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Richard Hunt

Kwaguilth Moon mask

The Moon mask captures the moment, acted out in traditional Kwagiulth dance ceremonies, when a person is transformed into the Moon.  During the dance, the performer, dressed in the Kla-sala headdress, which denotes status as a high ranking individual, is chased from the bighouse.  Later, to the amazement of the assembled guests, the performer re-enters the house in the guise of the Moon, wearing a mask that represents this supernatural being.

The right to use the Moon as a crest, and to dance with the mask, is an inherited privilege which belongs to the Hunt family.

red cedar, 16" x 14", paint

 

Richard Hunt

Richard

I try to remember to thank our ancestors for keeping our traditions and culture alive.  They went through a lot of hardship for us.  The main influence in my artwork came from my father, Henry Hunt, as well as from Willie Seaweed's work.  These are the people who turned our works from being considered a craft to being regarded as historical art.  I believe the time has come to recognize our works as cultural property.

When I make something, I am claiming the rights to it for myself, and at the same time for our children and all  Kwakwaka'wakw people.  They are the ones who really own it.

I was thirteen when I decided that I wanted to be a carver.  My brothers and I had gone berry picking in Saanich to make money.  I dreamt of berries all that night, and woke up the next morning knowing that I wanted to be a carver like my dad.  My mother told me to go and learn from my father, and that's how I started, making little paddles and masks.  It was a hobby that turned into a way of making an income through my school years.  The more I carved, the more I realized that what I was carving came from my culture.  That is why I believe that what I create is cultural property and it is my job to educate the public about my culture as much as I can to keep it alive.

        to commission an artwork please call Richard at 250-889-1423 or via email richard@richardhunt.com