Martin wearing a button blanket, 1962. Photograph courtesy Jim Ryan.
RBCM PN13492. |Mungo Martin is one
of the 20th century’s
most distinguished Kwakwaka'wakw carvers. He was born
about 1881 at Tsaxis (Fort Rupert) on Vancouver Island. Following
the death of Martin’s father, his mother married the gifted
carver Charlie James. Under James’ tutelage, Martin developed
his artistic skills along with a profound understanding of traditional
Kwakwaka’wakw culture. When the decision was
made to replace the original totem poles on display in Thunderbird
Park, the museum invited Martin to undertake the project. Between
1952 and 1962 he created replica poles as well as new poles for Thunderbird
Park, and sent others poles around the world, including the Centennial
Pole presented to Queen Elizabeth in 1958 to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the founding of British Columbia. This pole stands
in Windsor Great Park near London, England.