The Great Transformer Mask

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Red cedar, cedar bark, paint.

18" x 11" x 6"

In ancient times, Quenekalak the Great Transformer came down from the Sky World to set things right in the Middle World. He transformed into a man and travelled about the Northwest coast. Rude or evil people he changed into animals; and good and kind people he made salmon and shellfish plentiful so that they prospered.

He had many adventures and was responsible for making much of the world as we know. Eventually he took a wife, Fog Woman, and he founded a tribe and became their chief. His descendants became the Kwakwaka’wakw people.

He is a major figure in the pantheon of mythical characters and there are many stories about his exploits, most of which have been forgotten in recent times. This mask serves to help us remember one of the forgotten demigods in Kwakwaka’wakw traditional culture.

Until recently, the idea of a human “transforming” was unbelievable and nonsensical: the stuff of myths and legends. Today, in the digital age, science tells us that technology will change humanity and Transhumanism is coming. So, one must wonder at the inspiration of this ancient story of the Great Transformer who came down from above.


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