Dean Hunt

Sechelt, British Columbia

Dean Hunt is a visual artist, traditional tattoo practitioner and music producer from the Eagle Clan of the Heiltsuk Nation, Waglisla (Bella Bella). Dean underwent a formal five-year apprenticeship with his father Bradley Hunt and older brother Shawn Hunt, where he learned the skills of Heiltsuk carving and design. Dean uses the tools and techniques his ancestors fought to hold onto through times of hardship and oppression, not only in his more traditional art practices, but also in his contemporary use of sound.

Constantly pushing the evolution of Heiltsuk art forward, Dean is a part of the movement to modernize the art form. Dean balances innovation with his desire to stay true to the ancestors’ ways of doing things. A storyteller, Dean often depicts narrative scenes on his jewellery which is highly sought after by collectors from all over the world.

Dean’s work has been part of notable exhibitions such as Continuum: Vision and Creativity on the Northwest Coast at Bill Reid Gallery; Shore, Forest, and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection at the Vancouver Art Gallery; and Satellite Gallery’s Cindy Sherman Meets Dzunukwa Art from the Michael & Inna O’brian Collection. In 2017, the Lattimer Gallery hosted an exhibition titled Hálúɫ (Fresh) featuring Dean and fellow Heiltsuk artist KC Hall.


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Carving is all subtractive, you start with a block and whittle it down. Whereas beats is additive, you start with a kick and a snare, building it up. Definitely rhythm is one thing that ties the carving and music together. You can't help but carve to the beat of the music. To receive this award is a great honour, to be alongside some of my heroes is huge.