Kawatsi (Treasure Box)

Kawatsi (Treasure Box)

Regular price
$160.00
Sale price
$160.00

  • Artist: William Wasden Jr.
  • Edition Size: 160 signed and numbered, 16 artist's proofs, 2 printer's proofs
  • Paper Size: 50.8 x 66 cm, 20 x 26 inches
  • Image Size: 43.2 x 55.9 cm, 17 x 22 inches
  • Publication Year: 2018

"This K̓awat̓si design is comprised of stylized ovoids of my four most inspirational artists who have influenced my work to guide it to what it has become today. The top ovoid design comes from my great-great-grandfather, Chief T̓łaḵwudłas Ned Hiłamas Harris, the prime artist of the 'Na̱mg̱is or “Nimpkish Valley Tribe”. The second design from the top is rendered in the style of the late great A̱wa'etła̱la “Knight Inlet Tribe” Chief X̱ix̱aniyus Bob Harris—maternal grandfather of Chief Henry Speck. Ned and Bob were related and their styles similar so, in the process of giving our people English last names, these Harris families chose to take the same last name. The third ovoid down, is the work of the great Hiłdzakw artist Dukwa'esila Captain Carpenter. The foundation and base ovoid design is that of my late teacher 'Na̱mg̱is Chief Pa̱l'nakwa̱lagi̱lis Wakas Douglas Cranmer.
The Sax̱wsa̱m or “ovoid” is the subject of this box design and is a study on the individual styles of these four gifted artists and the symbolism of their designs. In Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw art, when a supernatural creature had the ability to transform into human form, a human face or faces would be placed in strategic places on the artwork to display this ability. Sea creatures with this quality often included a fish-like face within the ovoids, whereas land beings and birds would show human faces within the ovoid design work. The incorporation of these ovoid fill designs are deliberate and serve to help tell the supernatural qualities of many ancestral beings through the artwork.
Many artists among the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw use a personal stylized ovoid design that is a signature to their artwork. It is amazing to study the artists of old and, through their art development, see the individual ovoid facial designs evolve. The ovoid facial designs are the signatures of the great artists of past and present.
- William Wasden Jr. Wax̱a̱widi – ‘Na̱mg̱is Nation

This limited edition silkscreen print titled "Kawatsi" by William Wasden Jr. was hand produced by the screen printing process. It is the only limited edition printing of this design. The artist has inspected and signed each copy in the edition. All trial copies of this edition have been destroyed and the printing stencils obliterated.

Published by Cedar Hill Long House Art Publishing.

William Wasden Jr.

 Kwakwaka'wakw

William Wasden Jr., or Wak̕analagalis ʼThe-River-Flows-Through-Him-Foreverʼ was born at ʼYa̱lis (Alert Bay) British Columbia on October 14, 1967.

Chief T̕sesti’lela Wa’kas Simon Dick initially taught William basic art forms at a very young age. When he was 12, he was enrolled into Chief and Master Carver Douglas Cranmer’s art classes at Alert Bay. Later, William came under the tutelage of his cousin Beau Dick at Alert Bay. In the years that followed, William attended Haida artist Don Yeoman’s Native art classes in Victoria from which he received the Henry Hunt Memorial award for artistic achievement. In the late 1990’s, William began jewellery engraving with Paddy Seaweed and Randy Cook and he has since returned to that art form.

During his high school years, William heard his grandfather, Singer/Composer/Chief Thomas Hunt, sing for the first time and he was moved so much by this experience that he decided to shift his focus from artwork to traditional singing with hopes of preserving the dying tradition.

To this day, William continues to learn from recordings and present day knowledge that remains. He is grateful to have been taught to sing by his Elders at a time when the tradition had almost faded away. William continues to teach singing in Alert Bay and also leads the ‘Gwa’wina Dancers Cultural Society’, a professional dance troupe, whose intention is to share authentic Kwakwaka’wakw culture and teachings.