Alan Hunt and Cole Speck

In Northwest Coast art, the same characters are revisited over and over again, and those characters have features that are foundational to them. There are certain design elements that are indicative of each character that can be mixed and matched somewhat, but ultimately have to be utilized in order to signify the creature that is being presented. In 2017, Cole and Alan finished their Dzunukwa (Tsonaqua) pole.

Both artists were apprentices of Beau Dick, who made his version of the pole years earlier. With help from Bruce and Wayne Alfred, two senior carvers in the village, Cole and Alan finished theirs six months after Beau’s passing, and undoubtedly had him mind during the process.

Commonly known under her Kwakwaka’wakw name, Tsonoqua, she is a large human-like creature who is covered with black hair and can be heard calling out huuu huuu huuu as she moves through the forest. Masks representing her typically have pursed-lips to reference this sound. Tsonoqua is also known as Copper Woman, and is symbolically associated with wealth. Many stories speak of children who help Tsonoqua and are rewarded with gifts of meat, furs, copper and supernatural powers.

Dzunukwa Figure Pole, 2017

Differences:

Alan and Cole’s:

  • eyes are open
  • laugh lines around mouth
  • wider, squared-off shoulders
  • brown in colour
  • legs are straight

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Beau’s:

  • eyes are closed
  • dense cheeks around mouth
  • sloped shoulders, tapering down
  • black in colour
  • knees are bent