This Nuu-chah-nulth Land Chief Mask by Kwagu’ł artist Calvin Hunt is carved in red cedar and painted in red, green, red, yellow, brown and black acrylic. The mask has an articulated jaw, copper eyebrows, and horsehair.
"We are all related to the environment that we live in—the sky, land, water. The land we live in is who we are and where we come from."
Reflecting his maternal heritage, Calvin’s Land Man mask, with its high forehead, distinctive eye form, flat planes and bold asymmetric geometric designs, recalls traditional Nuu-chah-nulth artistic conventions.
"This is my version of a portrait mask carved in Nuu-chah-nulth style—using the colours of Mother Earth.
Some young artists seem to like to use bright colours and sometimes you can ruin a piece just by using colours that just don’t go well together.
I think that was something that our grandfather, Mungo Martin, thought about. In the 1950s when he was working at the provincial museum in Victoria, he mixed up a batch of original colours used by the Kwakwaka’wakw on their poles and masks and took them to BAPCO, the paint company. Based on Mungo’s advice, they created a special set of commercial oil paints called “Totem Pole Paint.”
And you know, his colours weren’t big and bold and flashy. They were all nice and they went well together. And that’s what I try to do." —Calvin Hunt
This mask is about 16 inches or 40 cm long, 20 cm or 8 inches deep and about 10 inches or 25 wide without the hair.