Crooked Beak of Heaven Mask (After Willie Seaweed)
This painting is influenced by a mask by the legendary Kwakiutl carver, Willie Seaweed. He is one of the relative handful of historic Northwest coast Native artists who has been well documented and his body of work identified. Although there are many historic Kwakiutl artists who have works in public collections, no one has ever documented them, as is the case with Willie Seaweed. I have long admired his work, and this painting is my homage to a wonderful carver with a truly unique style.
The Crooked Beak of Heaven is one of the servants of the Cannibal at the North End of the World. This mask is one of four that traditionally perform together in the Hamatsa dance. The legend tells of four brothers who go hunting and find the house of the Cannibal at the North End of the World. They are chased by him, until, arriving at home, their father, the chief, kills the cannibal. This is the most important of the Kwakiutl ceremonies performed in the potlatch today.
Oil on canvas
44 x 38"
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