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Mervyn Child was born in 1955. And his lineage is Kwakwaka'wakw, Tlingit and Nuu chal nulth. He lives and works in Fort Rupert, BC. He learned to carve from his family, the well-known Kwakwaka'wakw carvers, Calvin Hunt, George Hunt Jr., and Tom Hunt.
Over the years Mervyn has developed a crisp, nicely finished technique, especially in his mask work. He has incorporated the asymmetrical design and stunning painting of early Kwakiutl and Northern island carvers into portrait masks of a very contemporary style. Mervyn was initiated into the Nunsishalis Society at the memorial potlatch for the late Tom Hunt.
Mervin was born September 2, 1955. He was named after his paternal grandfather from Bristol, England. His Kwakiutl name is “Gaxastalas” (Breakfast Giver) from the house of “Negadzi Yatlawath.”
Early childhood memories of the ceremonies, at the Mungo Martin House in Victoria affected Mervin and left him with a passion for his (Kwakiutl) culture. Mervyn began carving masks in red cedar as a hobby in his early life, and in 1984 began a formal apprenticeship at the “Coppermaker Gallery” (Tlakwagila) in Fort Rupert, BC. At this time the primary medium was wood with emphasis put on copyism.
Eventually, the broad dictates of Kwakiutl culture would unfold allowing room for creativity and individualism. The success of the Coppermaker would provide a broad range of opportunities, from carving small masks to large totem poles including replications and restoration work. His work has been exhibited in many art shows throughout North America and Europe.
Mervyn, under the tutelage of his Uncle Calvin has also been involved in the building of many canoes and beginning in 1993 and continuing through to the present has participated in numerous canoe journeys. When asked how he feels about his canoe experiences, Mervyn states, “I like canoes.”
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