190307-10 Makah mask, POOKMIS SPIRIT - Wild Man from the Water by Micah James Vogel
Overall 29" h x 21" w
Wood Mask : 9: h x 5 3/4"w x 4 1/2" deep
Seen at the Klucwally Winter Ceremony, Spirit yells "Pook" (meaning water).
This mask captures the essence of the Pookmis spirit. Micah has incorporated twisted fabric and a cork buoy as a reference to the sea, with the white colouration indicating death or hypothermia. Elegantly simple, the facial features depict an otherworldly sea being, sometimes referred to as the Drowned Fisherman or Whaler Spirit. The shape of his lips are meant to indicate his sucking up of souls lost at sea. It is said that when a whaler drowns, Pookmis swallows their spirit, and carries it back to their home village. He then blows it back out during their funerary ceremony.
Micah Vogel is a master artist who specializes in Makah-style carving of masks, rattles, totem poles, and drums. Vogel began carving at the age of nine, beginning with small, simple projects. At sixteen Micah apprenticed with master carver Greg Colfax on the Makah Reservation. At twenty-two, Vogel had established himself as a professional carver. Micah Vogel believes that carving and pride in cultural traditions helps to keep youth off of the streets, providing a source of income, forming a connection with heritage, and cultivating self-esteem.
As the recipient of a 1996 Folk Arts Apprenticeship grant, Vogel taught Jazz Aguirre traditional Makah carving techniques, with steps to include roughing out, fine finishing, painting, and making hair for masks and head dresses. Aguirre and Vogel are first cousins who grew up together and often refer to one another as brothers.