Bookwus, 1980

Original size is 1500 × 1229 pixels

Beau Dick (Kwakwaka’wakw)

Red cedar, acrylic, cedar bark, feathers

47” x 16” x 18” (119 x 41 x 46cm)
includes cedar bark and feathers

POR

Known from the stories of the Kwakwaka’wakw people, Bookwus (Wild Man of the Woods) is a supernatural being who lurks on the edges of forests and near streams trying to lure living people and the souls of those who have drowned into his invisible abode. Also known as the Keeper of Drowned Souls, Bookwus forces his victims to eat his ghost food, which cause them to become like him, condemned to eternal hunger and wandering.
When danced, Bookwus emits a low wheezing sound which is made by the use of a double reeded whistle. The dancer will sometimes carry a carved wooden clam shell or cockleshell, which represents his food.