Born in 1959 into the Musqamakw Dzawadaenutw Band (the four
tribes of Kingcome Inlet), Francis Dick is a contemporary
aboriginal artist and a member of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation. She
is a descendant of the supernatural Wolf, Kawadelekala, who
became the first of the Kingcome people.
The image of
this mythical being is prominent in much of Francis Dick’s
native art, acknowledging her contemporary ties to her cultural
heritage. Francis holds this very near to the centre of her
spirit, as she relies on this hereditary knowledge for her
strength. "Before anything else, my work is about honouring my
life process, my journey, through my fires, from places of pain
and darkness to places that I might stand in my truth; my work
is not a career, it's a way of life."
Francis began her
career as a social worker after receiving her degree from the
University of Victoria, but quickly realized that her true
calling in life was to honour her natural artistic talents.
Francis Dick’s first aboriginal painting, Kawadelekala, was
created, then published, as a way to honour her grandmother's
life and spirit after her death in December of 1985. Four months
later, her youngest brother, Jesse, took his own life. She
created her second aboriginal painting as a way to acknowledge
her love and honour for her brother. The pain of losing Jesse
took her to a doorway where her journey of self discovery began
through her northwest coast art.
Francis Dick is an
integral member of the native art community, and is frequently
requested to speak for various community organizations, women's
groups and university classes. She has been invited to speak as
a guest lecturer as far away as Europe and has had native art
exhibitions all around the globe, including China and the Middle
East. Francis' native art has been exhibited in various art
galleries and museums, including a permanent exhibit at the
Ethnological Museum in Berlin. Her aboriginal paintings, as well
as articles and interviews, have been published in books,
calendars and magazines all over North America, Asia and Europe.
Although Francis Dick’s primary forms of artistic expression
have been her aboriginal paintings, prints and singing, she also
works with gold and silver, and is an accomplished writer and
performer of native ceremonies.