AWARD PROGRAM OVERVIEW
The Polygon Award in First Nations Art (FNA) program celebrates artistic excellence in traditional, contemporary or media art. It honours 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.
WHY NOMINATE OR APPLY
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.
DATES TO REMEMBER
- June 1 – Nominations OPEN
- June 30 – Nominations CLOSE
- October – Awardees ANNOUNCED
- November – Art Exhibition open to the public @ The Roundhouse
The completed nomination form and all materials must be by submitted by June 30 @ 11:59 p.m. for the nomination to be considered.
Save and Continue Later - If you don’t have all the information on hand, click on the ‘Save and Continue Later’ button at the bottom of the online nomination form – you will be prompted to enter your email and will receive a link that you can access and complete your nomination prior to the deadline.
CHECKLIST - BEFORE YOU START
- Review the FNA Nomination Guide with tips for submitting a compelling nomination
- Ensure the nominator and nominee meet the eligibility criteria
- Prepare the Nominator Statement in a word document, then copy and paste the content into the required field; use bullet points and leave a line between points
- Have all nominator and nominee contact information
- Have all documents ready to upload
- Schedule 15-20 minutes to complete the form
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
- Past recipients*
*Visit BC Achievement’s Awardees webpage to see if your nominee is a past recipient of the award.
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
SELECTION OF AWARDEES
An independent jury panel reviews the nominations and selects the awardees. The 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
- Interpretation of First Nations culture
Up to four 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 a cash prize bursary 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.
HOW TO NOMINATE / APPLY
Click here to download the FNA Nomination Guide for tips on how to submit a compelling nomination.
The nominator must complete the online Nomination form and include the following:
- Nominator name & contact information (if applicable)
- Nominee name & contact information
- Category: Emerging or Established
- Number of years nominee has been practicing their craft
- Field / Medium of artwork
- Nominee First Nations Identity statement
- Nominator Statement
- Nominee’s CV or resumé
- Images of the nominee’s work & description
- Additional Materials – optional, but strongly recommended (up to 5 items max.)
- Provide reasons for the submission and a description of why it should be considered for the award
- Describe why the nominee became an artist, what their work means to them and others
- Explain what inspires the nominee
- Address what kinds of artwork they create, which mediums they practice in and what makes the nominee’s artwork unique
- Describe how the nominee’s work contributes to the cultural economy of the BC
Please use bullet points & leave a space between points.
Max. 3000 characters including spaces or approx. 500 words.
For Emerging Artists – provide a statement that describes how receiving the award would help to advance their career trajectory and support them achieving the next level of artistic development.
Max. 500 characters including spaces or approx. 80 words.
Nominee’s CV or Resumé
- Please provide information on the nominee’s education, training, significant projects, exhibits and achievements in their field
Images & Description
- Provide up to 10 high-resolution images of recent work
- For each image uploaded, provide the title, date, medium and a short description
**Please include the image number in the name of the image uploaded** – for example:
- Ann Smith-image-03 etc.
Additional Materials – optional, but strongly recommended
- Include materials such as the nominee’s biography, letters of support, links* to articles, recorded testimonials, YouTube videos, photos, website links, etc.
- A maximum of five items will be accepted
- Jury members will review up to 10 pages total and five minutes of video
*Each link submitted is considered one additional material.
UPDATING A NOMINATION
To update a nomination:
- Click on the link for the nomination form
- Select ‘yes’ to the question ‘Is this an update to a previous nomination?’
- Include the year the nomination was first submitted
- Complete the online nomination form and include updated information & materials about your nominee
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 jury panel if their nominee was not recognized in the previous year’s awardee cohort.
We are happy to send the documents previously submitted for your nominee. Please email email@example.com to make your request.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. 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' at the bottom of the online nomination form - you will be prompted to enter your email and will receive a link that you can access and complete your nomination prior to the deadline.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Can an artist submit samples of the work in each field they practice?
Yes, but only ten visuals TOTAL may be submitted.
5. 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.
6. Should a previously submitted nomination be updated?
Yes, nominees should provide updated visuals and information reflecting their recent work annually.
7. 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.
8. 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.
AWARD OF DISTINCTION
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.
- 2023 Xwalacktun, OC, OBC
- 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