Beau Dick: Devoured by Consumerism
June 21 – September 8, 2019
Remai Modern, 102 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon SK S7K 0L3
Devoured by Consumerism is the last exhibition conceived by the late Kwakwaka’wakw artist, activist and chief, Beau Dick (1955–2017). By sharing works inspired by the Kwakwaka’wakw Winter Ceremonies, Beau hoped to spark change in a world he saw devouring itself under the ravenous pressures of capitalism.
Featuring works from 1980–2016, Devoured by Consumerism explores the contrasts and connections between the Kwakwaka’wakw Winter Ceremonies and modern consumer culture. A host of compelling figures inhabit the exhibition, such as the supernatural cannibal birds, shape-shifter Otter Woman, and wild man and woman of the woods Bookwus and Tsonoqua. Through masks and sculptures inspired by his culture’s potlatch traditions, Beau Dick argues that these stories and practices contain profound understandings of balance, community responsibility, and personal transformation. Actively defying the accumulation of wealth and property, these contemporary potlatch works continue to disrupt their status as commodity and to challenge the boundaries of what is considered contemporary art.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, produced in collaboration with Figure 1. Publishing, Vancouver. Full colour photographs of Dick’s works are supported by contextual information and insights from his apprentices and friends. Essays by LaTiesha Fazakas, John Cussans and Candice Hopkins examine the continued impact of Beau Dick’s art and life.
Beau Dick: Devoured by Consumerism was conceived by Beau Dick and LaTiesha Fazakas, and is organized by Fazakas Gallery. The exhibition debuted at White Columns, New York, March 15 – May 4, 2019. Remai Modern’s presentation is organized by Rose Bouthillier, Curator (Exhibitions).