It is a Hamatsa Dance Screen. The outer figure is a Sisiutl (two headed serpent) which was my mother’s main crest. The Sisiutl was sort of the guardian to the people who raided other villages and it could change itself into anything—like a canoe if needed.The inner design is the Hamatsa (wildman) which is my dance given to me at my mother’s memorial potlatch.
The Hamatsa had to be tamed before the potlatch could begin. If it were a screen to be used it would measure about eight to 12 feet. It was also used to shield the dancers so they could change.
CM, OBC, RCA
Richard Hunt is a prominent member of a family that has been an artistic dynasty for generations, and today is among the most celebrated of the contemporary Northwest Coast artists. He was the first Northwest Coast artist to be elected to the Order of British Columbia (in 1991). In 1994 he was elected to the Order of Canada, which is the most prestigious national honour for service to Canada. In 2004 he received Canada’s highest arts award when he was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts. He has also been honoured for his many contributions to the city of Victoria, including an Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of Victoria, the Honorary Citizen Award in 2001, and the Golden Jubilee Medal from H.M. Queen Elizabeth for outstanding service to his country.
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