Born in 'Yalis (Alert Bay) to Samuel and Charlene Cook (nee Wadhams), on February 28, 1982. Gus Denny Cook became intrigued with the art and history of his people through cultural programs that were part of his elementary school. He credits Rande Cook, Richard Sumner, Frank Nelson and William Cook as his mentors.
In 2010, Cook began learning repousse under Rande Cook, who had completed an extensive repousse course in Italy with Italian master Valentin Yotkov. Cook was quick to learn the techniques used in repousse work, and has since been refining his skills through many successful experiments. Five years later, Cook has an expansive portfolio that includes intricate three dimensional pendants, bracelets, rattles and full sized frontlets. His work is in high demand, and is often sold before it has a chance to be seen by a wide range of collectors.
We look forward to seeing his future work.
2011: Chasing Form: New Directions in Repousse - Group Exhibition – Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria BC
2014: Under the Sea: Christmas Exhibition – Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria
2015: Power in Movement - Steinbruck Gallery, Seattle WA
Numas Pendant by Gus Cook
Numas came down from the sky to Agiwala at Fort Rupert. While he was sitting there, a butterfly as large as an eagle flew about his head, and cried, “Ma, ma, ma!” three times. For this is the reason the people sing this burden. Numas had a large house for his winter dance and he wore a large head ring of red cedar bark. He arranged a place in the rear of the house where time should be beaten on boards and boxes.
When Numas came down to our world, he had a copper. When the people became more numerous, he gave a feast, during which he put his copper under the mountain. For this reason the place in Dzawadi “Knight Inlet” where the feast was given is called Tlakwaxstalis “Copper Under It.” The chiefs of the Kwagu't (now known as Fort Rupert), desired that he should come and make songs for them, because from the beginning he was a Song Leader. They said, “Let our Uncle come here, he is a Song Leader. He shall make songs for us.” Therefore the people now have songs in the winter dance. He made the first songs.
When 'Max'wa, 'Max'walis, and Yixaga'me', chiefs of the Kwagu't, were going to marry, they said, “Let our Uncle come! He has a staff with a hand on top of it.” With this he took the princesses of the chiefs of various tribes. He went all over the country to get wives, even as far south as Comox.
T'sama was the name of his child, he was called Tla kwagilaga me' “Copper Making Face” when he took his father's place. He had a son named Namugwis, whose descendants were, in order, Wetla'maxalas, Awidi, and Kwaxa'la'nukwa'me'. This last one died recently.
Kwakiutl Tales recorded by George Hunt for Franz Boas (Pgs. 485 – 586)
Franz Boas Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste Amerikas (2006)