Totem Poles, contemporary and traditional

Totem Poles, contemporary and traditional


.... still so hard to believe he's gone - we miss him!!!

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you are interested in a custom designed Totem Pole and would like to have more information!!

Prices starting at $8,000 CAD.....depending on height, thickness, design etc....

John Livingston's Expertise and Experience was in designing, carving and restoring, from small (7 ft) all the way up to large (40 ft) totem poles is world wide recognized. He has carved many Totem Poles in his career - please have a look at the images below - they are truly amazing!

These are just a few examples of John's work:

1) Ellen Neel Replica Totem Pole, Kwickwasutaineuk artist  Ellen Neel, in 1948 the Victory Through Honour pole was dedicated to UBC, University of British Columbia and stood at Brock Hall. Calvin Hunt, assisted by John Livingston and Mervyn Child replicated the pole in 2004

2) Kevin Cranmer - Family Memorial Pole, a 36 ft. tall pole hand carved for the Bill and Roy Cranmer potlatch, Kevin Cranmer, assisted by John Livingston and Calvin Hunt, contemporary version of the Wakyas Pole, Alert Bay

3) John Livingston - contemporary, private commissioned Totem Pole, depicting the Whale, Victoria, BC

4) John Livingston - Eagle Totem Pole, 7 ft. tall, International Commission, shipped and installed in Germany 

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you are interested in a custom designed Totem Pole and would like to have more information!!

Meaning: Totem poles are primarily visual statements about the ceremonial privileges and identity of those who erected them. The figures represented on totem poles are those beings from mythical times who became, or were encountered by, the ancestors of the group that later took them as crests. For instance, some Kwakwaka'wakw families claim as a crest the Thunderbird, who descended from the sky and took off his regalia and became their human ancestor. Others claim crests on the basis of encounters their ancestors had with supernatural beings. The erection of a totem pole would usually be celebrated by a potlatch. At this time, the stories pertaining to the crests they displayed were shown, and the rights of the family to claim the privileges were publicly witnessed. Especially important totem poles were those raised in honour of Chiefs by their successors. When a totem pole was commissioned, the artist was told which crest it was to show, but there is considerable evidence that he was given some degree of freedom as to how he chose to portray them. It appears that the artist also put into their designs hidden meanings and visual puns of their own. The meaning of the totem pole was, therefore, very personalized. Only the pole's owner and its carver can describe accurately its significance. Figures featured on the poles are family crests. These include the Eagle, Raven, Frog, Killer Whale, Grizzly Bear, Thunderbird and Dzunuk̓wa among others. Carved subsequent to the inhabitation of Cormorant Island in the late 19th century (1870), totem poles originating in Alert Bay are perhaps some of the most familiar. Several of these poles are now found in Stanley Park in Vancouver. Others are featured in various museums across North America and throughout the world. Not all totem poles have figures all the way down the pole. Some simply feature a single crest at the top, representing the most important family symbol. A Chief could claim kin alliances with several groups. Of these, the most important would often go on the very top of the pole. Our old people believed that nothing lasts forever. When a Totem Pole falls to the earth or something was damaged on it, it has served its purpose and it is time to let it go. This is why poles are not always maintained or repainted.

Photos of This Piece

Call for Pricing: 778-350-3555

About This Artist

Gone way to soon! We will miss you, John! Thank you for being such a good friend! Master carver John Livingston was born in Vancouver, on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, Canada in 1951. Nation: adopted Kwakwaka'wakw. John started his...Artist bio and other available works »

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