Project Description

Crooked Beak, by Cole Speck

Crooked beak symbolizes overcoming negative forces and embracing your inner power to take your true role in society. 

Crooked-Beak is one of the four Cannibal birds in the Kwakwaka’wakw Hamat’sa ceremony – Cannibal dance. The four killer birds are guardians of the four corners – the compass – of the world. The birds are said to be servants of a giant human flesh eating monster, named Bakbakwalanooksiwae. The monster sends out servants to kill people and bring their flesh to satisfy his eternal hunger.

The ceremony is about initiating the Hamat’sa, the cannibal dancer (almost always a young man), with the mysteries of society. The Crooked-Beak mask takes part in dance displaying the story about the Hamat’sa overcoming his possession by a cannibal Spirit or taming the killer bird taking over is great supernatural power. The purpose of the ceremony is the Hamat’sa accepting his true power – spiritual place within society.

For us, this story can be about being overwhelmed by large negative forces with a constant hunger to satisfy your needs. Maybe you act more harsh and ruthless, because you think that is what is takes to be successful. This force can only feed anger, frustration and constant feeling of ‘never enough’. Why? Because it doesn’t lead you anywhere. You fool yourself by thinking that ‘getting more’ will make you feel better. Your focus is on means outside yourself, but the real power comes from within. 

Specifications
Medium Sculpture
Year 2019
Dimension (h-w-d) 95 – 78 – 29 cm
Material Red Cedar, cedar bark, pigments, paint,
hinges, rope
Serial number Original one of a kind hand carved
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About the artist

Cole Speck (1991) grew up in the ‘Namgis Reserve’ in Alert Bay, BC. His traditional name is A’Walas K’anis. Although he is quite young compared to his peers, Cole has been carving for over a decade now and has had the opportunity to work with several expert artists.

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Carl Stromquist

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