Mervyn Child

Hamatsa Raven Mask by Mervyn Child


Hamatsa “Raven”  mask by Kwakwaka’wakw Artist Mervyn Child c. 2004; made from Red Cedar and Acrylic paint; measuring  59” x 40” x 10”

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Name:                                      Mervyn Hunt Child
Birthdate:                                 1955
Birthplace:                               Victoria, BC
Tribal Affiliation:                     Kwakwaka’wakw, Tlingit, Nuu-cha-nulth

Mervyn Child is a senior artist of the Kwakwak’wakw, a group of First Nations people located on the Pacific Northwest. The Kwakwaka’wakw people come from the central region of this area, the North East coast of Vancouver Island and the corresponding mainland of British Columbia.

Mervyn Child has been destined to carve from an early age, as he comes from a long line of talented artists.  The Hunt family are one of the few families that can trace their artistic heritage through colonialism, the knowledge of master craftsman have been passed down from one generation to the next among the Hunt family. The Hunt family was particularly resilient against the discouragement of the settlers who actually outlawed the practice of dances and the creation of the ceremonial masks. In the 1940’s a patriarch of the Hunt family, Henry Hunt, was enlisted at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, B.C. to identify, restore and install the collection. Another member of the family, Mungo Martin provided knowledge, restoration, and display pieces for the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, B.C. It is the resilience of the Hunt family during the difficult times of the 19th and first half of the 20th Century which has placed the Hunt family so prominently as master craftsmen among the First Nations artists of the Pacific Northwest.

Mervyn Hunt Child has been surrounded by artists from birth. He has worked closely with Calvin Hunt, the well-known Kwakwaka’wakw carver, and close relation and cousins George Hunt Jr., Tom Hunt, and Patrick Hunt.  Tom Hunt, the late chief of the tribe, initiated Mervyn into the ‘Nunsishalis’ Society.

Mervyn Hunt Child is a quiet and modest man, whose beautiful art work speaks for his great talent, a inherent talent which belongs to the Hunt family legacy and the artist himself. Mervyn Child creates work unlike any of his contempories. The theme of the work is deeply rooted in tradition; the primary feature of the artwork is the respect Mervyn Child creates artistically to the

Ancestry which has given form to these beings. Simultaneously, Mervyn Child is able to give these forms an unusual character; gracefully powerful, exciting and innovative.

Mervyn Child has exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, The Vancouver Art Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, The Portland Museum, The Southwest Museum in Pasadena, California, The Museum of Anthropology, The McMicheal Gallery in Kleinberg, Ontario, The B.C. Arts and Crafts Society and fine galleries in Vancouver, Seattle, Whistler and Victoria. His work is found in private and public collection around the world.