Atlakim Ceremony in Edinburgh

For anyone in or around Edinburgh this week I highly recommend attending this very special event at St. Cecilia’s Hall on Tuesday 25th February at 6 pm.

My colleague Alan Hunt, a Kwakwaka’wakw chief and carver, who worked with the late Beau Dick, will be performing an Atlakim Ceremony along with 12 members of the Alert Bay and Fort Rupert communities. The ceremony is a dance of the supernatural forest spirits usually performed during potlatches and winter dances. Traditionally, after four performances, the masks are ceremonially burned.

Steve Potlatch Fire 2
Burning Atlakim mask. Image courtesy of Steve Calvert.

In 2008 Beau Dick was the first artist in 50 years to perform this rite. He did so again in 2012. The set of Atlakim masks currenty on display in the Pine’s Eye exhibition at The Talbot Rice gallery, were intended to be burned at documenta14 in 2017.

Please do encourage your colleagues, friends and students to attend this event.

I wish I could be there too.

Steve Beau 1
Beau Dick carrying the potlatch copper Nunmgala during his Potlatch at ‘Namgis, Alert Bay, 2012. Image courtesy of Steve Calvert.

One Reply to “Atlakim Ceremony in Edinburgh”

  1. Dear Mr. Cussans,
    I am a student from Humboldt University of Berlin and currently writing my thesis on Beau Dick. There are contradictory information about the remaining of Beau Dicks Atlakima Masks, which were exhibited at the documenta 14. Can you confirm that the Set exhibited at The Talbot Rice Gallery in 2020 is the very same set or is it actually made by Alan Hunt? I am grateful for any help. Greetings, Martina Kutsch

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