Francis Dick

(excerpt from Interview with Shelby Richardson 4 August, 2011)

When I first started out, it was all about where I came from and my identity as a Kwakwaka’wakw person… and by doing that I’d be painting images of stylized Northwest Coast clouds up in Kingcome or the mountains up in Kingcome, and how we talked about the story that was attached to the lake or an area in Kingcome.

I’d never done landscape before, this is my first time. I’d been doing wolves, that was my first piece. ‘How am I going to do this?’ This was really interesting. So I did the river, I did the mountains and did Gwał’gwáyam’nukw, the whale in the mountain and then the tree line, the tree line and a wolf in it.

When I paint something, like Gwa’yi for instance—a painting I did when I first went back… I had a wolf in the painting and then I had a whale because there is a mountain, that was called Gwał’gwáyam’nukw, and what that means is ‘a mountain on a whale,’ and during the great flood, when the flood was going down, back down, these whales got stuck in the mountain and they turned to stone. And now my uncle says that up there, Gwał’gwáyam’nukw, that mountain, it looks like there’s a whale stuck in the mountain.

[Dick in interview, August 4, 2011]