Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Calvin Hunt


Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwagiulth), Nuu-chah-nulth

(1956- )

Calvin Hunt, (1956) is the youngest son of Kwagu’l Hereditary Chief Thomas Hunt, and Emma, the daughter of a great Mowochaht Chief and Shaman, Dr. Billy, and grandson of renowned carver Mungo Martin and grandmother, Abayah.

Born into a wealth of traditional values, Calvin started woodcarving at the age of 12. From 1972 to 1981, Calvin carved full time as an apprentice with Tony Hunt, Sr. Moving to his ancestral home of Fort Rupert in 1981, Calvin and his wife, Marie, opened their carving workshop “The Copper Maker.”

In May 1988, he carved and raised the Hunt Pole, hereditarily owned by his oldest brother, George Hunt Sr., in Fort Rupert, with the assistance of his brothers, nephews and cousins. He also carved a memorial grave figure for his father at the Fort Rupert cemetery, with his family’s assistance. These poles were the first totem poles raised in the village in approximately 70 years.

With the resurgence of canoe building in 1993, Calvin and his nephew, Mervyn Child, carved a 32’ Northern Style canoe that represented the Kwagu’l Nation at “Quatuwas” canoe gathering in Bella Bella. This canoe, named after his mother, “Maxwalaogwa”, belongs to the Maxwalaogwa Canoe Society, formed by Calvin and his wife, Marie. Calvin has also carved the 32’ Northern Style “I-Hos”, and 40’ Northern Style “Ugwamalis Gixdan”, with Mervyn’s assistance. He has helped with the carving of a Munka canoe, and a 37’ West Coast Style canoe from Quatsino. Calvin has also carved a 22-foot Nuu-chah-nulth style sealing canoe (ch’apats), with Mervyn’s assistance.

In 1995, during a potlatch given by Calvin and his brother, Ross Hunt Sr., he received his Chief’s name, from his wife’s side of the family, “Tlasutiwalis.” In July of 1998, he was seated as the fourth primary Chief of the Mowachaht; the Hereditary Chieftainship, which belonged to his grandfather, Dr. Billy, of Tsuwana (Friendly Cove), his Chief’s name being “Nas soom yees.” On May 28, 2004 Calvin was honoured with induction into the prestigious Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Calvin continues working in wood, including canoe building; silk-screened prints, gold and silver jewellery, and stone carving.

  • Awarded BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations’ Art, 2009.

Artist Contemporaries