Bear and Eagle Mask by Gerry Sheena

Medium
Wood and Grass
Size
30 × 25 × 16 inches
76.2 × 63.5 × 40.6 cm
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About the Work

Carved wooden masks with the addition of paint, shells, metal, braided grass, corn husks and more are created for use in a variety of ceremonies in Indigenous cultures. The masks are powerful objects that represent mythological or supernatural beings. In the early 19th century Indigenous makers began to create masks that were not used for ceremony and meant only for sale. These were referred to as "trade masks". Today, mask makers are reconnecting with their traditions and reviving the practice of the powerful masks that are able to make the supernatural world visible in ceremony. Sheena, born in Merritt, BC, is a member of the Coast Salish Nation and has been carving since 1990. Mainly self-taught, he received inspiration and guidance from Henry McKay and Kwakwaka'wakw artist Stan Hunt III from whom he acquired an appreciation for refined detail. Sheena studied at the Emily Carr School and Langara Community College. His work can be found in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia as well as many private collections.

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