First Nations elder wood carving

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This is one of Charles Hannah’s best sculptures.  It is also very rare because almost all of his sculptures were brightly coloured.  With this piece, Hannah is making a social observation that Aboriginal people are living in two worlds.  Traditional life is represented by the breastplate and blanket on one side of the body and western life by the jacket and sleeve on the other side.

Charles Hannah is one of the three carving brothers – Charles, Tom and Gerald (Pat).  Generally the brothers carved and their sisters painted the sculptures.  Charles studied under C.J. Trygg and his sculpting follows the Scandinavian flat-plan tradition with a caricature style of figurative carving. The Hannah family was active in carving since the 1930s. In general, their carvings are not quite on the same level as Trygg. 

Hannah has carved a very distinct noble face of the elder with a happy/content expression. This is interesting social commentary given the portrayal of the two sides of Aboriginal life – traditional and contemporary life. In this sculpture Charles Hannah also shows his mastery through the natural pose of the subject. 

Pine. Stained. One piece of wood. Saint-Sauveur, Quebec.  Signed C. Hannah.

Dimensions: 12.25"/31cm x 3.75"/9.5cm x 2.75"/ 7cm

Weight: 300 grams