IN KEEPING WITH MYSELF
Rande Cook is a Kwakwaka'wakw artist who was born in Alert Bay and currently lives and works in Victoria. Although he was raised on the strong teachings of his grandparents, Gus and Florence Matilpi, the artist often finds himself lost in the study of ancient Kwakwaka'wakw pieces found in museums around the world. This is where he seeks to push the boundaries by understanding the ancient fundamentals of form.
In Look Ma, I’ve Arrived, Cook wears a Kwakwaka'wakw-style portrait mask that he carved. He is shown walking the streets of New York’s Times Square. Although the mask hides his face, it reveals his Indigenous identity. The image successfully captures the strength of the artist’s roots, and the spirits of his ancestors, as Cook faces the world of capitalism and colonialism with courage and conviction. The work is part of Cook’s ongoing TRAVEL-A-Lot-I-C series, in which he documents complex Indigenous identities in the urban space.