Mungo Martin (Nakapenkim)
|Died||August 16, 1962 (aged 82-83)|
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
|Known for||Sculptor, Painter|
|Movement||Northwest Coast art|
|Patron(s)||Royal British Columbia Museum|
Chief Mungo Martin or Nakapenkem (lit. Potlatch chief "ten times over"), Datsa (lit. "grandfather"), was an important figure in Northwest Coast style art, specifically that of the Kwakwaka'wakw Aboriginal people who live in the area of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. He was a major contributor to Kwakwaka'wakw art, especially in the realm of wood sculpture and painting. He was also known as a singer and songwriter.
Martin was born in 1879 in Fort Rupert, British Columbia, to parents of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation. He was the son of Yaxnukwelas, a high-ranking native from Gilford Island. His mother was Q'omiga, also known by her English name, Sarah Finlay, who was the mixed-race daughter of a Kwakwaka'wakw woman and a Scottish man working with the Hudson's Bay Company. Martin's father died when he was in his teen years. His mother married Yakuglas, also known in English as Charlie James. Martin's mother wanted her son to become a woodcarver and song maker, and held rituals to ensure this future.
While still young, Martin regularly participated in the rituals, songs, arts, and traditions of the local Kwakwaka'wakw and North Coastal culture. This formed the basis of his knowledge of the Northwest Coast style, and he applied it to design, carving, and painting and lifelong song making. Martin was raised in the potlatch tradition practiced by the Kwakwaka'wakw, and all aspects of their culture.
Martin was a promoter of the culture in his later years, convening with other noted artists, such as Tom Omhid, Willie Seaweed and Dan Cranmer, in order to prepare novices for Kwakwaka'wakw ceremonies. He provided Ida Halpern, a Canadian ethnomusicologist, with 124 songs to help preserve his traditions for new generations.
Martin became a commercial fisherman at one point to support himself financially.
He would later marry Abayah Martin, also an artist, who specialized in weaving ceremonial curtains and aprons.
All his life Martin made songs, sang them and recorded them with the Hawthornes and others. He had an interest in music in general and in folksong. He learned and sang songs from other tribes, such as the Navajo, which he learned from his relative Bob Harris. The latter had met these other native peoples at the Chicago World Exhibition. Martin also learned Japanese folk songs from other Kwakwaka'wakw who had sailed to Japan on sealing vessels.
As a boy Martin had been apprenticed as a carver to a paternal uncle. His stepfather Charlie James, a noted Northwestern artist, was his principal influence in honing his natural talent. Martin developed as one of the first traditional artists to adopt many types of Northwest Coast sculptural and painting styles. He carved his first commissioned totem pole in Alert Bay c1900, and titled it "Raven of the Sea."
Martin also restored and repaired many carvings and sculptures, totem poles, masks, and various other ceremonial objects. He gained fame for holding the first public potlatch since the governmental potlatch ban of 1885. He was awarded with a medal by the Canadian Council.
In 1947, Martin was hired by the Museum of Anthropology at UBC for restoration and replica work. During this time, Martin lived on the university campus, and continued to paint and carve small works during the night.
Later, Martin was hired in 1952 by the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia to create works of Northwest Coastal Art as display pieces and examples. The final result was a huge totem pole, carved out of cedar, standing 160 feet tall. It was raised in 1956 and remained standing until 2000.He also constructed Wawadit'la, a Kwakwaka'wakw "big house", at Thunderbird Park in front of the museum. During this time he and American anthropologist Bill Holm became fast friends and Martin designed a Kwak'waka'wakw big house on the coast in Washington State.
Martin was also the designer and principal carver of the famous Totem Pole in Windsor Great Park in the United Kingdom. The Totem Pole was a gift from the people of Canada to HM The Queen in June, 1958. Standing 100 feet high, there is one foot for every year, and marks the centenary of British Columbia, which was named by Queen Victoria and proclaimed a Crown Colony on November 19, 1858. It is now the Pacific Coast Province of Canada. The figures on the pole reading from the top are, Man with large hat, Beaver, Old Man, Thunderbird, Sea Otter, The Raven, The Whale, Double headed Snake, Halibut Man and Cedar Man. Each figure represents the mythical ancestor of a clan. The pole was carved from a single log of Western Red Cedar and weighs 27,000 pounds. It was cut from a tree 600 years old from the forests of Haida Gwaii, 500 miles north of Vancouver.
When Martin went to work for the museum in Victoria, his son David and his family, and relatives Henry and Helen Hunt(Helen was Martin's wife's granddaughter) and their family joined him in living in James Bay near Thunderbird Park and the focus of the work to be done. His son David, and Henry Hunt, and even Henry's son Tony who was only twelve when the families engaged in this undertaking, became apprentices. Martin trained his son David in his craft but David died in 1959. Henry's sons Stanley Hunt and Richard Hunt are also professional carvers.
It's rumoured Martin also instructed the famed Haida sculptor Bill Reidalthough it's more likely they spent time together on some project at MOA at U.B.C. and the association was then a limited one. Doug Cranmer, who became an artist of some considerable note, a unique approach to his craft added to his knowledge of things traditional placing him permanently on a level of talent Mungo would be proud of, spent time with his old relative too; Doug was the grandson of Martin's wife Abaya'a, and was the son of Martin's first cousin, and so brother, Dan Cranmer. Mungo was also a mentor to the artist Godfrey Stephens, (painter and sculptor) whom he first met in Victoria in the 1950s.
Mungo Martin continued to work on his carvings in his later years.
Martin was significant in the Northwest Coastal Art scene for his vast amount of work and actual sculpting.
He died on August 16, 1962 at the age eighty-three in Victoria and was taken on a Canadian Navy ship to be buried in Alert Bay. His wife Abaya'a died in the following year.
Totem poles are monumental carvings found in western Canada and the northwestern United States. They are a type of Northwest Coast art, consisting of poles, posts or pillars, carved with symbols or figures. They are usually made from large trees, mostly western red cedar, by First Nations and Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast including northern Northwest Coast Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian communities in Southeast Alaska and British Columbia, Kwakwaka'wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth communities in southern British Columbia, and the Coast Salish communities in Washington and British Columbia.
This article is about the spiritual beliefs, histories and practices in Kwakwaka'wakw mythology. The Kwakwaka'wakw are a group of Indigenous nations, numbering about 5,500, who live in the central coast of British Columbia on northern Vancouver Island and the mainland. Kwakwaka'wakw translates into "Kwak'wala-speaking tribes." However, the tribes are single autonomous nations and do not view themselves collectively as one group.
The Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw, also known as the Kwakiutl are one of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Their current population, according to a 2016 census, is 3,665. Most live in their traditional territory on northern Vancouver Island, nearby smaller islands including the Discovery Islands, and the adjacent British Columbia mainland. Some also live outside their homelands in urban areas such as Victoria and Vancouver. They are politically organized into 13 band governments.
Thunderbird Park is a park in Victoria, British Columbia next to the Royal British Columbia Museum. The park is home to many totem poles and other First Nation monuments. The park takes its name from the mythological Thunderbird of Indigenous North American cultures which is depicted on many totem poles.
Freda Diesing was a Haida woman of the Sadsugohilanes Clan, one of very few female carvers of Northwest Coast totem poles and a member of the Council of the Haida Nation of British Columbia, Canada. Her Haida name is Skil Kew Wat, meaning "magical little woman."
Tony Hunt Sr. was a Canadian First Nations artist noted for his KwaGulth style paintings and totem poles, which he carved from single cedar logs.
Northwest Coast art is the term commonly applied to a style of art created primarily by artists from Tlingit, Haida, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Tsimshian, Kwakwaka'wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth and other First Nations and Native American tribes of the Northwest Coast of North America, from pre-European-contact times up to the present.
George Hunt (Tlingit) was a Canadian and a consultant to the American anthropologist Franz Boas; through his contributions, he is considered a linguist and ethnologist in his own right. He was Tlingit-English by birth and learned both those languages. Growing up with his parents at Fort Rupert, British Columbia in Kwakwaka'wakw territory, he learned their language and culture as well. Through marriage and adoption he became an expert on the traditions of the Kwakwaka'wakw of coastal British Columbia.
Henry Hunt was a First Nations woodcarver and artist from the Kwakwaka'wakw people of coastal British Columbia. He carved a number of totem poles which are on public display in Canada and internationally.
Richard Hunt is a Canadian First Nations artist from coastal British Columbia.
Willie Seaweed (1873–1967) was a Kwakwaka'wakw chief and wood carver from Canada. He was considered a master Northwest Coast Indian artist who is remembered for his technical artistic style and protection of traditional native ceremonies during the Canadian potlatch ceremony ban. Today, Seaweed's work can be found in cultural centers and corporations, art museums, natural history museums, and private collections. Some pieces are still in use by the Nak'waxda'xw tribe.
Ellen Neel (1916–1966) was a Kwakwakaʼwakw artist woodcarver and is the first woman known to have professionally carved totem poles. She came from Alert Bay, British Columbia, and her work is in public collections throughout the world.
A transformation mask, also known as an opening mask, is a type of mask used by indigenous people of the Northwest Coast and Alaska in ritual dances. These masks usually depict an outer, animal visage, which the performer can open by pulling a string to reveal an inner human face carved in wood to symbolize the wearer moving from the natural world to a supernatural realm. Northwest coast peoples generally use them in potlatches to illustrate myths, while they are used by Alaska natives for shamanic rituals.
Kwakwaka'wakw art describes the art of the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples of British Columbia. It encompasses a wide variety of woodcarving, sculpture, painting, weaving and dance. Kwakwaka'wakw arts are exemplified in totem poles, masks, wooden carvings, jewelry and woven blankets. Visual arts are defined by simplicity, realism, and artistic emphasis. Dances are observed in the many rituals and ceremonies in Kwakwaka'wakw culture. Much of what is known about Kwakwaka'wakw art comes from oral history, archeological finds in the 19th century, inherited objects, and devoted artists educated in Kwakwaka'wakw traditions.
Doug Cranmer (1927–2006), also known as Pal'nakwala Wakas and Kesu', was a Kwakwaka'wakw carver and artist as well as a 'Namgis chief. Cranmer was a significant figure in the Northwest Coast art movement, both in its traditional form and in a modern contemporary form that he created and developed.
Beau Dick was a Kwakwaka'wakw Northwest Coast artist and Chief who lived and worked in Alert Bay, British Columbia, Canada. He was a contemporary artist, activist and hereditary Chief from the Namgis First Nation. Dick was an award winning artist with an extensive national and international exhibition history.
Marianne Nicolson is a Dzawada’enuxw visual artist whose work explores the margins at which public access to First Nations artifacts clashes with the preservation of indigenous cultural knowledge. She utilizes painting, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, and installation to create modern depictions of traditional Kwakwaka’wakw beliefs, and has exhibited in Canada and throughout the world since 1992.
Corrine Hunt, also known as Nugwam Gelatleg'lees, is a Kwakwaka'wakw/Tlingit artist, carver, jeweller and designer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Simon Charlie or Hwunumetse' (1919–2005) was a Canadian totem sculptor of the Cowichan Tribes (Quw'utsun) of the Coast Salish nation, known for his wood carvings. He was born in Koksilah, on Vancouver Island, close to Duncan, British Columbia.
Stanley Clifford Hunt is a Canadian, First Nations Kwakiutl artist from British Columbia.