Harold Alfred was born in 1953 in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island near the Northeast tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. He belongs to the Namgis tribe and is a member of the Kwak-waka’wakw (formerly Kwakiutl) Nation. Alfred's works are sold in such places as the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Royal British Columbia Provincial Museum.
Growing up in Alert Bay, one couldn’t help but be influenced by the great Masters of the past. As a result, Alfred produces outstanding work which has a contemporary feel with a strong sense of the past. Alfred shows his respect for his heritage by observing the high standards set by past Masters and applies the same standards of quality and workmanship to his own art works. In his work he strives to apply and impart love, hope and joy.
Alfred’s distinct lines and forms clearly depict strong traditional designs true to the Kwak-waka’wakw art form. His crest is the powerful Thunderbird, with its curled horns and curved beak, which is one of the founding Crests of the Namgis.
Alfred presently lives in Victoria, BC with his family.
Killer Whale Pendant by Harold Alfred
Killer Whale is a traveler and guardian. Symbolizing both power and beauty, Killer Whales are significant of love and kinship, as they mate for life, travel with their pods and are fierce protectors of their young.
The Haida believe that Killer Whales are equivalent to humans, and that their undersea world societies are deeply complex. Killer Whale belongs to both the Eagle and Raven moieties of the Haida. Killer Whale is depicted differently, depending on affiliation to a particular clan. Killer Whales associated with Eagle Clan have a white stripe across the base of their dorsal fin, whereas those correlated with Raven Clan are black and do not have the stripe. If a Killer Whale has a hole in his fin, it is because he is associated with the supernatural realm. In design, the hole is marked as a round circle.
Killer Whales are considered Ancestors of many tribes on Vancouver Island, and as such, are thought to live in deep undersea villages, where they can take off their skin to emulate human beings.
Killer Whale remains one of the most commonly depicted motifs in Northwest Coast Art, perhaps second to Raven – an indication of prominence and importance.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Conversations with Ehattesaht Artist Cecil Billy