Located in CB 101.6 (College Avenue campus, 1st floor, outside CB 118)
Welcome Figure, c. 1981
84″ x 42 1/2″ x 36 1/2″
University of Regina President’s Art Collection. Gift of Dr. Morris C. Shumiatcher, O.C., S.O.M., Q.C. and Dr. Jacqui Clay Shumiatcher, S.O.M., C.M., 2018; sc.2018.68
Henry Hunt was a renowned Kwaguilth artist from Kwakiulth First Nation, T’sakis (Fort Rupert) BC, 2,300kms directly west of Regina. In Kwakiulth, the tradition of carving keeps culture alive alongside language, storytelling, potlatch, songs, dances and other forms of cultural expression. It is for this reason that artists are deeply embedded in and critical to Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw culture and society.
The monumental Welcome Figure which greets campus visitors is based on a traditional post used to signify jurisdiction to visitors at the entrance to territories or buildings. Carved from an old cedar log, it represents a chiefly figure wearing regalia. Without the artist’s guidance, we can only guess that the iconography on the chest might refer to an ancestor of the chief’s lineage. Featured is a transformative recurved beak/ nose, which can be found on the birdlike, or sea-monster beings of raven rattles, or decorating bentwood chests. The artist’s son, Richard Hunt, notes that cedar is ”use(d) for everything from a baby cradle to a coffin. We, the Kwaguilth, call cedar our Tree of Life.”
Welcome figures are proud icons of resistance to colonial intrusion, drawing on powerful legacies through their material and all they represent. Although this Welcome Figure isn’t currently on Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw territory, it stands on the College Avenue campus to welcome all our guests. Its presence also reminds us of our commitment to honour and embed Indigenous knowledges in our work, and of our interconnectedness (kahkiyaw kiwâhkômâkaninawak: All Our Relations), core tenets of our journey toward reconciliation.