Maxine Matilpi (Hamasuwidi – meaning “something to eat”), spent her early life in her home village Kalugwis, located in the very centre of Kwakwaka’wakw territory. Here she learned her first language, Kwak’wala, and was formally trained and educated in many aspects of traditional culture. As a child, Maxine was encouraged to assist her mother – Jesse Matilpi (Wadidi), the daughter of Chief Henry Speck (Ozistalis) – and other elders in the community with blanket and regalia making projects. This teaching represented the unbroken line of elders mentoring and passing knowledge to the next generation. Over the last four decades, Maxine has created a huge collection of regalia, which continues to be used for both traditional potlatches and public dance performances. This sharing of wealth amongst her people, a relational art practice, is very important to Maxine. Her regalia has been exhibited worldwide and recently joined the permanent collections of the Stanford University Museum of Art, the McCord Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Seattle Art Museum.
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