Rande Cook - Continued Explorations of the Formline

'I see Kwakwaka'wakw art on the rise, evolving from a culture full of life. A culture full of dance and music. My clearest memories of being a youngster in the Big House were trying my hardest to get into every mask so I could dance. I loved to dance. Then I learned our traditional songs and started to sing in every Potlatch. My grandfather Gus Matilipi even gave me his seat at the singers log so I could be a part of the old guys. It was an honour. The colour, meaning and energy of these moments is still very alive in my memory.

 I started to be an artist at a very early age. My grandfather Gus taught me about traditional design but taught me even more about the meaning of life and art together. 'It has to be alive' he would say. 'Connected to the land and the animals'. So I embrace these teachings and memories everyday. I look at the world through an artist's eye. I observe and release. I see layers of natural colour, texture, depth and meaning.

 Individual artistic expression has always been an integral part of Kwakwaka'wakw art and design. The Kwakwaka'wakw people were making masks to be used in potlatches for the theatrics, to bring the dance to life. We had figures emerging from the sand on the floor, figures emerging from the rafters, all over the house. In some stories our entire dance floor was flooded, and fish constructed to swim in the house for effect. I am continuing to bring this sense of life to my work."

 -Rande Cook, 2011

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