Beau Dick, The Ghost Con-fined to the Chair, 2012

Original size is 467 × 700 pixels

Courtesy of Kathleen and Laing Brown.

Like many artists along the Northwest Coast, Corey’s invaluable skill and education stems out of apprenticeships with master carvers, one of whom was Beau Dick. In 2007, the two worked together in Alert Bay, British Columbia, where they built a friendship amounting to numerous collaborations. Subsequently, Corey’s work has become imprinted with his relationship to Beau’s personality and skill.
The Ghost Con-Fined To The Chair (2012) samples elements of assemblage that both Beau and Corey practice. Just as Hometown Hero, The Ghost Con-Fined To The Chair integrates found objects with carving as a means to situate traditional teaching in more recent contexts.
Inspired by a dream of a Tsonoqua dancing with a rose in her mouth, Beau personified the Tsonoqua in the form of a ghost mask, a woven cedar rose and a copy of the Indian Act, positioned on a red vinyl chair found in the carving studio of a building which formerly housed the Alert Bay residential school.
Deterioration overwhelms the work in form and concept. The deep-set eye sockets carved into the skull are characteristic of the Tsonoqua, combined with this imagery is the Indian Act. The work thus poses the question of whether the Indian Act is an active agent towards deterioration, is it part of deterioration, or was it, upon its inception, already in the process of falling apart?