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Beau Dick (Kwakwaka’wakw)

Red cedar & acrylic

30″ x 30″ x 19″


“Winds were of vital importance to Yup’ik hunters who travelled over miles of repetitive land and seascapes in search of game, and the return route home. Winning the favour of the spirits of the various wind directions included masks created in their likeness. With the accompanying songs, the dances made manifest the spirits and gave them an identity that could be displayed and addressed. The wooden paddle like shapes suspended on this mask and similar ones, created sounds that were heard as the voices of the spirits. Negakfok means the cold weather or the north wind spirit, ones who controlled and influenced the winds in either good or bad ways. The spirits allowed the wind to pass through it, via the large wooden tube. It’s outstretched hands and hoops would cause the wind to become either more or less cold or intense. By addressing the spirit through dancing, singing and the actions of the shamans, the hunters hoped to bring about the best conditions. Feathers [would have been) placed in the holes around the upper edge of [this style of mask], fanning out in front of the bentwood hoops that represent the universe in which the spirits operate.” – Steven Clay Brown