Born in Alert Bay on September 14, 1981, Marcus Alfred was a member of the ‘Namgis First Nation of the Kwakwaka’wakw Peoples. His father is the renowned artist Wayne Alfred and he was the grandson of ‘Namgis chief, Pat Alfred. Marcus’s potlatch name was P’adzismaxwa, which is a Hamat’sa name passed down from his great-grandfather.
Alert Bay is the central hub for the ‘Namgis community, providing Marcus with a strong cultural upbringing enveloped within Kwakwaka’wakw traditions and ceremonies. Along with being a well-known carver, Wayne Alfred (Marcus’s father) is an accomplished dancer and has passed these traditions onto his son Marcus. Marcus held title to the highly sacred Hamat’sa dance, a secret society of the Kwakwaka’wakw people.
Marcus has assisted many artists over the years including his father, Don Svanvik and Beau Dick. He regularly contributeed to significant cultural and ceremonial events that took place within his community. Marcus’s work was enhanced by his deep knowledge of Kwakwaka’wakw dance practices and the utility of ceremonial masks. He created masks and other carvings that spoke directly to his knowledge of the power and beauty of his cultural traditions. Through his artwork and dance Marcus continued to showcase the significance of his family history and cultural knowledge to the world.