Dick, Beau (1955-2017)
We are very saddened by the untimely passing of Dzawada'enuxw hereditary chief Beau Dick, yesterday, March 27, 20017. Our thoughts are with his family.
Beau Dick was born in 1955 in Alert Bay, B.C., just off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island in the ancestral land of the the Kwakwaka'wakw people. However, the first years of his life he spent in
Beau attended school in Vancouver and spent the summers with his family in
Many of the Kwakwaka’wakw master artists, including Willie Seaweed, Charlie James, and Mungo Martin as well as Beau’s father Ben Dick and grandfather James Dick carried the art and culture through the period of cultural assimilation and transition to become among the first carvers to receive recognition as “name” artists beyond the cultural definition. They also carried the wealth of songs, dances, and ceremonial rites, which were passed on to the dedicated young artists such as Beau who was among the first artists of the modern era.
He became interested in painting and produced several large canvases in a naturalistic style representing Kwakwaka’wakw mythological figures and ceremonial dancers. He continued to carve and received several important commissions while still a young artist; he painted the dance screen for the
Beau is a prolific and respected artist. He was chosen to carve the large four way split transformation mask for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo ‘86 in
Beau has explored new formats and techniques in his work, including painting and drawing. His work can be found in private collections as well as museums, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau, QC), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), the Burke Museum (Seattle, WA), the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Dick’s work has been exhibited most recently in Sakahan: International Indigenous Art (2013) at the National Gallery of Canada, 75 Years of Collecting: First Nations: Myths and Realities (2006) at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Supernatural with Neil Campbell (2004) at the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver). In 2012, Dick received the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation’s VIVA Award for Visual Arts.
Since 2014, Beau is the artist of residence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.