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Indigenous artist and activist Beau Dick is shown

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first_img Indigenous artist and activist Beau Dick is shown in the new documentary “Maker of Monsters: The Extraordinary Life of Beau Dick,” in this undated handout photo. To some, the late Indigenous artist and activist Beau Dick was “almost Christ-like.” Such is the descriptor offered in the new documentary “Maker of Monsters: The Extraordinary Life of Beau Dick,” which shows the Kwakwaka’wakw hereditary chief with the long, grey hair and flowing silver beard leading a group of protesters from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to advocate for Indigenous rights and environmental issues. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO ‘Maker of Monsters’ doc profiles Indigenous art ‘treasure’ Beau Dick TORONTO – To some, the late Indigenous artist and activist Beau Dick was “almost Christ-like.”Such is the descriptor offered in the new documentary “Maker of Monsters: The Extraordinary Life of Beau Dick,” which shows the Kwakwaka’wakw hereditary chief with the long, grey hair and flowing silver beard leading a group of protesters from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to advocate for Indigenous rights and environmental issues.The Alert Bay, B.C., native, who died a year ago, was also a generous mentor and staged traditional copper-breaking ceremonies at legislatures to shame the government over its relationship with its Indigenous communities.His renowned masks have sold in international galleries for tens of thousands of dollars and have increased “exponentially” in value over the past year as the world catches on to his great legacy, say Natalie Boll and LaTiesha Ti’si’tla Fazakas, directors of the doc that screens Thursday and April 1 in Cineplex Odeon theatres in 11 Canadian cities.“I’d known Beau since 2000 and I immediately thought there was something special about him,” says Fazakas, who owns her own gallery in Vancouver and is a leading expert in Northwest Coast art.“But it seemed to me that he really lacked a champion. I was like … ‘More and more people need to meet Beau, because I feel like we have this treasure here and I don’t think we all know it and we should.’”The directors started working on the doc in 2012 after Fazakas invited Boll to her home to view one of Dick’s striking wooden masks in a bid to convince her to make the film with her.Dick’s works are known for evoking a strong reaction in viewers and that’s what happened to Boll when she walked down Fazakas’s hallway and saw the large piece depicting a mythic being known as a Wild Woman of the Woods.“I was emotional and it was very real and alive,” says Boll, who is a director of Athene Films in Vancouver.“I’d just never had that kind of connection with art in that way.”The two finished the film just a few months before Dick died on March 27, 2017 at age 61 from complications of a stroke.They captured the soft-spoken, self-professed workaholic in his workshop, at traditional potlatch ceremonies that were once banned in Canada, and on his activism journeys.“For me, coming from not an art background per se in the art world, meeting Beau for the first time was a very inspiring experience on a human level,” says Boll.“He had this amazing artistic ability and also an ability to connect to people in a different way and really mentor and inspire people.”The filmmakers say Dick liked to live his life off the grid and had a strong sense of humour and determination, even through addiction issues.They say Dick was also extremely generous, often giving money from sales of his masks to other artists and community members, and putting the spotlight on voices who need to be heard.“I don’t think Beau ever had more than a couple of bucks in his pocket because he constantly gave his money away,” says Fazakas.“He saw it as his chiefly duty to take care of others.”Interviewees in the doc include environmentalist David Suzuki and Dick’s daughters.The film touches on Indigenous history in Canada and how Dick’s masks are an important learning tool in an era of truth and reconciliation.After a hit feature of Dick’s masks at last year’s esteemed Documenta exhibition in Athens, the filmmakers foresee “a fundamental shift” in interest in Indigenous art like his.“The mask carver that has been in the past kind of relegated to a niche of their own and relegated to the tourist market is now being taken seriously within the dialogue of the international art scene and not asked to compromise,” says Fazakas.“So I think it’s groundbreaking, really.”center_img by Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 28, 2018 6:03 am PDT Last Updated Mar 28, 2018 at 6:41 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emaillast_img read more