Mervyn Child (b. 1955) lives and works in T’sakis (Fort Rupert, BC). He learned to carve from his family of well-known artists, notably Calvin Hunt, George Hunt Jr., and Tom Hunt. Mervyn was initiated as a Nunsistalis in the Hamatsa Society at the memorial potlatch for his grandfather the late chief Thomas Hunt. Mervyn is Kwaguł, Tlingit, Nuu Chah Nulth, and British.
Child comes from a family of renowned Kwakwaka’wakw carvers, including George Hunt Jr., Calvin Hunt, and Thomas Hunt. He is the grandson of George Hunt, a well-known ethnographer from Fort Rupert who collected objects and information for Franz Boas during the turn-of-the-century period.
Child developed his art through the tutelage of his many relatives in both Victoria and Fort Rupert. He approaches his work from a cultural perspective, offering a carefully considered and unique interpretation with each piece carved. Primarily working in wood, he carves and paints masks, feast bowls, and rattles. Child incorporates an asymmetrical design and a contemporary style into his works.
With a strong belief in the continuation of First Nations culture, Child works with Kwakwaka’wakw youth groups, teaching them the songs and dances of their heritage. He is self-taught in the Kwakwaka’wakw language and lives in Fort Rupert, BC. His works can are exhibited in numerous commercial galleries, as well as public collections such as the Royal Museum in Victoria, BC, and the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.
“I was lucky enough to be born into a family rich in ceremonial culture. From an early age, I was exposed to the song and dance of my mother’s family. I was invited to carve in my uncle George Hunt’s shop, a place that still inspires me today. More recently, I began an apprenticeship at the Copper Maker gallery, which allowed me to participate in many family successes. I continue to work at the Copper Maker today.” – Mervyn Child