Polygon Award in First Nations Art Recipients Announced

Today BC Achievement Foundation announced the recipients of the Polygon Award in First Nations Art (FNA). Presented annually this award program shines a light on artistic excellence in traditional, contemporary or media in First Nations Art.

The 2023 recipients, chosen by an independent jury, are:

Brent Sparrow – Musqueam, Vancouver

Klatle-bhi – Kwakwaka’wakw / Squamish, West Vancouver

Shawna Kiesman – Nisga’a, Ts’msyen, Haida, Victoria – Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist

The 2023 Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement, as decided by the BC Achievement Board after community consultation, is:

Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) – Kwakwaka’wakw / Squamish – West Vancouver – Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement

“Congratulations to each of the deserving recipients of the 2023 Polygon Award in First Nations Art! The recognition is a testament to your artistic brilliance in traditional and contemporary art,” said Walter Pela, Chair of the BC Achievement Foundation. “The commitment to your craft, impressive body of work, and the recognition you receive within your communities showcase the profound impact of your creativity and dedication to preserving and advancing First Nations art. These contributions enrich the cultural landscape, inspiring others while preserving the deep heritage of First Nations arts in British Columbia.” Thank you for inspiring the next generation of artists while preserving the legacy of First Nations Art in BC,” he added.

Now in its 17th year, the Polygon Award in First Nations Art recognizes those who have demonstrated a commitment to their art practice; have accumulated a body of work; and are recognized in their communities as artists. Celebrating the intersection of art and culture, while honouring First Nations artistic traditions, the program creates a platform for community engagement, mentorship, and storytelling.

The 2023 jury members include Nathan Wilson, Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxsan and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry and 2020 recipient; Shawn Hunt, Heiltsuk and 2011 recipient; Xémontélót Carrielynn Victor, Cheam First Nation and 2018 recipient. Connie Watts, Associate Director, Aboriginal Programs, Emily Carr University of Art + Design and artist of Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxsan and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry; and Brenda Crabtree, former Director, Aboriginal Programs, and Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, a member of the Spuzzum Band   with both Nlaka’pamux and Sto:lo ancestry, served as advisors.

Join us at a ticketed award ceremony and dinner on Wednesday, November 15 at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Vancouver, BC where each recipient will be honoured with a short film highlighting their accomplishments. Click here to purchase tickets.

The Polygon Award in First Nations Art is made possible through the generosity of Vancouver-based Polygon Homes.  The BC Achievement Foundation is also grateful to supporting sponsors TELUS and TD, and community partners BC Ferries, Denbigh Fine Art Services, and The Roundhouse each of which play a key role in elevating change in their support of the First Nations Art Award program.  

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

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