The Hamatsa (cannibal) was a secret society among the Kwakiutl people of the Pacific Northwest coast. Part of its practice consisted of a dramatic performance with music, masks, and dancing. During the actual ceremony, initiates into the Hamatsa secret society (usually teenage boys) are taken by the cannibal spirit to reside in the woods for a specific period of time. The artist explores sound and movement in this book through text, image, and structure.

22 × 41 × 8 inches (expands to approximate depth of 45 inches)
wood, metal, handmade flax, cotton, and sisal paper with pulp painting and watermarks, ink, linen thread, PVA; tunnel book, letterpressed, hand-sewn and cut.
Includes accompanying pulp-painted marionette of cannibal bird spirit and sculpted flax paper hand rattles.

$1700 Contact the artist for more information.

A smaller, multiple edition of Hamatsa is also available.

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  • Video of book being "activated" by releasing the front panel

    This video demonstrates how the book can be activated by releasing a lever to let the front panel drop into the book. The front panel causes the handmade paper rattles, in the shape of hands, to move and create sound. The startling effect caused by sudden movement and sound references the fear-inducing drama of the Northwest Coast Hamatsa performance.

  • Video of book being "activated" in a darkened room with back lighting

    This video demonstrates how the book can be activated by releasing a lever to let the front panel drop into the book. The front panel causes the handmade paper rattles, in the shape of hands, to move and create sound. In a darkened room with back-lighting, the watermark image of the cannibal spirit suddenly appears. The startling effect caused by sudden movement and sound references the fear-inducing drama of the Northwest Coast Hamatsa performance.

  • Video of tunnel book with marionette of cannibal bird spirit

    This video shows how the accompanying marionette of the cannibal bird spirit can be lowered into the "stage" of the tunnel book. The snapping sound of the beak opening and closing references the sound made by the masked dancers during the actual drama of the Northwest Coast Hamatsa performance.