Transformation Mask depicting Raven and Human, 1994
by Tom D. Hunt, Kwakwaka'wakw
red cedar, cords, pigment
18” high x 36” wide x 33” deep (closed)
38” high x 45” wide x 36” deep (open)
The son of Hereditary Chief George Hunt and Mary Henderson Hunt, Tom D. Hunt (Walawidi) is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation who was 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 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. He moves comfortably from massive wood sculptures to very small, intricate pieces. Tom has works in collections worldwide and he continues to produce pieces from his home in Fort Rupert.