Sean Whonnock (Wanukw "River owner") is a Kwakwaka'wakw artist working in wood, canvas, stone, and precious metals. Sean was born and lives in Alert Bay. At the age of nine Sean was introduced to Northwest Coast Art through his cousin Joe Peters. At age twelve, Sean was selected to enter a carving program led by George Hunt Jr. This knowledge further encouraged and influenced his abilities as an artist.
Sean has been carving and painting professionally since 1990. He is continuously refining and defining his own style. His love of art is inspired by the Kwakwaka'wakw culture. Sean's work is prized by private collectors, galleries, and museums.
Sean actively participates in his culture by attending Potlatches and has recently been initiated into the Great Grizzly Bear Society. Sean and his family believe that it is very important to uphold their family names and privileges. As is the Kwakwaka'wakw culture, Sean continues to give back to his people and families by contributing specific masks and pieces for potlatches and ceremonies.
While Sean is an acknowledged carver of poles, he is best known for his exquisitely detailed and traditionally carved Chiefs' rattles. These ceremonial rattles are in many private collections worldwide. In addition to being beautiful art pieces, the rattles are completely functional and when used in traditional ceremonies the rattles resonate into every corner of the Big House.