Bruce Malidi Alfred was born in ‘Yalis (Alert Bay) in 1950, and is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw ‘Namgis Band. Alfred was raised by his grandmother Agnes Alfred, and is well versed in ‘Namgis culture and potlatching rites and traditions.
Alfred has been a professional artist for over thirty years, starting in the 1970’s with an apprenticeship with world renowned artist, dancer and master carver Doug Cranmer. Cranmer mentored Alfred, instructing him on the form line and design elements of Kwakwaka’wakw style.
Alfred has developed a number of versatile skills, including printmaking, sculpting and the art of making bentwood boxes, which involves incising three strategically placed kerfs on a long plank, then steaming the wood until the wood bends, creating three round corners and only one joint. It was this technique that Alfred would become most famous for, establishing a reputation for carving a variety of different bentwood styles, from triangle boxes to dowry chests, canoe boxes, and stone cookers for steaming food.
Bruce Alfred comes from a long procession of master carvers including the Hunts, and has spent much of his career working alongside influential and prominent artists such as Beau Dick, William Wasden, and Wayne Alfred. A master artist himself, Alfred’s work has been showcased in museum exhibits, and is sought after by collectors both local and international. In 2008, Bruce Alfred was awarded recognition through the BC Creative Achievement Foundation and in 2010 both he and Kevin Cranmer travelled to Salford, England and had the honor of restoring a Totem Pole that had been carved by his mentor and teacher Doug Cranmer.
PERMANENT EXHIBITS & PROJECTS
Alfred has pieces on permanent display at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver, BC
2010: Salford Totem Pole Restoration; Salfard, England. Restoration project for Doug Cranmer Pole
2006: Project CARVE for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia10 Foot Totem Pole in collaboration with Wayne Alfred
2000: National Museum of Osaka, Japan; Collaborative Project to construct33 foot Canoe and two traditional chests
1998: Alert Bay Big House Reconstruction - House posts and beams
1996: Dolfinarium Theme Park, Harderwijk, Holland; Helped design a Northwestcoast Village
1991: Commissioned by BC Provincial Government to create a memorial pole for the Alert Bay Burial Grounds
1989: Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, Ontario; Restoration project for Wak'as Totem Pole and House
1980: Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colarado, USA; Assisted Doug Cranmer in carving two house posts.
2008 - Recipient of the Prestigious BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art in recognition of artistic excellence and invaluable contribution.
ARTISTS WE REPRESENT