BC First Nations Artists Celebrated With Creative Achievement Awards

2016 recipients
2016 First Nations Art recipients with Hon. John Rustad

Hon. John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation presented the 2016 BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art to six recipients Tuesday.

Among them is Susan Point, a Coast Salish artist from Musqueam, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for profound contribution to First Nations culture.

The awards, sponsored by Polygon Homes Ltd., are presented by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation.

"First Nations artistic traditions in BC are not only sustained but are profoundly enhanced by the work of this year’s award recipients," said Foundation Chair Keith Mitchell. "These awards highlight the cultural stories each recipient pursues in their artistic practice. They join 62 First Nations artists the Foundation has had the privilege of recognizing over the past decade."

The annual BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art celebrate artistic excellence in traditional, contemporary or media art. The 2016 recipients honoured are:

Corrine Hunt – Kwakiutl / Komoyue
Maxine Matilpi – Ma’mtagila / Tlowitsis
Corey W. Moraes – Lax Kw’alaams
Luke Parnell – Nisga’a / Haida
Xwalacktun – Coast Salish / Squamish / Kwakwaka'wakw

"These 2016 award recipients, continue a tradition of excellence in First Nations Art that the Foundation has had the privilege of honouring over the past decade,” said Mitchell. "We thank Polygon Homes, its Chair, Michael Audain, and its President, Neil Chrystal, for their tremendous commitment and support of the BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art.”

At the 10th annual celebration of the awards, the BC Achievement Foundation announced the Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist Award which will be offered in 2017 in recognition of the contributions of Brenda Crabtree and Bill McLennan.

The BC Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation established and endowed by the Province of BC in 2003 to celebrate community service, arts, humanities and enterprise.

Susan A. Point – Musqueam
Susan Point, O.C., RCA., DFA., D.Litt. (1952–) is a descendant of the Musqueam, Coast Salish peoples; she is the daughter of Edna Grant and Anthony Point. Susan inherited the beliefs of her culture and ancestral traditions of her people from her mother Edna – who learned from her mother, Mary Charlie-Grant. Susan’s distinct style has inspired a movement in Coast Salish art. She draws creativity from the stories of her ancestors and forged the use of non-traditional materials and techniques, therefore inspiring a whole new generation of artists. Susan is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has been presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canada. She has been recognized with an Indspire Achievement Award, a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, a B.C. Creative Achievement Award, appointed lifetime member to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, was listed one of B.C’s 100 Most Influential Women, and was named one of Vancouver’s 2012 Remarkable Women. Susan has Honorary Doctorates from the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, the University of B.C. and Emily Carr University of Art and Design. In 2016, Susan was a recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Civic Merit Award.

Corrine Hunt
Kwakiutl / Komoyue

Born in Alert Bay, Corrine Hunt has been creating contemporary art that reflects the themes and traditions of her First Nations Komoyue and Tlingit heritage for more than 24 years. Corrine’s works include engraved gold and sterling silver jewellery and accessories, custom furnishings in carved stainless steel and reclaimed wood, modern totem poles, and other sculptural installations. A member of the Raven Gwa’wina clan from Ts’akis, a Komoyue village on Vancouver Island, Corrine’s rich family history includes internationally renowned First Nations artists Henry, Richard and Tony Hunt, all of whom have influenced her art. Uncle Norman Brotchie was also an early teacher and mentor. Corrine too has mentored First Nations and other artists and continues to be a strong and vocal supporter of the arts in British Columbia.

Maxine Matilpi
Ma’mtagila / Tlowitsis

Maxine Matilpi (Hamasuwidi – meaning “something to eat”), spent her early life in her home village Kalugwis, located in the very centre of Kwakwaka'wakw territory. Here she learned her first language, Kwak’wala, and was formally trained and educated in many aspects of traditional culture. As a child, Maxine was encouraged to assist her mother – Jesse Matilpi (Wadidi), the daughter of Chief Henry Speck (Ozistalis) – and other elders in the community with blanket and regalia making projects. This teaching represented the unbroken line of elders mentoring and passing knowledge to the next generation. Over the last four decades, Maxine has created a huge collection of regalia, which continues to be used for both traditional potlatches and public dance performances. This sharing of wealth amongst her people, a relational art practice, is very important to Maxine. Her regalia has been exhibited worldwide and recently joined the permanent collections of the Stanford University Museum of Art, the McCord Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Seattle Art Museum.

Corey W. Moraes
Lax Kw’alaams

Corey Moraes is of Tsimshian heritage (Lax Kw’alaams Band) and belongs to the Raven Clan. His work can be seen in many publications, museums, galleries and private collections in North America, England and Japan and his designs have gained international recognition. In 2010, Moraes was the recipient of the Aboriginal Traditional Visual Art Award from the Canada Council for the Arts. A largely self-taught artist, he explains, in his own words: “As far as I know, there weren’t any artists in my family. When I was about twenty-five, I started to look back at my own culture, in an exploration of who I was. So I did research in museums, galleries, and books and I had a moment of epiphany — the old pieces spoke to me in a certain way. It’s my hope that every time I create a piece, it will live on long after I’m gone from this earth.”

Luke Parnell
Nisga’a / Haida

Luke Parnell is an artist of Haida and Nisga’a heritage who, through the use of traditional techniques from the Northwest Coast, investigates contemporary social issues. Traditional Northwest Coast art was centred on the convergence of intangible and material wealth: an individual’s rights and privileges and the objects that represented them. Parnell’s work continues to address ideas of rights, ownership, and privilege in the context of his own experience. Graduating with a bachelors degree from the Ontario College of Art and Design, and later gaining a masters from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (graduating with distinction), Parnell was the recipient of the 2012 Winsor Gallery Graduate Student Award. The National Gallery of Canada has collected Parnell’s work and he has exhibited in various galleries across the country.

Xwalacktun, OBC
Coast Salish / Squamish / Kwakwaka'wakw

Xwalacktun's work has changed the artistic and physical landscape both within Canada and internationally through a range of commissions, community endeavors, and exhibitions. In Scotland, poles stand as a symbol of friendship between Europe and Canada. Throughout Salish territory, Xwalacktun's pieces – created in a variety of mediums: wood, concrete, metal, rock – can be found on top of mountains, in parks, at elementary, secondary and post-secondary institutions, in communities and in museums. Lovingly referred to as "The Boss", this Master artist has influenced thousands of emerging artists through the school systems inspiring them to connect with their creative spirit. Fluent in multiple forms of First Nation's design, Xwalacktun shares both his cultural knowledge and innovation while ensuring each piece speaks to important themes such as interconnectedness, community, and environmental awareness. His relaxed teaching approach, combined with his commitment to excellence, both inspires and stretches students to experiment, communicate, and connect with their audiences.

Thank you


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.

British Columbia Achievement Foundation
T. 604.261.9777 | Toll Free 866.882.6088 (in BC)
E. info@bcachievement.com

BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations Art

Past Award Recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award