(1948 – Present; Tahltan-Tlingit)
Born to a highly artistic family in 1948, Tahltan-Tlingit artist Dempsey Bob’s success as an artist was perhaps inevitable. He began learning art forms and art technique from his grandparents and his mother, and began carving in 1969 with guidance from acclaimed artist Freda Diesing of Prince Rupert. Dempsey’s exposure to oral histories, songs, and dances from a young age has contributed to his understanding of art and its purpose within a community. While apprenticing under Freda, Dempsey learned the basics of art form and tools. He continued his education at the Kitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art, where he was taught how to work with wood and make his own tools. In 1992, Dempsey expanded his repertoire to include bronze casting when he completed a course at Boise State University.
Dempsey has since trained many students in both Canada and the United States, and his artwork can be found in public, private, and corporate collections worldwide. Famously, his 1989 solo show held at the Grace Gallery was sold to a single collector on opening night. Dempsey has also produced a number of public commissions, including a twelve foot totem pole for Canada House in London, England, and in 2013, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to the preservation of Tahltan and Tlingit artistry.
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