Outstanding BC First Nations artists honoured with awards
2018 First Nations Art recipients
Awardees of the Fulmer Awards in BC First Nations Art were celebrated for their artistic excellence in traditional, contemporary or media art at the 12th annual awards in First Nations Art celebration.
"These awards honour the very best in First Nations art in the province and help celebrate the inheritance of a rich cultural tradition," said BCAF chair Scott McIntyre. "The 2018 recipients join the 68 artists the foundation has had the privilege to honour over the past twelve years," he added.
The 2018 recipients, chosen by an independent jury, are:
Richard Adkins – Haida Nation
Kelsey Hall – Heiltsuk Nation (Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist Award)
Bradley Hunt – Heiltsuk Nation
Nakkita Trimble – Nisga'a Nation
Carrielynn Victor – Cheam Nation
In addition, Henry Speck Jr, a master carver from the Kwakwaka'wakw nation of the Tlawitsis Tribe, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a profound contribution to their First Nations culture.
Members of the 2018 jury included:
Sonny Assu, a Ligwilda’xw / Kwakwaka’wakw interdisciplinary, award-winning artist and past recipient; Philip Gray, a past recipient and Tsimshian artist who has received accolades for his work in wood masks and sculptures; and Laura Wee Lay Laq, a recognized clay artist and cultural leader from the Tzeachten First Nation and a past recipient.
Special advisors to the jury include Emily Carr University Aboriginal Program Director, Brenda Crabtree, a member of the Spuzzum Band with both Nlaka’pamux and Sto:lo ancestry; and the UBC Museum of Anthropology’s Curator Emeritus, Bill McLennan.
Richard Adkins grew up in a traditional Haida family, one in which his mother ran a dance group, and one where he had the opportunity to learn history and tradition. He has carried that love of art and tradition over many decades, beginning with studying Northwest Coast Art with Freda Diesing. As an established mixed media artist, Rick has created masterful pieces in sculpture, jewelry and drawing. Rick has garnered national recognition for his design, and his work has been exhibited at art galleries around the country. A true artist, Rick enjoys the process of creating art as well as the psychological effect of his art on the viewer. He is also passionate about teaching others and believes deeply in multi generational learning. Rick is also a leader in apprenticing female artists in a male dominant art form, saying that he learns as much from his apprentices as they do from him.
Kelsey Hall (KC) of Bella Bella, in Heiltsuk Nation territory on the central coast of BC, belongs to the House of Wakas and descends from noted Heiltsuk artist Chief Robert Bell. His artistic practice stems from handwriting, lettering and graffiti skills developed in high school. Mentored and influenced by many BC First Nations artists, KC has collaborated with local artists on many projects, including murals for Granville Island’s newest public space. He has been commissioned for art that demonstrate his knowledge of traditional First Nations craft, creating a mural for the UBC Museum of Anthropology, and co-designing a Spirit Blanket that was presented to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to Bella Bella. KC’s art is modernist with traditional roots. His work arises out of the tension between ancient First Nations skills and traditions and the urban digital world he now inhabits. The skill with which KC navigates this rift shows in his use of formline to create habitat for traditional figures with a distinctively modern/Manga twist.
Bradley Hunt is a Heiltsuk artist from Waglisla (Bella Bella). He is a member of the Eagle Clan, through his late mother Annie Hunt. Bradley attended the Vancouver School of Art for two years before transferring to UBC to complete his degree. He is a self-taught Heiltsuk artist creating deeply carved sculptural totem poles, panels and masks with a strong focus on creativity, and craftsmanship. Bradley is a natural teacher who has mentored his sons Shawn and Dean as well as his cousin Bracken Hanuse-Corlett and Mi’kmaq artist Jordan Bennett. One of Bradley’s core philosophies as a teacher is that he believes that the student must learn the principles of the traditional art form before they try to push the boundaries and create their own personal style. His attention to detail and his innovation within the art form has brought Bradley recognition for his work and it is collected both nationally as well as internationally. Bradley continues to carve every day with his two sons in Sechelt BC on the Sunshine Coast.
Nakkita Trimble has been instrumental in the re-claiming of Nisga’a tattooing methods of skin stitching and hand poking - techniques her ancestors would have used. Her tattoo apprenticeship began in 2011 in a tattoo shop where she learned on a coil machine, eventually using a rotary. Now Nakkita practices freestyle tattooing done with needle and ink. Nakkita’s first exhibit was a solo-exhibit at the Nisga'a Museum in Grenville, British Columbia in 2014. The exhibit featured the oral history of Nisga'a Tattooing prior to contact. The oral history was passed down from Freda Morven and the Council of Elders comprised of some Matriarchs and Chiefs of the four main villages in the Nass Valley. The exhibit featured the first modern recorded oral statement of Nisga'a Tattooing practices, techniques, and ceremonies. Nakkita is currently exhibiting her art form at the Bill Reid Gallery. Nakkita’s tattoos connect generations, helping individuals reconnect with their identity while developing pride and curiosity for their family histories, stories and traditions. With her intuitive understanding and practiced skill in tattooing, Nakkita’s work has been featured widely in public presentations, radio and print publications.
Carrielynn Victor, (Stó:lö, Coast Salish & Mixed Western European Heritage) from the community, XwChí:yóm (Cheam), is a gifted artist. Her paintings and murals reflect her belief of her role as a defender of the earth. Carrielynn lives a holistic lifestyle that feeds her creative processes and results in vivid colours and geometric designs raising a refreshing new genre of Indigenous art. An artist, fisher, plant harvester and medicines practitioner, Carrielynn’s work fuses ancestral knowledge and a deep connection to her culture with contemporary techniques and styles. Her practice considers spirit and sexuality, community, interconnectedness, land, and sustainability. She shares stories of her own as well as stories that provide snapshots of Stó:l? history and world views. Carrielynn is based in Cheam, her father’s family’s ancestral village on the banks of the Lower Fraser River.
Many thanks to Cathi Charles Wherry, Arts Program Coordinator, of the First Peoples' Heritage, Language and Culture Council who provided tremendous assistance in the establishment of the award.
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