and paint and what I represent. I feel that I am a suitable ambassador for my culture and student of it for the rest of my life.”
2007 Coastal Legacy, a group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., November
2006 Transcendence – a decade in perspective, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
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Price upon request
This piece opens to reveal an inner box with relief engraving that echos the outer lid.
Traditionally, boxes were considered prized possessions and customarily used to store wealth or special ceremonial objects such as masks, rattles, clothing and adornments. People often gave names to these beautiful ornate boxes, told stories about their histories and treated them as family heirlooms. However, non-decorated boxes acted as instruments of life – from storing less precious articles, to food and later used for mortuary purposes. In Haida mythology, a stack of boxes contained the essence from which Raven created the world.
Eagle, Dogfish, Beaver and Frog Box retains its traditional elements through conception and imagery. Derek exhibits his mastery in his precision of line and perfect symmetry of the formline of 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.
The box contains not only depictions of four important crest animals, but connects to past traditions in which a box held more than the material object, it also linked people to their heritage, lineage and each other.
Bronze Cast, Marble base
Edition of 12
9.5 x 8 x 5″
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.
Price upon request
Argillite, Abalone shell, Mother of Pearl, Catlanite
This ornately detailed panel pipe inlayed with catlanite, abalone shell and mother of pearl tells the ancient story of Nanasimgit.
The man or Nanasimgit is depicted at the bottom of the pipe holding skils to represent his stature. It shows the numerous potlatches he has held. The following story is a shortened version as told by the artist, Christian White:
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.