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Richard Sumner (b. 1956) was born and raised in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island near Port McNeill on Vancouver Island, BC. He is of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation.
Richard began carving at the age of 18, experimenting with traditional forms. In the summer of 1978, Richard had the good fortune to apprentice with Doug Cranmer. As part of the artistic team chosen to carve the beams and planks for the Big House of the U'Mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay Richard refined his skills.
Richard moved to Vancouver, BC in the early 80's to work on several commissions including the carving of a replacement Wakas pole for Brockton Point in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC. Over the ensuing years, he has been a featured artist in several group shows at the Gallery of Tribal art in Vancouver, BC. His work can be found in collections at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC; the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC; and in several corporate and private collections in Canada, the US, Japan, and Europe.
Richard is considered a Master Carver and his masks, totem poles, bowls, rattles, and spoons and sought after. But he is most renowned for his superb bentwood boxes incorporating complex multi-sided designs, and unusual shapes without sacrificing the precision that is his trademark. He is regularly invited to speak at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia on wood bending techniques and various other areas of Northwest Coast art. He was also invited to represent Canadian wood carvers at an international wood carving convention in Taiwan.
As a tribute to his skill and craftsmanship, Richard was commissioned to replicate a bentwood box from the collection of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The original box was a favorite of the famed Haida artist Bill Reid and this new piece was created to contain his ashes in 1998.
SELECTED COLLECTIONS :
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, BC
Vancouver City Museum, Vancouver, BC
Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC
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