Dempsey Bob is one of the foremost Tahltan-Tlingit artists of his generation. An internationally renowned master carver, he has produced a widely exhibited body of work, which is inspired by his rich heritage. He has been a significant innovator of the Tahltan-Tlingit style for more than 50 years and continues to be an important leader for the development of the Northwest Coast cultural art form. He has built cross-cultural art partnerships with other Indigenous peoples, notably the Maori of New Zealand. He has also shared his cultural and artistic knowledge as a founding member of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, where he continues to teach the next generation of master carvers. In 2013, he was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of his important contributions to the art and artists of British Columbia.
“As a sculptor, Dempsey Bob has made his life’s work the pursuit of knowledge of the past great works by Tlingit and Northwest Coast artists.
Dempsey Bob provides leadership, support and guidance to many Northwest Coast artists studying the sculptural works of great masters from the past, while he himself brings a new meaningful variation of this world-renowned art form to a contemporary audience. He is recognized as one of few master carvers of his Nation who is pushing the art forward, successfully blending contemporary with the traditional style of Tahltan-Tlingit sculptural art, while remaining true to its complex protocols and unique design history.
‘Mr. Bob has passed on his learning and his skill to younger generations of First Nations artists, but also reached out to Indigenous people across the world. His success in doing so has immeasurable significance for the future. Bob’s work has always honoured his ancestors. He has, in his turn, become an honoured ancestor figure to succeeding generations of First Nations artists.’ – Charlotte Townsend Galt, Professor Emeritus, Art History, Visual Art and Theory, University of British Columbia. Honorary Professor, Anthropology, University College London.”
Nominator: Jim Logan, Visual Artist
“Dempsey Bob is recognized as one of few master carvers of his Nation who is pushing the art forward, successfully blending contemporary with the traditional style of Tahltan-Tlingit sculptural art, while remaining true to its complex protocols and unique design history.”