Born in 1959 into the Musqamakw Dzawadaenutw Band (the four tribes of the Kingcome Inlet), Francis is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. She is a descendant of the supernatural Wolf, Kawadelekala who became first of the Kingcome people. Most of her work contains images of Kawadelekala, acknowledging her contemporary ties to her cultural past. Her cultural heritage is something that Francis holds very near to the center of her spirit, it is this hereditary knowledge that she relies on for her strength. “Before anything else my work is about honoring 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 is a way of life.”
Francis’ first painting Kawakelekala was created, then published as a way to honor her grandmother’s life and spirit after her death in December, 1985. Four months later, Francis’ youngest and closest brother, Jesse, took his own life. She created her second painting to be published as a way to acknowledge her love and honor for her brother. The pain of losing Jesse took her to a doorway where her journey of self discovery began through her paintings.
Though her primary form of creativity began through painting, Francis now carves silver, gold, and wood. Also a singer and dancer of her cultural songs and dances, Francis too is a writer and performer. In her biggest performance project to date, Wi Woma: Honoring the Spirit of Women, Francis combined many of her talents to produce this ceremonial performance about women moving through oppression to an awakening of spirit.
Francis 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 from as far away as the University of Berlin in Germany. Her work has been exhibited in various art galleries and museums, and is on permanent exhibit in the Museum Fur Volker Kunde in Berlin. Currently she is preparing for art shows in Victoria, Vancouver, and Port Townsend, Washington.
Photographs of her work and numerous articles and interviews with Francis have been printed in various publications including, Women of Power, Easy Living, Focus on Women, and Boulevard. Her paintings are featured in two books: Maskentanze de Kwakiutl (Masks of the Kwakiutl) by Dr. Erich Kasten, and Wolf-Spirits of the Wild by Walking Sticks Publications. Garfinkle Publications has published selected works in their 1995 and 1996 calendars “Gathering Spirit”.
Francis presently resides in Victoria, working with her creative expression as her way of life.