Tony Hunt, Sr.

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Tony Hunt, Sr.

Tony Hunt Sr. OBC (1942 – 2017, Kwakwaka'wakw) was a Canadian First Nations artist noted for his KwaGulth style paintings and totem poles, which he carved from single cedar logs.

 

Tony Hunt was born in 1942 at the Kwakwaka'wakw community of Alert Bay, British Columbia, and was the oldest of six sons of Henry Hunt and Helen Hunt. The youth received early training from his maternal grandfather Mungo Martin. Through his maternal line, Hunt was a hereditary chief of the Kwakwaka'wakw.

 

His father was a professional woodcarver. Hunt and his brothers are also descendants of the renowned ethnologist George Hunt (Tlingit), who collected hundreds of Kwakwaka'wakw artworks for an exhibition at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

 

After his grandfather Martin's death in 1962, Hunt became assistant carver to his father Henry Hunt at Thunderbird Park in Victoria, B.C. His younger brothers, Richard Hunt and Stanley C. Hunt, also became professional carvers. In 1970 Hunt opened the Arts of the Raven Gallery in Victoria.

 

In 1984 Kraft Foods, Inc. commissioned Tony Hunt to carve a replacement totem pole, Kwanusila (Thunderbird), for a Kwakwaka'wakw pole donated by James L. Kraft, industrialist, to the city of Chicago in 1929. It was installed at the waterfront of Lake Michigan. After decades in the public park, the pole had suffered weather deterioration and vandalism. With new appreciation for its historic and cultural value, the original pole was sent to the museum in British Columbia for preservation and study. Kwanusila is installed at the lakeside park.

Chief Tony Hunt died in Campbell River on December 15, 2017

Hunt was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2010

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