Kesu’: The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer

Northwest Coast Kwakwaka’wakw art is renowned for its flamboyant, energetic, and colorful carving and painting. Among the leading practitioners was Doug Cranmer (1927-2006), whose style was understated, elegant, and fresh, and whose work quickly found an international following in the 1960s. He was an early player in the global commercial art market, and one of the first Native artists in BC to own his own gallery. A long-time teacher, he inspired generations of young Native artists in his home village of Alert Bay and beyond.


The exhibit shows a wide range of Doug’s artistic works in two and three dimensions in wood and paint, from totem poles, a canoe, masks, bentwood boxes, bowls, and prints, to his important “Abstract series” of paintings on mahogany plywood. Works and words by his students are also included in the exhibit, which is organized as a series of overlapping modules that reflect different aspects of the artist’s life and work.


Dr. Jennifer Kramer, MOA Curator, Pacific Northwest, and Associate Professor of Anthropology at UBC. She is also the author of the accompanying book, which is available in the MOA Shop.

Exhibition Title

Kesu': The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer


March 17-September 3, 2012