“I Am Reclaiming What Culturally Belongs to Me”
Firstly, I would like to say that I don’t call what I do art. I refer to it as cultural property, meaning it comes from my culture and I own it. Each time I carve a piece of artwork, I ask myself if it would be accepted in the Big House, where gatherings are held and decisions are made. If not, there is no point in me carving it. Every piece of work I do, I feel I am reclaiming what culturally belongs to me. When I make something, I am claiming the rights to it for myself, and at the same time for our children and all Kwakwaka’ wakw people. They are the ones who really own it.
Our ancestors paved the way for us. I try to remember to thank them for keeping our traditions and culture alive. They went through a lot of hardship for us. The main influence in my artwork came from my father, Henry Hunt, as well as from Willie Seaweed’s work. These are the people who turned our works from being considered a craft to being regarded as historical art. I also love the Mayan and Egyptian cultures because several of our beliefs are the same.