Kwakwaka'wakw (Tsawataineuk and Kwicksutaineuk First Nations)
Simon Dick is one of the premier artists of the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples. He was born in Alert Bay on February 6, 1951 and is from the Tsawataineuk and Kwichsutaineuk First Nations, descended from Gilford Island. Simon was raised in a small village in Kingcome Inlet, immersed in the traditional practices of Kwakwaka’wakw culture and is fluent in the Kwak'wala language.
Simon’s life, philosophy and creativity is immersed in the old ways and entwined with the contemporary, lending vibrancy to Kwakwaka’wakw culture. Tutored by grandfather chiefs on both sides of his family he learned the original songs and dances that have belonged to his family for many generations. He spent a significant amount of time studying the language and music with the late Chief Sam Henderson. In 1983 he held his inaugural potlatch, bestowing him rank amongst the Kwakwaka’wakw people.
Simon Dick apprenticed under Tony Hunt Sr. for 4 years, at the Art of the Raven workshop in Victoria. Simon has also worked with the acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid in the carving of a 24-foot cedar canoe. In 1986 he designed and constructed a massive Thunderbird carving, measuring 40 feet high and 30 feet wide that cradled the amphitheater for the Canadian pavilion at the Worlds Fair Exposition in Vancouver, BC.
In the gradation of soft colors blending with bold lines and sharp forms, Simon creates works that are both fluid and powerful. The innovative carvings of Simon Dick command attention, blending traditional ways with a contemporary vision.
Simon continues today in the ways of his elders before him, taking on several apprentices and teaching them the ways of the First Peoples of this country.
In November of 2001, Coastal Peoples was delighted to have Simon participate in their highly anticipated exhibition entitled Spirits Transform, by contributing a much sought after original Tsonoqua Transformation.