Maker of Monsters is an inspiring portrait of Beau Dick, a celebrated Kwakwaka’wakw artist and activist who worked with ancient traditions in a contemporary context. His powerful carvings resonated in his own remote community on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, and drew attention and acclaim across Canada and internationally. As an activist, Dick called attention to colonial and environmental injustices, bringing his message to the legislature in Victoria, and to the steps of parliament in Ottawa, where he enacted a political protest infused with cultural and spiritual protocol. Filmed in the years leading up to his death in 2017, filmmakers LaTiesha Ti’si’tla Fazakas and Natalie Bolla create an intimate profile of this charismatic hereditary chief and share his profound legacy.
Makers of Monsters is presented in Nanaimo by Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre and TheatreOne. Proceeds from this event will go to support the work of our non-profit organizations.
Chief Beau Dick (Walas Gwa’yam), acclaimed as one of the Northwest Coast’s most versatile and talented carvers, was born in Alert Bay, BC where he lived and worked. Reaching out beyond the confines of his own Kwakwaka’wakw culture, Dick explored new formats and techniques in his work, including painting and drawing. For more than three decades, he has actively perpetuated the ceremonial traditions of his people, the Kwakwaka’wakw. He began carving at a very early age, studying under his father Benjamin Dick, his grandfather James Dick, and later under renowned artists Henry Hunt and Doug Cranmer. Beau has also worked alongside such artists as Robert Davidson, Tony Hunt and the late Bill Reid.
A carver who took much of his inspiration and technique from traditional Kwakwaka’wakw art, Beau’s work has been particularly noted for its embrace of contemporary influences, often incorporating European and Asian styles into his creations. His masks in particular have been lauded for their rough yet realistic presentation, representing a piece that is both austere yet incredibly life-like.