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Artist / Maker : Dick, Francis
Title : Celebration of Life
Date (Execution) : 2006
Geographical Origin : Gwayi (Kingcome Inlet); British Columbia; Canada
Cultural Group : Dzawada̱ʼenux̱w (Tsawataineuk), Kwakwaka'wakw
Style / Period : Contemporary 1950 -
Medium / Material  : Serigraph
Support / Technique : paper
Object Type : screen prints
Visual Description : First Nations formline technique. Bright purple and blue butterfly on a black background.
Accession # : U014.3.158
Width (cm) : 33.50
Height (cm) : 51.50
Depth (cm) :
Mandatory Credit : Gift from the Collection of George and Christiane Smyth
Artist Statement : "One day a young boy at the age of six came home crying hysterically because one of his friends had died. His parents consoled the young boy and said, 'I know that you miss him and that you are sad, but you should also realize that you feel this way because you are a caterpillar; you are thinking like a caterpillar.' 'Why is that?,' the young boy asked. 'When the caterpillar gets wrapped in its cocoon, buried by all that stuff, and if you were to open up the cocoon the caterpillar is no longer there. There's just all this mush and goo, and most people including the caterpillar, think it's dying. But really, it [is] beginning to transform. It's going from one thing to something else. And pretty soon it becomes a butterfly. Can the other little caterpillars on the ground see that this caterpillar became a butterfly?' The young boy answered 'No!' 'And when the caterpillar breaks out of his cocoon what does he do?' The young boy answered, 'He flies.' 'Yes, he gets out and the sunlight dries off his wings and he flies. He's even more beautiful than when he was a caterpillar. Is he more free or less free?' The young boy answered, 'He is much more free.' 'I think your friend has wings now. You see, it [is] not for us to decide when somebody becomes a butterfly. We think it's wrong, but I think God has a better idea when the right time is. Right now it's winter and you want it to be summer, but God has a different plan. Sometimes we just have to trust that God knows how to make butterflies better than we do. And when we're caterpillars sometimes we don't even realize that butterflies exist, because they're up above us, but maybe we should remember that they're there.' The young boy smiled. 'I bet my friend is a beautiful butterfly.' This design speaks to creating a different perspective around death; it's important for me to believe that this place called 'earth' is a place where I am to learn lessons, and to embrace life, and experience it as a gift given to me. In the bottom of the butterfly is a design which represents our humanness, and in death our transition into another dimension, represented in the butterfly. In the top of the design is the wolf which represents my family crest. This painting I dedicate to all of us who have lost loved ones, and those who have passed over to another dimension. This painting is a reminder to me that life is a celebration." -- Francis Dick