Beau Dick: John

February 6 – May 30, 2021
Fazakas Gallery, 688 E Hastings Street Vancouver BC V6A 1R1

The gallery observes COVID-19 protocols.
Masks and social distancing are required, and we encourage visitors to make an appointment to view the exhibition.

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Amidst these times of upheaval and uncertainty, perhaps a vital opportunity afforded to us is to hold close the connections deemed most important to us. These forces act as elixirs that flow through our bodies and spirits. Our kinships transcend the fragmented fissures of a society marked by division, providing us with the restoration we need the most. And this, we should celebrate.

In 2015, Fazakas Gallery hosted the solo exhibition, Drama, exploring the unique cultural perspective of Beau Dick: an artist who produced for Kwakwaka’wakw performance and ceremony, while upholding his moral and financial responsibility towards his larger community through activism and mutual support.

During this exhibition, LaTiesha Fazakas introduced Beau to John Todrick, who was similar to him in manner and sensibility. The kindred friendship formed between the two was instant and would keep them symbiotically entangled through many avenues during their lifetimes. 

John supported Beau, not only through the acquisition of his carvings but in allyship and friendship; endorsing his multiple walking expeditions in protest of the Federal government’s abuse of the land, water, and treaties of the First Nations. 

As such, John chronicles the relationship between Beau Dick and John Todrick, paying homage to the cross-pollination of their individual legacies, which meet to produce a formative kinship that was at once generative in the material sense, but also deeply personal. Here, we are met with the significance of uncovering not only the political, social, and intellectual motives behind an artist’s creation, but also the multitude of relational and collaborative forces that embrace and fortify the perception of the world in which the artist seeks to articulate. This, for Beau, was John. 




Chief Beau Dick, Walas Gwa’yam (1955–2017), was a Kwakwaka’wakw (Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation) artist and activist. He was born in the community of Alert Bay, BC, and lived in Kingcome Inlet, Vancouver, and Victoria before returning to Alert Bay to live and work. He began carving at an early age, studying under his father, Benjamin Dick, his grandfather, James Dick, and other renowned artists such as Henry Hunt and Doug Cranmer. He also worked alongside master carvers Robert Davidson, Tony Hunt, and Bill Reid.

In support of the Idle No More movement, Dick performed two spiritual and political Copper- breaking ceremonies on the steps of the British Columbia legislature in Victoria in 2013, and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2014. Dick created several important public works, including a transformation mask for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver and the Ga’akstalas Totem Pole for Stanley Park, carved with Wayne Alfred and raised in 1991. 

His work has been shown in exhibitions around the world, including Canada House, London, UK (1998); the 17th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2010); documenta 14 in Athens, GR, and Kassel, DE (2017); and White Columns, New York (2019). He was the recipient of the 2012 VIVA Award and was artist-in-residence at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory from 2013 to 2017. 

See more works by Beau Dick here.