Copyright Harold Alfred All rights reserved
There are many non-natives creating native artwork who do not understand, or choose to ignore, the fact that the creating authentic native artwork involves years to understand the intricacies of what is involved, the stories, the subtleties of creating a piece of artwork and doing it the way it should be done. There are many artists out there who haven't taken the time to learn the discipline of the fundamentals and structure of Northwest Coast Native art. Years learning from masters who in turn have taken the time to learn from past masters themselves.
A good example is the fact that totem poles were created solely on the Northwest Coast. The simple fact that you find people who will offer to do you a pole from Minnesota or wherever just goes to emphasize the point that these are not authentic. When you purchase a pole or artwork from a Northwest Coast native artist you are paying more than for the artwork but also for the years dedicated to learning how to do it properly.
A couple of good indicators to watch out for are the ones that say "......style" or "......influenced by". Usually you can bet that these are not native artists and most likely you will be receiving an inferior product.
Another concern that I have beside the lack of artistic integrity, is the lack of cultural integrity. There are many different cultural styles in British Columbia, each with it's own distinct language, culture and art style. When purchasing a piece of Kwakwaka'wakw art please take the time to see if the artist is also from the area that they claim the works style is and if purchasing from a gallery please take the time to check with the owner to ensure authenticity.
The art of the Kwakwaka'wakw is powerful and innovative and has been copied by many artists who do not have the training, rights or privileges to do so. Protocol should be followed at all times, the way it has been for eons.
I hope that this will assist you in finding and purchasing authentic artwork created by the artists who are dedicated in sharing their culture with the world.
Thunderbird Sisiutl totem pole by Harold Alfred
Authentic Custom Northwest Coast Native American Totem Poles
To ensure the highest quality
Custom Totem Pole
Dynamic, powerful and dramatic totem pole carving is an art form unique to the Northwest Coast of British Columbia and in particular 'Yalis (Alert Bay) Home of the Kille Whale.
Typically , Kwakwaka'wakw poles are carved of western red cedar, textured with the adze, and painted in traditional colours of black, red, green, brown, yellow, gray and sometimes white washed first.
The different types of poles include:
House Posts - poles which supported the main beam inside of a house
House Frontal Poles - poles which stood against the front of the house
Memorial Poles - placed in front of the home to honour loved ones who have passed on
Grave Markers - Poles which were placed to mark where a person was buried
Welcome figures - with outstretched arms, welcoming visitors to your home
Commemorative Poles - marking special occasions or dedications
A high percentage of commissions are custom ordered, due to
The size and height are largely based on where the pole will sit,
either indoors or outdoors, and what kind of setting - will it be in a
park, or in your backyard.
Poles usually bear images of humans, birds, (Eagle, Raven,
Thunderbird), creatures from the sea, (Whale, Sea Otter, Seal,
sea urchin, Salmon), or the forest (Frog, Bukwas, Dzunukwa, Bear)
or Supernatural creature (Thunderbird, Sisiutl).
There can be any number of figures on one pole, depending on
the type of pole you choose, what the pole is intended to do, and
where it will stand.
b) size in diameter,
c) number of figures (depending on height) and
d) crating and shipping.
Raven Totem Pole
by Harold Alfred
~ W i l l S h i p W o r l d w i d e ~
to celebrate U'mista's 10th Anniversary
on the following factors:
size, diameter, and the amount
of detailing involved
totem pole ~ pricing depends
Or Pay by Credit Cards,
Custom Orders Welcome
1. Order by email
2. Invoice sent via email from PayPal
3. Make payment through PayPal
(sign up is free)
4. Order sent by Express mail