Loon Mask, 2016
by David Mungo Knox, Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation
red cedar, cedar bark, pigment
17" high x 32" wide x 12" deep
Associated with copper and wealth, Loon symbolizes peace, tranquility, communication, serenity, & generosity. In the years of the great flood that took over all the land, a loon carried a willow branch across the water bringing hope to the people, by telling them the water was receding.
As well, Loon is revered for its unique and often haunting voice, and is respected for its knowledge of various realms. Animals with unique vocal talents are held in high regard by Northwest Coast peoples, who traditionally perceive words, voice and song as carriers of power and magic.
Hereditary Chief David Mungo Knox was born on November 14, 1973 in Port Hardy, British Columbia. He is from the Kwakwaka'wakw nation. He apprenticed under his uncle Tony Hunt Sr., and his cousin Tom Hunt. He is the great grandson of master carver Mungo Martin (1881-1962) and comes from a great line of hereditary chiefs, master carvers, singers, and dancers.
David carries on his family traditions preserving the unique Kwakwaka’wakw style. He works in a variety of mediums, carving in both red and yellow cedar. He also carves and designs his own drums that he uses ceremonially. His goal is to carry on family traditions and to preserve the Kwakwaka’wakw culture.
“My name is David Mungo Knox, my Indian name is, ‘Maswayalidzi’, which means potlatch giver. I am a Walas Kwakiutl artist from Fort Rupert (T’asix’s), British Columbia. Fort Rupert is known as the capital of potlatching, which has been a part of my family’s traditions for many generations.
I am also from a line of Hereditary Chiefs, master carvers and very skilled dancers. My kinmanship stems from my father Chief Peter Knox (Martin) who is the son of David Martin. My grandfather Dave Martin was the only son of the late Chief Mungo Martin. Both my father and grandfather learned their artistic skills from my great-grandfather. I started to carving in the spring of 1991 in Victoria at the Royal BC Museum. I continue to apprentice under my Uncle Chief Tony Hunt Sr. who was also taught by my great-grandfather Mungo Martin.”
-David Mungo Knox