“Serving future generations” First Nations Artist and Award of Distinction Laureate, Marianne Nicolson

Marianne Nicolson, ‘Tayagila’ogwa, the 2019 Award of Distinction Laureate is celebrated for her extraordinary and sustained accomplishment in First Nations Art. Thirteen years ago, Marianne received recognition from BC Achievement with the Award in First Nations Art. Her practice is well-known for utilizing painting, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, and installation to create modern depictions of traditional  Kwakwaka’wakw concepts. 

As an artist of Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations descent from Kingcome Inlet, Marianne has exhibited widely in Canada and throughout the world since 1992 and has been vocal on issues of Indigenous histories and politics arising from a passionate involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability. 

Marianne’s training encompassed both traditional Kwakwaka’wakw forms and culture and Western European based art practice. She was trained by a master carver in traditional Kwakwaka’wakw design and followed this with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, along with a Masters in Linguistics and Anthropology, and a PhD in Linguistics, Anthropology and Art History. 

Marianne credits her success to the richness of her community’s history. At the presentation ceremony of the 2019 Fulmer Award in First Nations Art, she spoke of her gratitude. “I’m really grateful to be honoured as an individual, but I feel really that any kind of accolades that come my way really belong to my community, and the ideas and the history that they’ve brought forward, because it was such a rich place to come from and many spectacular people have come from Kingcome Inlet. I feel really honoured that I’ve been able to walk the path that they laid out before me.” 

Marianne also recognized that her contributions would serve future generations “I’m hopeful that myself, in turn, am helping to create a path that others can then also follow behind me.” 

The BC Achievement First Nations Art program was launched in 2007 to honour excellence in First Nations Art and has recognized over 85 talented artists within its alumni. BC Achievement is grateful to The Fulmer Foundation for its generous support of the program.

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