Beau Dick ('Walas G̱wa̱ʼya̱m 'Big Whale') was one of the most exciting and creative Northwest Coast contemporary artists of his generation. Having established a career that spanned decades, his work stands out for its power and emotion. In addition, his creativity and curiosity allowed him to reach out beyond his own Kwakwaka'wakw culture to experiment in styles of other tribal traditions. He is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable artists among the Kwakwaka’wakw, and perpetuated the ceremonial traditions of his people. He was a Chief and upheld his name by giving Potlatches and working as both a teacher and mentor.
Dick was born in Alert Bay and was raised speaking only his native language Kwakwala, in the neighbouring village of Kingcome Inlet until he was 6. He began carving at a very early age, studying under his father, Benjamin Dick and his grandfather James Dick, and later under renowned artists Henry Hunt and Doug Cranmer.
Dick exhibited in many group exhibitions and was the subject of several solo exhibitions. His work can be found in museum collections around the world, as well as in private collections. He created a transformation mask for Expo '86 in Vancouver, which now hangs in the Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec. Dick also has many pieces on display in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. His work was featured in The National Gallery of Canada's summer 2013 exhibition "Sakahan: International Indigenous Art".