Bruce Alfred is a Kwakwaka’wakw artist of the ‘Namgis tribe. He was born August 24th, 1950 in Alert Bay, British Columbia. Immersed in the traditional practices of his Kwakwaka’wakw culture, he was raised by his grandmother the late Axu (Agnes Alfred), and currently resides in Alert Bay.
Bruce’s parents are Clarence Alfred Sr. from the Kwagu’ł (Fort Rupert) and ‘Namgis tribes; his mother is Lilac nee Matilpi from the Ma’amtagila (Matilpi Tribes) and the Kwagu’ł.
Bruce stems from a long line of prominent artists. He is a first cousin with the renowned Hunt brothers. Throughout his career he has worked with such prominent artists as Wayne Alfred, Beau Dick and Richard Hunt. World-renowned artist, Doug Cranmer was instrumental in teaching Bruce the elements of design and engraving and introduced him to the art of steam bent wood boxes and chests. Bruce has been a part of many monumental projects; including the replica building of a Haida village headed by Bill Reid and Doug Cranmer. Additionally, he also contributed to the carving of a 30-foot totem pole for his village at Alert Bay.
Bruce’s career spans 29 years. He presently focuses on steam-bent boxes and chest that are elaborately carved and painted. His signature is in the shaping of the lid, which resembles a seat. This seat-shaped lid reveals a traditional style of chests owned by Chiefs who sat on the box during special occasions. These bentwood chests and boxes are highly sought after by many international collectors for their dramatic and ancient traditional qualities.
Bruce Alfred is one of the premier artists of the Kwakwaka’wakw and his work is highly prized and sought after by collectors both locally and internationally.
British Columbia Achievement Foundation:
"The striking designs and meticulous bending, carving and painting techniques reflect the strong influence of Bruce Alfred's cultural roots. Bruce specializes in traditional masks, poles, rattles and bentwood boxes. His work is showcased in numerous private collections and has been exhibited at the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Museum of Anthropology. Bruce has been part of a team of artists who rebuilt the Alert Bay Big House and who created a Northwest Coast village in the Netherlands."
Bruce was recently honoured for his work by the BC Achievement Foundation with a 2008 award for his excellent artistic creations.