Shawna Kiesman, an emerging artist from Victoria, is a testament to dedication and innovation in her craft. With a diverse heritage, including Ts’msyen, Nisga’a and Haida/German roots, Shawna’s artistic journey began at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Arts and continued at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and supported by awards like the Audain Entrance Scholarship and BC Arts Council Scholarship.
As an emerging artist, Shawna’s post-graduation career is thriving, marked by grants and residencies, including the RBC Audain Museum Emerging Artist Program. Permanent collections such as the Nisga’a Museum and Coast Mountain College house and celebrate her work. Each piece is a means of cultural exploration and identity reclamation that delves into her Indigenous heritage. Shawna’s diverse portfolio includes digital art, textiles, drawing, and painting, and is known for its modernized take on everyday items. As a First Nations artist, she seeks to understand her ancestral culture and its complexities while ensuring its continuance and legacy.
Shawna was selected by the independent jury as the 2023 Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist.
The Crabtree McLennan Emerging Artist designation was established in 2019. Named in honour of Brenda Crabtree, former Director, Aboriginal Programs, and Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives, 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.