NORTHWEST artist Dempsey Bob has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston.
The designation is a Canadian national order within Canada’s honours system, and one of our country’s highest civilian orders, recognizing a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large.
An official investiture will happen at a later date.
Dempsey Bob is a highly respected, world-renowned Tlingit/Tahltan artist of the Wolf Clan from Telegraph Creek, BC. One of the foremost artists of his generation, Dempsey has been carving and teaching for over 40 years. His works are featured in museum collections and galleries around the world, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization, UBC Museum of Anthropology, the Columbia Museum of Ethnology, the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Ethnology in Japan, and Canada House in London.
Dempsey Bob has been senior advisor to the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Arts a Northwest Community College in Terrace since its inception in 2006. The school was created to honour the legacy of Haida artist, traditional carver and teacher Freda Diesing (1925-2002). She achieved great personal success in her work and is equally remembered for her determination to keep traditional Northwest Coast art alive by passing the knowledge to future generations of artists and carvers. Diesing was Dempsey Bob’s contemporary, friend, at times his teacher, and an important influence on his life and art.
Bob’s commitment to Diesing’s legacy was essential to his role in helping to establish the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art and to his continuing work, support and efforts on behalf of the School, its instructors and students, indicates a statement issued by Northwest Community College.
Dempsey Bob thanks his family, those who supported and taught him. “This award is for them – my wife, Margaret, my children, Tanya and David, and for my friend Harold Demetzer. It’s for my teachers and for those who supported me, my mother and father, my grandfather. The award is for our people, for our children and a recognition of our beautiful art form”, says Bob. “To be a great artist you must be a great learner, a great seeker and have great self-discipline. I am very lucky, lucky to have this talent, to have the discipline and to have the support of my family, friends and my people.”
“Dempsey Bob, is a humble, extraordinary man who continues to bring honour to himself and to Northwest Community College”, says Denise Henning, NWCC President & CEO. “We are very grateful for this and for his enormous contribution to the Freda Diesing School. His staggering talent and unwavering commitment to preserving and spreading First Nations cultural knowledge through his art and students is well recognized with this most esteemed honour.”