‘Namgis / Mamlilikala artist Kevin Cranmer was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia, but has lived all but four years of his life in Victoria. Cranmer can trace his ancestry to the many nations of Kwakwaka’wakw people, as well as to the Tlingit of Alaska.
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 Paul at Thunderbird Park by 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.