Sun Panel depicting Raven, Bear, and Salmon by Tom D. Hunt, Kwakwaka'wakw
Sun Panel depicting Raven, Brown Bear, and Salmon, 2000 by Tom D. Hunt, Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation hand carved and painted red cedar 8’ 4” in diameter x 30” deep This mask hangs with a French cleat that is provided.
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This spectacular Sun Panel is considered by Tom D. Hunt (Walawidi) one of his great design achievements to date. Measuring just over 8 feet in diameter, this monumental work depicts the renown Hunt and Henderson family crests. The face, rim, and rays are hand carved of red cedar. The central figure is Raven, on the rim are Brown Bears, and on the seven sun rays are Salmon.
Raven is the creator, and one of the most important figures in Northwest Coast mythology and art. He released first man from the cockle shell, he brought daylight to the world. But Raven has two sides. On one one side Raven can be creative, intelligent, curious, and adventurous, on the other side he can be mischievous and a trickster.
Bear symbolizes strength, healing and doctoring. Shamanic medicine began when people followed bears to observe what they ate when sick and what they rubbed against when wounded. Bears have great power and strength. They are protectors. Think of a a mother Bear and her cubs. Families with a Bear crest are believed to be descended from a time when Humans and Bears transformed back and forth.
Salmon is a symbol of perseverance, self-sacrifice, regeneration and prosperity to the First Nation cultures of the Northwest Coast. For thousands of years, this fish has been the primary food source for coastal people, and is held in high esteem for the important role it continues to play in Northwest coast cultures and ecosystems today.
Tom D. Hunt(Walawidi) is the son of Hereditary Chief George Hunt and Mary Henderson of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. Born in Victoria in 1964, Tom began apprenticing with his father at the age of twelve, and later worked with his brother George Hunt Jr.When entering his teenage years, Tom spent several summers in Campbell River working with his maternal grandfather the late Master Carver and Keeper of Tradition Sam Henderson. During that stage of his development of Kwakwaka’wakw art style, Tom learned the artistic style of the ‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation (Blunden Harbour).
With the family ties in Campbell River and Fort Rupert, Tom’s strength is the knowledge of the Kwakwaka’wakw history which he shares through the art works he creates.Tom’s families are active in the potlatch system which gives Tom appreciation of the preparation of completed masks which will be shown at a potlatch.
In 1983, he moved to his home village of Fort Rupert (Tsaxis) on the northern tip of Vancouver Island.There he worked as an assistant to his uncle Calvin Hunt, owner and operator of the Copper Maker Gallery.This apprenticeship was an important period in Tom’s development as a versatile and accomplished artist.
Now a master carver in his own right, Tom has works in Private and Museum collections throughout the world including the Seattle Art Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, Hudson Museum, Maine, Weltkulturen Museum, Germany,
Today, Tom moves comfortably from massive wood sculptures to very small, intricate pieces, and he continues to produce pieces from his home in Fort Rupert.