Ka-nowish’s Epic Journey



Canoe, Cedar, Copper, Mask, Wood

Joe David carved this mask in spring 2016, one month after the death of his youngest brother, George David.

“The mask I just made honours George and his life’s journey and his present journey. Ka-nowish was his name and Ka-nowish was Strong Man. The history of that name is long, so for now we won’t go into that. The little canoe belongs to his physical journey as well as his spirit journey. The hair on the arms of the little figure (which is George, of course) represents his ascension to the spirit world. The large mask represents our ancestors and “LIFE” so I wanted to incorporate seashell from the ocean and copper from beneath the earth, and the cedar and cedar bark from the ground level, as well the old growth tree reaching high into the above world. And the arms of the figure in the canoe are up and out, because it’s dancing.”

In carving this mask, Joe considered what George loved carving best: transformation masks. So, he began with the figure in the canoe, and everything else flowed naturally down from that. The wood from which this mask is carved is extremely tightly grained old-growth red cedar, from a forest in British Columbia that burned. Beneath the burnt bark, this fine old wood was waiting.

When Joe brought this mask in, he spoke about his memories of George dancing the Chief’s Welcome Dance in his youth.  Although George was not chief—and in fact the youngest in the David family—he was chosen to dance because he was such a strong dancer and so athletic.

On the back of the mask is written: “In Loving Memory of George C, David 1950-2016″