Simon Dick

Simon Dick (born in 1951) is a Kwicksutaineuk, is one of the premiere artists of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation. He was born in Alert Bay in 1951 and is of Tsawataineuk Kwicksutaineuk descent, from Gilford Island. Simon was raised in a small village on Kingcome Inlet, immersed in the traditional practices of Kwakwaka’wakw culture and is fluent in the Kwa’kwala language.

In 1986 Simon was commissioned by the Canadian Pavilion at the World Fair Exposition in Vancouver B.C. to design and construct a massive thunderbird carving which cradled the amphitheatre, measuring 40ft high by 30 ft wide. He apprenticed under Tony Hunt, Sr. for four years at the Art of the Raven Studio in Victoria, B.C., and also worked with the acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid in the carving of a 24-foot canoe. Continuing this tradition, he has taken on several apprentices, teaching them the art and the ways of the First Nations people. In 1983, an inaugural potlatch was held in his honor, bestowing him rank among the Kwakwaka’wakw people.

Simon’s life, philosophy, and creative expression are derived from his education and tradition, yet are entwined with contemporary life. Tutored by Grandfather Chiefs on both sides of his family, Simon learned the original songs and dances that have belonged to his family for many generations. He spent a significant amount of time with the late Chief Sam Henderson studying language and music. Initiated into the Hamatsa secret society when he was an adolescent, Simon says he is first and foremost a dancer. He is internationally renown, representing his people in traditional mask dancing, and educating the young and old about the Northwest Coast culture and ceremonies. He carves pieces to dance with, to inspire him and others, and to keep tradition thriving and moving in the present.