Corey Larocque - Pookmis Mask

By Emma DelliCarpini
Posted in News, on January 12, 2018

Corey Larocque is an up-and-coming Haida artist who trained with Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick. The influence of his mentors can be seen in his carved pieces and jewellery. His masks especially reflect the influence from Beau and are expressed here in Corey's combined use of cotton, feathers, cedar bark, and striking white paint.

The Pookmis (Nearly Drowned Man) is a prominent story that is told throughout Vancouver Island and as far north as Haida Gwaii.

The Pookmis is a sea spirit in human form, often described as a drowned whale hunter – he is often depicted with a ghostly appearance. He is fast moving, and dangerous to seafarers.

In art, Nearly Drowned Man is depicted with a fish-like face; round eyes in well-defined sockets; gills; prominent, rounded contours on the face; prominent front teeth or pursed lips; often in white; sometimes with protruding eyes and claws.

Corey started carving in 2004, inspired by the artwork of prominent Vancouver Island artists, such as Russell Smith and Rande Cook. He has worked with celebrated Kwakwaka'wakw carver, Beau Dick, as well as Wayne Alfred. In recent years, he has started to create jewellery. Corey carries the name Noka Tsi, which was given to him by the Alfred family and is the name of Wayne's grandfather's box of treasures.