Northwest Coast Tribes

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Northwest Coast Tribal Masks This paper describes the Sea Bear Transformation Mask, created by Don Svanvik in 2000, and how it reflects Northwest Coast Indian art and culture, specific to the Kwakiutl tribe. A transformation mask is a large mask with hinged shutters that, when open, reveal another mask. Audrey and Alan Bleviss gave this mask to the Montclair Art Museum in 2005. The medium consists of red cedar, cedar bark, copper, pigment, and string. In the Montclair Art Museum, the mask is displayed in its open form. The inside of the mask shows a man sitting with his legs bent in front of him while his arms are open and stretched to his sides. His facial features consist of sharp cheekbones, a wide triangular nose, a goat-t, a thin…show more content…
The mask also has a large amount of white and green, which are often recognized as tertiary colors, mostly used to fill in empty spaces or for design purposes. (www.freespiritgallery.ca) Throughout history, societies have defined and transformed themselves through their art. When looking at works of art today, a person sees not only the work of art itself, but also the world from which it came from. The same is true for this transformation mask, which reflects the works of art and beliefs of the Northwest Coast Tribes. Almost all artwork of the Northwest Coast Tribes has a story behind it. This mask is about a young boy named Alikwamae who was successful and well known among the people in his village. He was orphaned as a child and was therefore sent to live with his jealous uncle who one day abused him in hopes that he would die. He was very weak when he woke up but he found a mouse who took him to an Undersea Kingdom where he met the Chief of the Undersea Kingdom, Kumugwe. Alikwamae wanted to help his people so Kumugwe gave him a power that would allow him to transform into a sea bear. Alikwamae went back to his village and was able to transform, heal the sick and injured, predict the future, and interpret dreams. (www.montclairartmuseum.org) The bear is an important figure in Native American art. It is a symbol of strength, power, humility, motherhood, teaching, dreaming, and healing. Northwest
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