Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwagiulth) 1951
The eighth of fourteen children, Richard Hunt followed in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Mungo Martin, and his father, Henry Hunt, as a carver. He also credits Willie Seaweed with inspiring his work. His brothers Tony and Stanley Hunt and his nephew Calvin Hunt are among the other noted artists in his extended family. Hunt’s charisma and ability to share his culture with visitors are legendary. His accomplishments in the art world in the broader community reflect his indigenous name, Gwel-la-yo-gwe-la-gya-les, “man who travels around the world giving.”
Although Richard values and honors his artistic heritage, his work stands apart from that of his contemporaries for its humor and innovation. Articulated masks, whimsical sculptures, and bold prints are his hallmarks. Richard held the position of First Carver at the Royal British Columbia Museum’s Thunderbird Park for twelve years, ultimately resigning in order to devote all his time to his own artistic career. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Order of British Columbia, the Order of Canada, appointment to the Royal Academy of the Arts, an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, the BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.