Calvin Hunt and John Livingston
Raven, Killer Whale & Seal, Grizzly Bear of the Sea & Salmon Totem Pole, 2008
Red cedar wood, 20 ft. tall
I received a call from a local couple who had this totem pole they wanted to sell. So, I went to look at it and simply put, I thought it was spectacular. When I got home and kept telling Alan—this is huge! This is so big! Then we install it in the field and well, it doesn’t seem so big anymore— because Mother Nature is so large and open.
This past winter we had plans to visit our son Edward and his family in Utah and since we were headed west, I asked Alan if he wanted to go meet Calvin. Alan explained that it wasn’t an easy place to get to and would require several flights and a boat ride. I said, “True, but wouldn’t you really like to meet him?” And so, we headed to Port Hardy, British Columbia.
The island was breathtaking and Calvin was a kind host, gifted teacher-storyteller and generous with his time. We were inspired by his passion to preserve and share the Kwakwaka’wakw culture. One morning we took a walk by the water in the bone chilling cold and took in the stark beauty of place. I was glad we went, glad we met Calvin, glad to be there off season and I got it. I get why Calvin has such a deep love for his people, land and culture.
Calvin Hunt works within the traditional Northwest Coast Kwagu’l style of totem pole making. His work reflects the diversity, spirituality, transformation and meaning of the Kwakwaka’wakw culture. The subject of our first totem pole includes a Raven, Killer Whale, Seal, Grizzly Bear and Salmon. Intermingled with design elements and colors, the carved totem pole represents the unifying symbolism of various animals and legends, which Hunt has learned from the teachings of his Chiefs, Elders, and other artists. Spiritualism, the supernatural and the importance of the environment play integral roles in day-to-day life.