2022 Award Recipient, Qwul’thilum Dylan Thomas, Bentwood Box – Releasing the Light


The Polygon Award in First Nations Art (FNA) program recognizes BC First Nations artists for artistic excellence in traditional, contemporary or media art. The Award is designed for artists from BC First Nations who have demonstrated a commitment to their art practice; have accumulated a body of work; and who are recognized in their communities as artists.


The FNA program advances the collective conversation around First Nations art in BC. Applying for the Award serves as a platform to communicate an artist’s work, vision and creativity. The process invites an opportunity for critical artistic reflection and exposes artists to a wider audience.


  • June 1 – Nominations OPEN
  • June 30 – Nominations CLOSE
  • September – Awardees ANNOUNCED
  • November 15-22 Art Exhibition open to the public @ The Roundhouse

Nominations must be submitted online by JUNE 30, 2023 (all materials must be received by 11:59 pm).


Artists have the option to self-identify in one of two categories:

Emerging: Artists have developed basic techniques through education and/or apprenticeship; and are in the early stages of launching a professional career. They have created and publicly presented a body of independent work and are ready for the next step in their artistic development.

Established: Artists have demonstrated advanced techniques; shown a commitment to their art practice; and are recognized in their community as artists. They have publicly presented a significant body of independent work and serve as mentors in their respective artistic community.

Award of Distinction: A nominator may request that the nominee be considered for this award designation. The Award of Distinction for lifetime achievement is presented to an established artist in recognition of extraordinary and sustained accomplishment in First Nations Art in BC. It is also a commemorative reflection on how these artistic leaders contribute to their communities, how they respect tradition, how they mentor the next generation, and how they transform reality. They ensure that BC is a place filled with astonishing craft, with unique and immensely expressive power, and continuous wonder.


An eligible nominee must:

  • Practice traditional or contemporary visual art in fields such as, but not limited to, carving, photography, beading, weaving, jewellery, painting, masks, sculpture, stonework, printmaking, basketry, textiles, and media art
  • Be affiliated with a BC First Nation
  • Have been a resident of BC for the past three years

 An artist may self-nominate (i.e., apply for the award program).

The following are ineligible to receive the Award:

  • Posthumous nominations are not eligible
  • Past recipients of the Award are not eligible

Note: If the artist is presenting work outside of their Nation’s traditions, please indicate how authentic and respectful efforts have been made to engage with the artists or other members of the Indigenous communities whose culture or protocols are incorporated in the work.


Any person, group or organization may submit nominations for the Award with exceptions noted below:

  • Current members of the jury panel, or members of the jury panel’s immediate family may not submit a nomination
  • BC Achievement board members may not submit a nomination


An independent jury panel reviews the nominations and selects the awardeesThe decision of the jury is final. Nominees are notified only if selected for an award. Nominators are informed as to whether or not they have been successful with their application.


Award recipients are selected based on the material submitted by the nominator. The work of the nominee should exemplify and demonstrate excellence based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence
  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Innovative approach
  • Aesthetics
  • Interpretation of First Nations culture

Up to three artists will awarded including the Emerging Artist.

Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist - the Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist designation was established in 2019. Named in honour of Brenda Crabtree, former Director, Aboriginal Programs, Emily Carr University and the late Bill McLennan (1948-2020), Curator Emeritus, UBC Museum of Anthropology, this recognition aims to highlight and support emerging talent.


FNA recipients receive $10,000 each and are featured in a Recognition film produced by BC Achievement. In addition, they receive a medallion and pin designed by renowned artist Robert Davidson, OC, OBC, and a commemorative framed certificate and letter from the Premier recognizing their achievements.

Awardees are also granted use of the First Nations Art Award seal to signify their creative excellence.

An art exhibition and presentation ceremony will be held to showcase the awardees’ accomplishments.

Rescission of an Awardee's Recognition


Download the 2023 Nomination Guide for tips on how to submit a compelling nomination.

The nominator must complete the online Nomination form and include the following:

  • Nominator (if applicable) name & contact information
  • Nominee name & contact information
  • BC First Nations Affiliation
  • Number of years nominee has been practicing their craft
  • Field / Medium of artwork
  • Category: Emerging or Established
  • Nominator Statement
  • Nominee’s CV or resumé
  • Images of the Nominee’s work & Visual List
  • Additional Materials – optional, but strongly recommended

Note: It is recommended that the nominator write out the Nominator Statement and Visual List in a word document first before adding the content to the online nomination form.

Nominator Statement (max. 3000 characters including spaces or approximately 500 words)

  • Provide reasons for the submission and a description of why it should be considered for the award
  • Consider describing why the nominee became an artist, what their work means to them and others, what kinds of artwork they create and which mediums they practice in
  • Explain what inspires them
  • Consider addressing what makes the nominee’s artwork unique / interesting and why the jury should select this submission above others

Nominee’s CV or Resumé

  • Provide information on the nominee’s education, training, significant projects, achievements, and mentorship in their field (PDF preferred)

Images & Visual List

  • High quality photos make a difference to the jury
  • Submitted images should show off the nominee’s work in the best light
  • If the image is taken outdoors, ensure no shadows are blocking the art
  • Photos should show the nominee’s signature style even if it is in different mediums
  • If possible, include images that focus on the details of the nominee’s work

All images should be:

  • High resolution, min. 1MB in size. JPEGs preferred
  • Shot on a solid background and with good lighting (if they’re blurry don’t submit them)
  • Consistent in terms of style and format
  • Recent work (images of older work can be submitted if it shows growth in the nominee’s skill)

Visual List: For each uploaded image, provide a title, date, medium and short description

Note: It is strongly recommended that the nominator submit the maximum number of images permitted (ten).

Additional Materials – optional, but strongly recommended, up to a max. of 5 items

  • Jury members appreciate the opportunity to review support letters, testimonials, certificates, videos, or media coverage that tell the story of the nominee’s achievements and their work (each link submitted is considered one additional material)


  • Nominations are valid for three years including the first year of nomination and two subsequent years
  • Nominators are strongly encouraged to update their nomination for consideration by the following year's selection committee if their nominee was not recognized in the previous year’s Awardee cohort
  • To update your nomination, please complete the online nomination form, and select “this is an update to a previous submission” + the year the nomination was first submitted


1. If an artist is affiliated with another First Nation outside of BC but is currently living and working in BC, can they apply?
No, the artist must be affiliated with a British Columbia First Nation.

2. Are part-time artists eligible?
Yes, if the artist is committed to their practice; has produced a significant body of work; and is recognized by their community and peers as an artist.

3. Can an artist submit samples of the work in each field they practice?
Yes, but only ten visuals TOTAL may be submitted.

4. What is ‘media art' and is it admissible?
Yes, it is admissible. BC First Nations artists working in media art are those whose work is created with media technologies including film, digital art, and computer animation.

5. Should a previously submitted nomination be updated?
Yes, nominees should provide updated visuals and information reflecting their recent work annually.

6. When are awardees announced and where are the names of the awardees published?
Awardees are announced in October. Their names are published on BC Achievement’s website and social media.

7. Has the name of the award changed?
Yes, in 2018, the name was changed from the BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art to The Fulmer Award in First Nations Art. In 2023, it was updated to the Polygon Award in First Nations Art.

8. Can information be saved on the online nomination form and completed at a later date?
Yes, it can. If you don't have all the information on hand, click on 'Save and Continue Later' - you will be prompted to enter your email, and will receive a link that you can access to complete your nomination prior to the deadline.


The award is presented to an established artist in recognition of extraordinary and sustained accomplishment in First Nations Art in BC. It is also a commemorative reflection on how these artistic leaders contribute to their communities, how they respect tradition, how they mentor the next generation, and how they transform reality. They ensure that BC is a place filled with astonishing craft, with unique and immensely expressive power, and continuous wonder.

Past recipients:

  • 2022 Reg Davidson, CM
  • 2021 Stan Bevan
  • 2020 Evelyn Vanderhoop
  • 2019 Marianne Nicolson
  • 2018 Henry (Hank) Speck Jr.
  • 2017 Delores Purdaby
  • 2016 Susan Point
  • 2015 Joe David
  • 2014 Alvin Mack
  • 2013 Mandy Brown
  • 2012 Norman Tait
  • 2011 Primrose Adams
  • 2010 Rena Point Bolton
  • 2009 Earl Muldon
  • 2008 Mary Michell
  • 2007 Robert Davidson & Dempsey Bob
Nominations Open:
June 1
Nominations Close:
June 30

Awardees Announced:
October 2023

Honouring excellence and inspiring achievement in First Nations Art throughout the province

The Polygon Award in First Nations Art (FNA) program creates a platform for community engagement, mentorship and storytelling while celebrating the intersection of art and culture and honouring First Nations artistic traditions.

Nominations open for the 2023 FNA program on June 1.

Please review information about the nomination process by clicking on the tabs above:

  • Award Information
  • How to Nominate / Apply
  • FAQs

Click here to download the FNA Nomination Guide with tips for submitting a compelling nomination. 

A combined exhibition showcasing the 2023 recipients for both the Polygon Award in First Nations Art and the Applied Art + Design Award will be held from November 15 – 22 at The Roundhouse in Vancouver.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Polygon Homes.

Any time you can do artwork and put it out there, make the Indigenous presence in these areas known, it can inspire a young Indigenous person to pursue their traditional art or cultural.

Find out how you can support this program and learn more about awardees in your community. Register now to receive our monthly e-newsletter.

Tips for completing the nomination form

Thank you to our First Nations Art Award Supporters


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