Meet Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters
Sea to Sky | BC Spotlight
Admirers and collectors of Pacific Northwest art are notably unanimous in their admiration of the oeuvre of Kwakwaka’wakw artist Beau Dick, who died this year far too young at the age of 61. His generous and prolific nature embodied the spirit of potlatch, the giving ceremony at the heart of Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw culture. LaTiesha Ti’si’tla Fazakas and Natalie Bolla share an intimate profile of this charismatic hereditary chief, with a particular focus on his work and his cultural-activist passion. In 2013, Dick organized a collective journey from Quatsino on the northern end of Vancouver Island to the BC Parliament Building in Victoria, a 10-day, 500-kilometre walk. There, he and others enacted a copper-cutting ceremony—a form of public shaming signifying the cleaving of a relationship, in this case a break between First Nations and the government. In 2014, he led a similar journey from UBC to the steps of the Parliament building in Ottawa.
"The copper is a symbol of justice, truth and balance, and to break one is a threat, a challenge and can be an insult. If you break copper on someone and shame them, there should be an apology."—Beau Dick