Beau Dick Hamat'sa Prints May 09, 2015 16:12

These whimsical First Nations Kwakwaka'wakw prints by Master Artist Beau Dick represent Kwakwaka'wakw dancers. They were created in 1980. One print is titled 'Tanis' and the other 'Tani Gee'. The word 'Tanis' translates to 'Dancer'. The other print is titled 'Tanis Gee' which shows a dancer preparing and means 'Winter Dancer', a type of dancer integral to the Winter Hamat'sa Dances of the First Nations people from Vancouver Island. Each print measures 14" x 16" and is from an edition of 225. Each print is signed and long sold out.

Beau Dick print

Beau Dick's many works include: masks, bowls, rattles, drums, original paintings and limited edition prints. He began carving at a very early age, studying under his father, Benjamin and his grandfather, James Dick. He has worked with Tony and Henry Hunt, Bill Reid, Doug Cranmer and Robert Davidson. His many important pieces are in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Heard Museum (Phoenix), the Burke Museum (Seattle) and the B.C. Provincial Museum. Beau danced and performed at the Opening Ceremony of Expo 1986, and it was during this same year that he designed the ‘Hands of Friendship’ logo for Lattimer Gallery. In May of 1998, his work was featured at the reopening of Canada-House in London, England. In 2005, he was included in the highly successful exhibition 'Totems to Turquoise' which opened in New York and then came to Vancouver. In 2012, Beau received the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation’s VIVA Award for Visual Arts. In 2014, Beau was Artist in Residence at UBC. Beau is dedicated to learning about historical Kwakwaka'wakw and Northwest Coast artwork, and he uses many older pieces to fuel his creative processes. Beau is always experimenting with new formats and new techniques in his work, and he has been a teacher to many younger artists.


The Kwakwaka’wakw culture, based in the north of Vancouver Island and on the mainland of southwest British Columbia, traditionally divides its year into ceremonial months and non-ceremonial months. The Tsetseka, or ceremonial season, begins in the late autumn and is marked by feasting and the activation of ancient dancing societies. There are four main societies in Kwakwaka’wakw culture: the Winalagilis, the Atlakim, the Dluwalakha (or Klasila), and the Hamat’sa. The secretive Hamat’sa society and its dancing rituals are based around the initiations of a novice dancer. The ceremonial winter Hamat’sa dance often lasts for several days and contains a large cast of characters who educate, terrify and challenge the nominated novice. While there are numerous representational spirits and creatures involved in this dancing ceremony, the primary figures are those of birds who inhabit the Sky-World and interact with human life below. These birds are guided by the spirit Baxbaxwalanuksiwe ("Man-Eater at the North End of the World") and include the Cannibal (or Hamat’sa) Raven, the Hokhokw, and the Crooked Beak. While the Hamat’sa ceremony is complex and contains many characters, Baxbaxwalanuksiwe’s birds are popular with First Nations artists because they have the potential of being both representationally identifiable and intellectually provocative. In the carving of masks, the Hamat’sa Raven, the Hokhokw and the Crooked Beak are often built with articulated beaks, which snap open and shut during dancing performances.