By Don Alfred
Carved by Don Alfred
9.5"h. x 32.5"w. x 2"d.
The Salmon in the Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw Mythology
K!wek!waxawe obtains the salmon from Maesila, the salmon chief who takes the place of the Killer Whale. The myth people travel under water to the village of Salmon Chief. The wedges which the slave of Salmon Chief uses are described as never blunted since the Salmon Chief became a man in this world. He is given a stone to overcome the daughter of the Salmon Chief. After he has married her, the Salmon Chief tries to kill him by means of the spine seat. Then the younger sisters of the princess of Salmon Chief are sent to go bathing. They become sockeye salmon, and when their clothing is thrown into the water, they revive. After this the Salmon Chief is induced to have himself cut open in the same way as the Killer Whale. When K!wek!waxawe reaches his own country, together with the Salmon Princess and various kinds of Salmon who accompany her, the Deer into the salmon canoes and makes them capsize.
About the artist Don Alfred
Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwak̕wala Speaking People) artist Don Alfred was born in 1956. He was raised in Alert Bay, British Columbia. He is a member of the ‘Namgis (Alert Bay) First Nation and started carving in 1995; producing small wooden plaques, finely detailed and exquisitely painted. Since then he has moved on to larger pieces such as carved coffee tables with abalone inlay and masks. Don’s early influences include Beau Dick, Vincent Shaughnessy, Don Svanvik and Bruce Alfred, which is evident from his style of carving. His work is sold at the U’mista Cultural Centre and by private commission.
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