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Kevin Cranmer was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia, but has lived all but four years of his life in Victoria. Kevin can trace his ancestry to many tribes in the Kwa’kwaka’wakw nation, ‘Nagmis (father), Mamalilikala (mother), Kwagiutl (paternal grandmother), Da’naxda’xw (maternal grandmother), Lawit’sis (paternal great-grandmother), and can also trace his roots to the Tlingit of Alaska. Cranmers’ great-great-great grandmother, A’nisalaga (Mary Ebberts), was a Tlingit noble woman from Tongass, Alaska. She was a Chilkat blanket weaver of great regard and the matriarch of the Hunt family of the Kwagiutl tribe from Tsaxis (Fort Rupert). He descends from the Cranmer, Flanders, Hunt and Bruce families.
His formal instruction came under the tutelage of his cousin, George Hunt Jr.He
later worked with artists Tony Hunt Sr., Tony Hunt Jr., and Calvin Hunt. Kevin’s
introduction to larger monumental sculpture began when he first started to work
alongside renowned Nuu-Chah-Nulth artist, Tim Paulin Thunderbird Park at the
Royal British Columbia Museum. Thus, his large-scale works include several large
co-operative projects: a 40 foot pole which stands in Stanley Park, Vancouver; a 36
foot pole carved for the closing ceremonies at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in
Auckland, New Zealand and an elaborately carved and painted Chief’s seat for the
newly rebuilt Big House in Alert Bay.
Kevin Cranmer is an active participant within his own cultural continuance and is an
initiated Hamatsa member, the most important of the complex dance societies of
the Kwakwaka’wakw. His artistic works not only display the unique Kwakwaka’wakw
traditions but also act as keys to its preservation. Kevin Cranmer continues to
create pieces for family and for use in ceremony