Lou-ann Neel, First Nations artist and community arts’ advocate

“Visual art forms and practices are an integral part of our living cultures”. 

Lou-ann Neel descends from a rich history of artists on both sides of her family and has been practicing various forms of  Kwakwaka’wakw design for over forty years. “I started off painting and drawing, and then onto textiles, jewellery and I’ve been experimenting with digital design and other modern materials. Using technology was always of real interest to me so I enrolled in Emily Carr University and had a chance to really learn about how your artistic practice can come true in any way you want to, and that technology is just another tool.” 

In addition to her artistic practice, Lou-ann is a community arts’ advocate – always seeking to build solutions that will enable Indigenous artists to balance their respective rights, responsibilities and obligations with new, contemporary expressions of their work. 

Lou-ann was recognized for artistic excellence in traditional, contemporary and media art, and received the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art from the BC Achievement Foundation in 2020. “I feel incredibly honoured to have been recognized with Indigenous artists that I respect and admire for their work in keeping our traditions alive while also making meaning of the important histories and artistic practice of each of our respective Nations.” 

For artists like Lou-ann, it’s important to acknowledge artistic excellence. “I think it is vitally important to acknowledge both traditional and contemporary First Nations visual art forms and practices because all forms and practices are an integral part of our living cultures. I believe that there is still a great deal of wisdom and knowledge that we can draw from our traditional art forms, which is why I believe our Elders and mentors continue to teach the interconnectedness of creative and artistic practice to language, culture, and the natural world.” 

To learn more about Lou-ann Neel’s artistic practice and her achievement visit bcachievement.com  

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