Your journey brings you to Alert Bay, on an island situated between the north end of Vancouver Island and the mainland. Alert Bay is the gathering place for the Kwakwaka'wakw (pronounced KWA KWA KYA WOWKW) nation.

You see a person coming down the path towards you. He introduces himself as a Kwakwaka'wakw artist named Kevin Cranmer. He asks,

"How are you and where are you going?"

Upon your answering "Alert Bay," Kevin responds saying that is his birthplace, though he has lived in Victoria since age four. You ask him about his artwork, and he continues his story...

As a small boy, his first exposure to art was with his father at Tony Hunt's original Arts of the Raven Gallery. During these times, as he watched his father and other artists at work, the seeds of interest were planted; they would lead to the many artistic endeavors that would follow. His first formal instruction was under the tutelage of his cousin George Hunt Jr. Eventually, Kevin approached master carver Tony Hunt to further his understanding of traditional Kwakwaka'wakw design. He believes that artists should learn the traditional style of their nation and "stick with it". He then tells you that he continues to make masks, rattles and regalia for ceremonial use. "Some things are way more important than a big paycheque, ceremony," he says. "Money is not what it is for."

Checking the time, Kevin decides to leave you with a legend to read and invites you to the upcoming potlatch in Alert Bay, where he will continue his story.


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