Where I Stand
‘Where I Stand’ by Francis Dick – First Nations Northwest Coast Kwakwaka’wakw Art presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.
Condition: no condition noted.
Description by Artist: ‘Where I Stand’ – “Inspired by William Wasden, whom I have known his entire life. I witnessed his process as he moved into his creativity, which I believe is innate within him. His work, to me, is touched with hands of GOD, he is genius. A true artist, unique, he has his own style, unlike anyone else. He is original in his creativity and has a tremendous relationship with his creativity. Again a true artist in my view. There are countless numbers of people who call themselves artists because they have studied, practiced and learned the “elements of design” and technique. In my personal view this does not make an individual an artist. Especially Art from within our culture. William Wasden is also a very gifted and influential singer and leader within many communities. Our connection has been a life time. I admire his creativity and I am pleased he was a part of my life for many years. The essence of this painting is that of power, strength, but there also is a deep sadness. William wearing his Chilkat blanket exhibiting his connection to his Tlingit side. The images behind him are inspired by WILLIAMS designs, they are in fact his designs, and I have emulated them, they do not emanate the same as his. How can it. I requested permission to use them for my painting of him. A wondrous journey this man has been on.” – Francis Dick
Notes from DaVic Gallery: There is another painting by Francis Dick titled HAMATSA that fits together very well with ‘Where I Stand‘. After the storm comes calm. After the rite of coming of age of the cannibals ‘Where I stand’ brings calm. Not calm caused by tiredness but the calm that can only come from wisdom, where no fighting is needed, where one knows exactly where he or she stands. The fights of modern people is no longer concern. There is a bigger fight to fight, the fight for life, the fight First Nation peoples fight to recover. ‘Where I Stand’ shows the acceptance that not all will ever be like it once was. That the fight of today is in today’s terms and he sees and knows that. Such strong stand with no distractions. In modern terms, these two paintings reflect very well our transition from youth and adulthood and into our midlife passage.
I admit this is one painting that will be difficult to let go of. Hangs in my living room together with HAMATSA and the entire family loves them both. Amazing lift of energy in the entire room and great piece for conversation.
William Hiłamas Edward Wasden Jr. – Hiłamas “One Who Will Fix Everything” is ‘Namgis (Nimpkish Valley and Alert Bay Area) from the Kwakwaka’wakw “Kwakwala Speaking Tribes”. William was born in Alert Bay on the eastern coast of Northern Vancouver Island. He is a descendant of Kwagu’ł “Fort Rupert” Chiefs John ‘Nulis, Udzistalis, and Kxitasu’ George Hunt (who worked with the early anthropologist Franz Boas); ‘Namgis Chiefs Tłakwudłas, ‘Namugwis, and Waxawidi Samuel Innis; and Dzawada’enuxw “Kingcome Inlet” Chief Gwa’yamdzi James T. Dawson. William is an initiated Hamat̕sa “Cannibal Secret Society Dancer” as well as ‘Ma’maka “Shaman Society Dancer”. Both societies are highly respected amongst the Kwakwaka’wakw.
William was taught traditional Kwakwaka’wakw artwork by late ‘Namgis Chief / Master Carver Pal’nakwalagalis Wakas Douglas Cranmer and also from Haida Artist Don Yeomans.
He was taught singing and the traditions around ceremonial culture by the last Kwakwaka’wakw Song Keeper/Composer/Historian, the late Nakwaxda’xw Chief Hiwakalis Tom Willie “Mackenzie” from Blunden Harbour and his late wife, matriarch ‘Malidi Elsie nee Wamiss from Kingcome Inlet. William credits the survival and strength of present Kwakwaka’wakw culture and ceremonies to the teachings of dedicated Elders such as them.