ArtsConnectEd/ArtsNet Minnesota
Inner Worlds

Art and Artists
 Arthur Dove
 Richard Hunt
 Judy Onofrio
 Betye Saar
 Kay Sage
 Yves Tanguy
 Jane Tuckerman

What is Art? Environment Identity Designing Spaces and Places
Richard Hunt
About the Artist

Richard Hunt is a contemporary Kwakiutl artist who comes from a family of internationally respected artists. Hunt began carving when he was 13 years old, receiving lessons from his father, who was taught by Hunt's grandfather. Kwakiutl artforms have been passed down from generation to generation, despite attempts by the Canadian government to make the Northwest Coast Indian peoples conform to the white culture. A government ban of the potlatch ceremony existed from 1884 to 1951, but many Kwakiutl artists, like Hunt's grandfather, continued to make traditional ceremonial items. In this way, these artforms were kept alive for future generations. Today Kwakiutl art is undergoing a great revival. Hunt's work has been widely exhibited and is represented in collections around the world. An important figure in preserving the traditions of his people, Hunt lives up to his Indian name, Gwe-la-yo-gwe-la-gya-les, which, translated into English, means "a man who travels around the world giving." Living both in the traditional and modern worlds, Hunt enjoys golf in his leisure time, as well as competitive sports such as football, soccer, and basketball.

Vocabulary Terms

potlatch--An important ceremony of the Northwest Coast Indians in which the person hosting the potlatch gives away his or her possessions. It is a way for people to share their wealth with the community, to strengthen their leadership, and to earn the respect of others.

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