Calvin Hunt, a Kwakiutl artist for over four decades, continues to share his Tinglit, Mowachaht and Kwakwaka’wakw heritage, culture and artwork.
Hunt owns the Copper Maker Gallery, situated in the Tsakis Village, and continues to create works of art like masks, drums, carvings, and totem poles. He apprenticed under Tony Hunt Sr. at the Arts of the Raven Gallery in Victoria for 10 years at the beginning of his career, Hunt said.
|THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Calvin Hunt’s Copper Maker Gallery continues to sell finished artwork.|
Hunt has extensively travelled through Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as parts of Indonesia and Australia to work on totem poles.
In 1981, alongside his wife, Marie Hunt, Calvin decided to open the Copper Maker workshop, which has since expanded into what it is today, the Copper Maker Gallery, he mentioned in an interview.
Hunt noted that he was commissioned by the Numata Twinning Society to carve a 16-foot pole locally, then he “travelled to Numata to paint the pole along with his wife, Marie,” Hunt said via email.
Hunt was also commissioned to carve a 31-foot pole for an exhibition in New York called “Out of the Mists,” he noted. Hunt is currently working on two totem poles, one of which will be over 30-feet.
|THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Hunt is currently working on a pole that will be over 30-feet.|
In Kwakwaka’wakw culture, a totem pole can represent what is known as visual stories of family histories. The poles typically have carved images of humans or animals, each having a story behind it.
One of Hunt’s finer works was a canoe named Maxwalogwa, carved in 1993 alongside his nephew Mervin Child, and is a 32-foot traditional Kwakiutl canoe. He has also carved a 40-foot canoe called U’gwamalis Gixdan in 1997 as well for the Kwakiutl band administration. U’gwamalis Gixdan is a northern styled canoe.
The Northwest Coast artist has roots from the Tlingit ethnologist George Hunt and is the youngest son of Hereditary Chief Thomas Hunt and Emma Hunt, who is the daughter of a Mowachaht Chief Dr Billy. He is also the grandson of the world-renowned carver Mungo Martin.
Hunt has rights to Kwakiutl Chief’s name, Tlasutiwalis, which was placed on him in 1995. He also holds the fourth primary chieftainship from Mowachaht, donned on him in 1998, which is titled “Nasnamus,” which means “the waters are always calm around you.”
Hunt continues to work hard in his carving workshop today.