Chief Beau Dick

Ceremonial mask by Beau Dick
Hamaniquala, 2012, 31 x 30 x 21”, cedar, paint bronze
Pookmis Mask, 2005
Cedar, paint, horsehair, cotton, feathers
Chief beau dick
24 x 14 x 7 “


Yupik Winter Ceremony Mask, 2014
Cedar, paint
Chief beau dick
19 x 24 “

(November 23, 1955 – March 27, 2017, Kwakwaka’wakw)

Hereditary Chief Beau Dick (Walas Gwa’yam), acclaimed as one of the Northwest Coast’s most versatile and talented carvers, was born in Kingcome Inlet, BC, a Kwakiutl village north of Vancouver Island, bc. He was a contemporary artist, activist and hereditary Chief from the Namgis First Nation. At a young age, he moved to Albert Bay, British Columbia, where he began carving and became heavily influenced by the traditional woodcarving of both his grandfather and father. 

Beau Dick draws on a deep knowledge of ceremonial Kwakwaka’wakw culture, giving us face-time with the mythological with a pantheon of masks. At the same time, Dick mediates the space between aesthetics, social utility, and the art for sale condition. For more than three decades, he actively perpetuated the ceremonial traditions of his people. Beau also worked alongside master carvers Robert Davidson, Tony Hunt, and the late Bill Reid.

Dick’s work has been exhibited most recently at WHITE COLUMNS (NYC) in 2019 and Documenta 14, Athens/KASSEL (2017). From 2013 to his passing in 2017, Dick was Artist-in-Residence at the UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, with his studio in the Audain Art Centre. 2010 saw four of Beau’s major works brought to Sydney, Australia, to be displayed in one of the world’s largest and most prestigious exhibitions, the Sydney Biennale. 

1955 – 2017 Village Island, Kingcome Inlet, BC; Kwakwaka’wakw

Selected Solo Exhibitions
Beau Dick: Revolutionary Spirit, Audain Art Museum, Whistler BC
2017 Supernaturalis: Chief Beau Dick, Gallery Weekend, San Francisco, CA
Divergent Convergence, Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2014 Art Toronto, Toronto International Art Fair, Toronto, ON 2012 Ceremonial/Art, Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver, BC 2010 Pookmis, Blanket Contemporary Art Inc., Vancouver, BC

Selected Group Exhibitions
the poets have always preceded: art and poetry in Vancouver, 1960s – present, Griffin Art Projects, North Vancouver, BC
2018 Beau Dick, Neil Campbell, Gigaemi Kukwits, Walter Scott, Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver, BC
Etnos – The Faces of Diversity, Santander Cultural, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Hiłt̕sist̕a’a̕m (The Copper Will Be Fixed), part of Potlatch 67-67: The Potlatch Ban – Then and Now, Comox Valley Art Gallery, Comox BC
2017 The Pacific, Libby Leshgold Gallery, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver BC
NADA Art Fair, Skylight Clarkson North, New York NY
Canadian Biennial, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa ON
Documenta 14: Learning From Athens, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece Inside The Nest, Simon Preston Gallery, New York NY
2016 This is with it as it is, Audain Art Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC 2015 Beau Dick | Nicholas Galanin | Jeneen Frei Njootli, Macaulay Fine Art, Vancouver, BC
Drama, Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver, BC
The Box of Treasures: Gifts from the Supernatural, Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, BC 2014 Inappropriate, Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2013 Story, Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Rezerect, The Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Summer exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, ON
Cracker-Barrel, Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver, BC
Witnesses: Art and Canada’s Indian Residential Schools, The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC The Voyage, or Three Years At Sea Part VI, Charles H Scott Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
Gallery Artists, Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver, BC
2012 Carrying on “Irregardless”: Humour in Contemporary Northwest Coast Art, Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver, BC Scott Burton, Giuliani Foundation, Rome
Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art From the Audain Collection, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2011 Sacred Stories, Timeless Tales: Mythic Traditions in World Art, The Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, FL 2010 17th International Biennale of Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art. Sydney, Australia
Monster: The Fear Inside. A group show of contemporary artists with the myths and legends of disparate cultures— Inuit, Kwakwaka’wakw, European, Chinese, West Vancouver Museum, BC
2009 Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast – Opened at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario and travelled within Canada and to Switzerland. Closed Fall 2010
In the Spirit of the Ancestors: Contemporary Northwest Coast Native Art – The Burke Museum of Natural History

Permanent / Corporate Collections
Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec
Museum of Anthropology Vancouver, BC
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Michael Audain collection, Vancouver, BC
U’mista Cultural Center, Alert Bay, BC
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ

2015 The Power of The Potlatch, British Columbia Magazine
2010 The beauty of Distance, Songs of Survival In A Precarious Age, 17th Biennale of Sydney Catalogue, Ed. David Elliot 2009 Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast, Ian Thom, Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre
2004 Supernatural: Neil Campbell and Beau Dick, Roy Ard, Contemporary Art Gallery of Vancouver
1984 The Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast indian Art, Peter Macnair, Robert Joseph, Bruce Grenville, Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre.

2013-17 UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, Audain Art Center, Vancouver, BC