Alfred Robertson

Kwakiutl Thunderbird

6 1/2" H x 11" L

This mask, by Alfred Robertson, is carved from red cedar. The piece is skillfully carved and displays exquisite detail. All of the lines have been cut, the carving is deep, particularly around the Thunderbird's eyes, the colours are traditional, and the mask has been adorned with traditional cedar bark hair.

The jaw is articulated and makes a wonderful "claping " sound when the control lever is pulled.

Alfred Robertson

Affiliation: Kwakwaka'wakw
Birth Date: August 17, 1950
Birthplace: Kingcome Inlet, B.C., Canada

Alfred Robertson was born August 17th, 1950 in Kingcome Inlet, British Columbia, located off the southern coast. This area is representative of the Kwagiulth Nation. Alfred was taught to carve by his father, William Robertson, and has carved with his brother, Sampson Robertson, from whom he learned this technique. He has been carving Northwest Coast artwork for many years.

Alfred carves in yellow and red cedar wood. Presently, he resides in Nanaimo and carves on a full-time basis. In his spare time, Alfred teaches basic carving skills to elementary school children. Alfred is one of many Northwest Coast Native artists who is preserving the carving traditions of his people.

In the time long ago, it is said that animals shared many of the same qualities as people. Once a giant killer whale ate all the salmon in the ocean. Humans began to starve. Although the chiefs begged the whale to leave, it repeatedly mocked them. Finally, a congress of the greatest chiefs was convened.

After a time, a great wind blew in from the sea and lightning flashed, thunder roared. The chiefs felt the presence of a great invisible spirit. "If I were to help you, what will you do for me?” the spirit asked. The chiefs promised, for all time, to reproduce the spirits likeness as a sign of admiration and respect. Thus, satisfied with their promises, Thunderbird appeared.

He was an enormous manifestation with lightning flashing from his pointed talons and thunder rolling from his sun-blocking wings. Snatching up the Killer Whale the raptor spirit dropped it into the land where it solidified into a mountain. Native carvers have kept their word ever since.

Gallery Price: $975.00


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