Arts and Entertainment

Large Sun Mask, carved by noted artist Tom Hunt, on display at Arctic Raven Gallery

Top photo: Lee Brooks, owner of Arctic Raven Gallery in Friday Harbor, assesses a Sun Mask carved by noted Kwakwaka
Top photo: Lee Brooks, owner of Arctic Raven Gallery in Friday Harbor, assesses a Sun Mask carved by noted Kwakwaka'wakw Nation carver Tom Hunt. Bottom photo: Brooks holds one of the sun's rays.
— image credit: Richard Walker

Arctic Raven Gallery, which specializes in Northwest Coast Native art, is displaying a Sun Mask carved by noted Kwakwaka'wakw Nation carver Tom Hunt.

The mask is more than 8 feet wide and just under 8 foot tall. Arctic Raven owner Lee Brooks could only guess on the weight, but said it took four people to pick it up and hang it.

The face and rim are carved of red cedar. The face includes a depiction of Hawkman; on the rim is Sisiutl, a two-headed sea serpent. There are seven sun rays carved of yellow cedar. Each ray has an eagle design. Hawkman, Sisiutl and the eagle are symbols associated with family crests and/or village sites, Hunt said.

Hunt is the son of Hereditary Chief George Hunt and Mary Hunt. He was born in Victoria, B.C., in 1964 and began apprenticing in Kwakwaka'wakw art with his father at the age of 12. He later worked with his brother, George Hunt Jr. He spent several summers in Campbell River working with his maternal grandfather, the late Sam Henderson, and learned the artistic style of the 'Nakwaxda'xw Nation (Blunden Harbour).

In 1983, he moved to his home village of Fort Rupert (Tsaxis) on the northern tip of Vancouver Island and worked as an assistant to his uncle Calvin Hunt, owner and operator of the Copper Maker Gallery.

Hunt has been an assistant carver to Coast Salish artist Susan Point on several of her large sculptures. He moves comfortably from massive wood sculptures to very small, intricate pieces.

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