Watch the films on BC’s First Nations artists  

Photo: 2022 Award Recipient, Latham Mack

BC Achievement’s First Nations Art Award (FNA) program honours BC artists for excellence in traditional and contemporary First Nations Art. Whether that’s carving, painting, beading, or basket weaving, over 16 years of exceptional First Nations artists have been celebrated for their respective practices. And not just those who have years of experience under their ‘carving’ belt, as the Crabtree McLennan designation has been recognizing emerging First Nations artists since 2016. Emerging and established creators have been celebrated for their skills, many of which have been passed down to the artist from aunties, uncles, grannies and granddads, moms, dads and community elders. That’s what makes this award so unique. The skills, the inspiration and the stories expressed by these artists are an evolution from many generations and it’s through today’s artists that we see these traditional art forms thrive. 

Preserving these stories and these artistic techniques is an important practice for all British Columbians as these stories are part of our province’s collective history. The learnings enrich our culture, strengthen the ties between communities, and increase understanding and reconciliation. 

Photo: 2022 Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist, Jamie Gentry

Collecting these stories of BC’s talented First Nations artists has been BC Achievement’s practice since 2006. For each artist receiving a BC Achievement First Nations Art Award (that’s a total of 95 artists over 16 years!) we have gone to the artist’s home and studio to produce a short film which captures their practice and its influences.  

The film highlights the artist’s inspiration, their style of work, what drives them, their challenges and their successes and their dreams for future generations of artists. No small task to complete in an under-5-minute film! But these stories are worth telling and worth sharing. They serve as a capsule holding immense knowledge, stories and skills of each artist and are valuable not just to preserve history, but as a way to look forward. A way for other artists to look at those who’ve paved the path before them and follow in their footsteps. And these compelling stories inspire young First Nations students to take pride in their traditional artistic practices while teaching non-Indigenous learners a diverse and traditional way of life. 

We have made these films available as part of an online archive library for the public on BC Achievement’s YouTube channel. Please watch and please share.  

Watch the films of the 2022 First Nations Art awardees here: 

Jamie Gentry – Kwakwaka’wakw, Sooke – Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist  

Latham Mack – Nuxalk, Kamloops 

Qwul’thilum Dylan Thomas – Lyackson First Nation, Victoria 

Reg Davidson – Haida, Masset – Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.

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