Shawn Hunt

Vancouver, Canada

Shawn Hunt is a Heiltsuk artist from Waglisla (Bella Bella), BC. He is the son of Heiltsuk artist J. Bradley Hunt and older brother to artist Dean Hunt. He began carving in 1994 and has a diploma in studio art from Capilano University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. Hunt apprenticed with his father, carving several totem poles, masks, and sculptures. They continue to collaborate on some of their pieces.

Hunt is well known for his vividly carved jewelry. He applies his knowledge of wood carving to the metal and thinks of each piece as a painting or sculpture that can be worn on the body. More recently he has focused on painting, including a 2012 solo show of his acrylic work at McCaulay and Co. Fine Art in Vancouver, BC. Hunt uses his knowledge of Heiltsuk and Northern traditional formline design to create imaginative images of stories that reflect his own experiences. With this he combines the smooth execution of fluid lines, vibrant colours, and multiple layers to create works with depth and dimension. These innovative elements set his work apart; while it emulates traditional structures, his clean and minimal forms create a modern, sometimes surrealist, aesthetic. Hunt's work accomplishes a difficult task - creating work based in tradition that looks like a new expression.

Hunt credits his love of the art form with the rediscovery of his culture: "When I was younger I didn't feel very connected to my culture because I grew up off reserve, but I was always surrounded by the art. As I got older I started to realize the connection between the art and the culture, and how one cannot exist without the other. Carving has taught me so much about my culture and who I am."

Shawn Hunt

1975 in Waglisla (Bella Bella), Roberts Creek, BC, Canada


BFA, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada


Archetypes, Macaulay Fine Art, Vancouver

Blanket Contemporary Art Inc., Vancouver


Cindy Sherman meets Dzunuk’wa, Satellite Gallery, Vancouver

Gallery Artists, Macaulay Fine Art, Vancouver

Carrying on “Irregardless”: Humour in Contemporary Northwest Coast Art, Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver
Beat Nation, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver

Challenging Traditions, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Canada
Mini-Masterworks, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver
Continuum, Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver

Mini-Masterworks, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver

Kaitlaki – Guardians, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver
Mini-Masterworks, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver
Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2, Museum of Arts and Design, New York (touring)

The Ones Who Hold Up The Laws of Our Ancestors, McCord Museum, Montreal

The Ones Who Hold Up The Laws of Our Ancestors, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver

Artropolis, curated section. Vancouver

Frank, Grad Show, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Kaxlaya Gvilas, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Nawa lakw, Quintana Galleries, Portland, USA

Premonitions, Artists Exploring The Possibilities, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver


British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for First Nations Art