(1958 – Present; Kwakwaka’wakw)
Wayne Alfred was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia in 1958 to Pat Alfred, the late Chief of the Nimpkish band of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation. He was born to a large, artistically active family including his maternal uncle, the renowned artist Henry Hunt, and his cousins Bruce and Harold Alfred, both of whom are exceptional carvers in their own right.
In 1986, Wayne moved to Vancouver where he began a carving apprenticeship under Beau Dick. Expo ’86 drew increased attention to Vancouver and compelled many Northwest Coast artists to highlight their work on a global scale. Wayne worked as an assistant on numerous monumental commissions, including a totem pole in Stanley Park alongside his mentor. Wayne also began working with a core group of Kwakwaka’wakw artists, many of whom hailed from Alert Bay, where he perfected his skills and learned diverse design techniques. Wayne is particularly attracted to styles that originated in Smith Inlet, Blunden Harbour, and Alert Bay. He invokes many of these influences in his work in a new manner, fusing them with his own Christian beliefs, his personal experiences, and his concern with contemporary social issues.