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Red Cedar wood, Cedar bark, Feathers, Acrylic paint
18 x 20 x 7.5"
Joe Peters Jr.
(1960 – 1994)
Born in 1960, Joe Peters Jr. was a Kwakwaka’waw artist from Alert Bay. He was descended from a long line of accomplished dancers, singers, and artists. His great-grandparents, Jonathan and Mary Whonnock, were jailed for holding Potlatches during the period in which Potlatch ceremonies were banned. Joe attended his very first Potlatch with his grandmother, Lydia Whonnock.
Joe was partly self-taught, but trained with his father and grandfather in his early years. His first official teacher was Dwayne Simeon, who taught him the basics of mask carving and design. As his artistic style developed, Joe was strongly influenced by the work of Beau Dickand Russell Smith. He strived to perfect his craft while working with John Livingston and Tony Hunt in their Victoria workshop.
In 1994, tragically, Joe passed away too early at the young age of 34.
The artworks that Joe created during his lifetime included masks, rattles, bowls and model poles, all of which can be found in pubic and private collections across Europe, Mexico, and the United States.
The regalia of a privileged Matriarch would include wearing a frontlet as a headdress when attending special ceremonies. Frontlets are typically worn by high-ranking individuals as a display of crests and status. Often, they are decorated with materials that imply great wealth and power, such as Abalone shell and Sea Lion whiskers.
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.
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