The gallery features Northwest Coast Art by internationally renowned artist Calvin Hunt. (Submitted photo)

West Coast Art Gallery presents I’TUSTO Rising Again

The gallery features Northwest Coast Art by internationally renowned artist Calvin Hunt.

Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery is honoured to present I’TUSTO Rising Again, featuring a wide selection of Northwest Coast Art by internationally renowned artist Calvin Hunt. Offering works that reflect the power of contemporary Kwakwaka’wakw art, ceremony, identity and spirituality, this inspiring exhibition opens virtually Sept. 5 with songs and dances by Calvin’s dance group, the Copper Maker Dancers.

From dramatic transformation masks and dance regalia to totem poles and prints, I’TUSTO brings fresh insights to Calvin Hunt’s life-long commitment to the continuity and diversity of his cultural heritage. Descended from distinguished Kwagu’ł, Tlingit, and Mowachaht families, his Kwagu’ł name is Chief Tłasutiwalis and his Mowachaht name is Hereditary Chief Nas’a̱m’yus.

Calvin Hunt’s reputation for authenticity and artistic excellence spans the globe. Public and private collectors from Europe, Canada and the US have collected his work of totem poles, masks and dance costumes. His art has been shown in major exhibitions in Ottawa, San Francisco, Hamburg, Bonn, Bali, Tokyo, Munich, Chicago, New York, and Seattle. His poles are celebrated throughout the world and in many BC centres: Duncan, Port Hardy, Fort Rupert, Friendly Cove, Victoria, and Vancouver. Since 1989, most of the Comox Valley’s beautiful totem poles were carved by Calvin Hunt. Inducted into the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts in 2004, he was also honoured with the BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art in 2009.

Calvin Hunt has embraced the traditional role of teaching carving to others. Under his mentoring, younger First Nations artists have learned not only the traditional forms and elements of Northwest Coast Kwagu’ł style, but they have been taught the continuity in the history of ideas in Kwakwaka’wakw culture—ideas about diversity, spirituality, transformation, honour, respect, and meaning.

With a special invitation from Calvin Hunt, Karver Everson is included in the I’TUSTO exhibition. Under Hunt’s mentorship Everson and Randy Frank, have created four new poles in the Comox Valley. Reflecting the cultural traditions of both his K’ómoks and Kwagu’ł ancestors, Karver has created 6 dance masks to hang alongside Hunt’s in an exceptional pairing of master and mentee.

I’TUSTO Rising Again is an apt title for an exhibition that celebrates the growth of First Nations cultural strength through art, language, identity, ceremony and knowledge sharing. From his Copper Maker Gallery in Fort Rupert, Calvin Hunt comments, “I enjoy sharing our culture with the world, and I feel very fortunate to have the capacity to pass on our Elders’ teachings.”

I’TUSTO Rising Again will be presented in an innovative virtual format including the live-streamed opening celebration on Facebook at 1 p.m. PST on Saturday, September 5th, 2020. The exhibition and sale is also open to the public—following current pandemic response protocols—at 2926 Back Road, Courtenay, BC. Visit our website at and follow us on Facebook @spiritsofthewestcoast, Instagram @spiritsofthewestcoast and Twitter @spiritsgallery for the latest news, artist talks, and exhibition features.

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– Submitted article

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