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Gene Brabant was born in Victoria and lives in Vancouver. His parents moved from Saskatchewan during the WWII and when his father was discharged, they stayed in Victoria.
As a youngster, Gene lived in James Bay near Thunderbird Park and the Brabant family struck up a close friendship with the Hunt family. When Gene was in his 20s and had mastered the basics of carving, he sought out the opportunity of working with Tony Hunt Sr. The Arts of the Raven workshop became his classroom throughout the 1970s. `Since I`ve been carving, I`ve always been interested in the old style of carving,` Gene explains. The way the Master Carvers created their pieces intrigued Gene, and as he travelled through Canada and the US, he visited many of the museums and studied the best pieces of the best carvers. He would attempt to improve his carving skills by replicating the old styles. He says, `I believe you can`t write a symphony if you don`t know all the classics.` As a mentor and teacher, Gene placed great emphasis on the study of traditional pieces.
His work has been exhibited in many gallery shows. The Museum of Man in Ottawa has a Thunderbird Transformation maks of his, and the Royal Museum of BC has two Bella Coola face masks. The Seattle Art Museum acquired Gene`s Geeacum Mask as part of their permanent collection. And Gene, together with Tony Hunt Sr., Calvin Hunt and John Livingston, created a Tlingit House Post for the Museum of Osaka, Japan.
Gene specialises in commissions to duplicate old pieces for display. He has the knowledge and ability to carve in many of the Northwest Coast styles but prefers to execute work in the style of Kwaguilth and Bella Coola. Amongst his peers he is considered one of the best and is noted for his attention to detail and fine painting. His work is collected world wide.
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