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Bruce Alfred is a Kwakwaka’wakw artist of the Namgis Band. Raised by his grandmother, Agnes Alfred, in the village of Alert Bay, Bruce grew up surrounded by the cultural practices of his people, such as powerful singing, dancing, carving, and potlatching.
Connected to a long line of prominent artists, Alfred has been fortunate enough to study under, and work with, renowned artists Beau Dick, Tony Hunt, Richard Hunt, Doug Cranmer, Wayne Alfred, and Bill Reid. Trained in printmaking and carving, Alfred’s work is focused on totem pole carving and bentwood boxes in traditional Kwakwaka’wakw design.
He has exhibited work at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC, and the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology. In 2006, he went to Australia to carve a ten-foot totem pole for the Commonwealth Games that is now displayed in the forecourt of the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. In 2008 he was the recipient of the prestigious B.C. Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art.
With a career spanning over 30 years, Alfred’s bentwood chests feature a distinctive seat-shaped lid of a traditional design. These are highly sought after by collectors around the world. He creates his work within the context of gaining a better knowledge of his culture, which he sees as always expanding.