Dempsey Bob is world renowned Tahltan-Tlingit sculptor. He was born into the Wolf Clan at Telegraph Creek, British Columbia and continues to live in Northern BC. He is most notably recognized for his Wood Sculptures and Bronzes, but also creates two dimensional drawing and has produced precious metal jewelry mainly in gold. Dempsey’s works are housed in major museums and private collections throughout Canada and the United States. He also has his work commissioned for public and private collectors in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and continental Europe. Major pieces include Fog Woman and Raven at the Vancouver International Airport and Ridley Island Grain Terminal’s Traders from the Sea near Prince Rupert BC and The Unity Sculpture at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
Besides the art that he has produced for more than fifty years, Dempsey has committed himself to keeping the North Coast First Nations art form alive by being a teacher, mentor and guide to new generations of artists. He taught in Alaska and the Yukon throughout the 1980s and 90s. Along with his nephews Stan Bevan and Ken McNeil, he was instrumental in the creation of the prestigious Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast art at the Coast Mountain College in Terrace British Columbia. The School has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent North Coast Art teaching institution in North America.
He has become a major contributor to development with Pacific Rim First Nations relations travelling to New Zealand numerous times from 2004, fostering cultural and professional relationships with the Maori. The most recent benefit of that relationship is the new Totem Pole The Pacific Songs of the Ancestors dedicated at Emily Carr University in late September. The Pole was carved by Dempsey Bob, Lyonel Grant and Stan Bevan.
Dempsey Bob has received multiple awards acknowledging his contribution to Northwest Coast Art. He was inducted into the Order of Canada as an Officer in 2013. He was named recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Visual arts in 2021. He has had a major touring retrospective show called Wolves: The Art of Dempsey Bob beginning in 2022 and touring for the past two years. The Exhibition was celebrated with extensive audiences turnout at Whistler, Calgary, Kleinberg Montreal and Kelowna. He is an iconic figure in Canadian Art and continues to create incredible sculptures that bring further recognition and prestige to Northwest Coast Art form. He has never stopped creating and is always pushing the limit of the art while always respecting his cultural heritage.
Photo Credit: HAROLD J. T. DEMETZER