Bruce Alfred was born in 1950 in Alert Bay, a remote island village on the northern coast of Vancouver Island. He apprenticed with Richard Hunt and Doug Cranmer and has assisted on many of Cranmer’s monumental commissions over the years. Doug was also responsible for teaching Bruce the bent-wood technique for making boxes, which Bruce has continued to explore throughout his career and for which he has achieved great recognition for his treatment of this difficult medium.
In 1980, he was chosen as one of the contemporary artists to be included in the exhibition, “Legacy—Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian Art”, curated by Peter Macnair for the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria. The exhibition traveled for several years and was instrumental in highlighting the contributions made by the current generation of artists and became the flagship of the renaissance of Northwest Coast art. The catalogue (still in circulation as a book) remains as important documentation on the contemporary art form of the time.
Bruce has been involved in the development and growth of the U’Mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay. He has assisted with various aspects of the museum and also served as an artist in residence. He has completed many commissions directed through the museum and he has produced several pieces for the permanent collection. For many years he was also the schoolbus driver in Alert Bay, in the hours before and after working at the museum. He has also been a player and coach for a highly successful soccer program in the community.
In 1996, he was hired as one of four carvers to create a Northwest Coast village installation (which included several totem poles of greater than 25’ and three house fronts) for the Dolfinerium Theme Park in Harderwik, Holland.
In 1998, he joined the team of eight artists led by Doug Cranmer to carve the posts and beams to rebuild the Alert Bay longhouse after the original building was lost to fire.
Spirit Wrestler Gallery, 2002.
- Awarded BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations’ Art, 2008.