Frances Dick (1959 – Present)
Born in 1959 into the musqamakw Dzawadaenutw Band of Kingcome Inlet, Francis is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. Though she moved away to Victoria as a young adult, she has always maintained her ties to this village, and returned there in 1990-1992 to work as a social worker. After getting her Bachelor of Social Work from UVic. After two years of work, she moved back to Victoria and began to create art for a living. Over a decade later, her home is still paramount to her identity as an aboriginal woman and as a contemporary artist.
Her family is descended from the supernatural Wolf, Kawadelekala who became first of the Kingcome people. The image of this mythical being is prominent in much of Francis’ art, acknowledging her contemporary ties to her cultural past. Francis says that “Before anything else my work is about honouring my life process, my journey, through my fire, from places of pain and darkness to places that I might stand in my truth; my work is not a career, it is a way of life.” This personal journey is reflected in her art, which is a product of her own emotional, spiritual and cultural awakening from her troubled past. Both Native and non-Native audiences have viewed Francis Dick’s art as representative of human ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges through journeys of self-discovery.
Although her primary forms of artistic expression have always been through her paintings, prints, and singing, she also works with gold and silver and does some work with wood. She is also an integral member of the artistic community: she offers drum-making workshops and is frequently requested to speak for various community organizations, women’s groups, and university classes. In the last decades she has exhibited in dozens shows, and her work is a part of many private and public collections in Canada.