Cole Speck (Kwakwaka’wakw)
Red cedar, acrylic, horsehair, found materials,
24″ x 26″ x 12″ (60 x 66 x 30 cm)
Pookmis is represented amongst many of the First Nations groups along the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, with slight variations in the story (as well as varied spellings). He is the keeper of drowned souls, and returns the souls of drowned whalers back to their villages during their memorial. Pookmis is often depicted in all white with whirlpool-shaped eyes. These ceremonial masks are inextricably linked to maritime life and death. He is known as Pukmis among the Nuu-chah-nulth of the west coast of Vancouver Island and Gagiid to the Haida.