2011 BC First Nations' Art Awards Announced

VANCOUVER, Oct. 20, 2011 /CNW/ - British Columbia Achievement Foundation Chair, Keith Mitchell announced today the 2011 BC Creative Achievement Award recipients for First Nations' Art.

Primrose Adams, a Haida artist from Massett, BC was named the recipient of the 2011 Creative Lifetime Achievement Award for First Nations' Art, a prestigious award given to an artist who has made a profound impact on the community and First Nations' culture. Adams has been recognized both locally and internationally for practicing the art of spruce root basket weaving.

Mitchell also announced the 2011 award recipients of the Annual BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations' Art, a juried competition celebrating artistic excellence in traditional, contemporary or media art. The names of this year's recipients are:

Sonny Assu, Kwakwa'wakw, Vancouver, BC
Stan Bevan, Tsimshian/Tahltan/Tlingit, Terrace, BC
Vera Edmonds, Lil'wat, Mt. Currie, BC
Shawn Hunt, Heiltsuk, Sechelt, BC
Jay Simeon, Haida, Vancouver, BC

"I commend these award-winning artists whose work recognizes their proud traditions, each piece telling a story of First Nations' culture," said Mitchell. "We all celebrate the lasting accomplishments, locally, nationally and internationally, of our Province's First Nations' artists."

The five juried award recipients will receive $5,000 and the seal of the British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for First Nations' Art.

A special presentation ceremony will be held on November 25, 2011 in Vancouver to honour all the 2011 award recipients.

The BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations' Art are presented with the generous support of Polygon Homes Ltd.

Dr. Robert Belton, Associate Professor of Art History at UBC Okanagan and a director of the BC Achievement Foundation, chaired an independent jury panel that selected the 2011 award recipients. The jurors included Reg Davidson, internationally acclaimed Haida artist and past recipient; Brenda Crabtree, Aboriginal Program Manager, Emily Carr University of Art + Design; Bill McLennan, Curator, Pacific Northwest, UBC Museum of Anthropology; and Cathi Charles Wherry, Art Program Manager, First People's Heritage, Language and Culture Council.

The British Columbia Achievement Foundation was established and endowed by the Province of British Columbia in 2003 to celebrate excellence and achievement in the arts, humanities, enterprise and community service. For information on British Columbia Achievement Foundation, visit www.bcachievement.com

A backgrounder follows.


Primrose Adams

As the granddaughter of famed weaver, Isabella Edenshaw, Primrose Adams descends from a rich heritage of weavers and Haida artists.  She has developed the techniques of spruce root weaving taught by her mother and grandmother and has become one of the finest artists of her generation. Her contributions to the ancient art form can be found in both local and international collections.

Sonny Assu

Kwakwa'wakw artist, Sonny Assu has created a strong voice in the First Nations' artistic community through his innovative technique of combining traditional and contemporary forms. A 2002 graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design with a degree in Print Media, Painting and Digital Arts, he displays a respect for older traditions through the lens of popular and contemporary culture in his multi disciplinary art practice.  Assu's work can be found in the Museum of Anthropology in BC, the Seattle Art Museum and the National Gallery of Canada.

Stan Bevan

With formal training at the Kitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art in Hazelton and an apprenticeship with his uncle, Dempsey Bob, Stan Bevan, for over thirty years, has produced an impressive body of work which includes masks, poles, bowls and frontlets created in the Tsimshian and Tahltan-Tlingit style. Stan is a dedicated instructor at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Terrace. He has received significant provincial, national and international commissions and his work is widely exhibited.

Vera Edmonds
Mt. Currie

Vera Edmonds is a master cedar root weaver who practices and teaches traditional Lil'wat weaving. Edmonds learned the art form from her grandmothers and today her contemporary basketry is both technically and aesthetically outstanding.  She is committed to keeping the Lil'wat weaving tradition alive by teaching the younger generations. The Lil'wat Cultural Centres in Mount Currie and Whistler house her original works as well as older and valuable pieces she has carefully restored.

Shawn Hunt

Heiltsuk artist Shawn Hunt is a multidisciplinary artist who works in red cedar, sterling silver, paint, glass, water and fire. By engaging the contemporary context with art forms rooted in rich, historical traditions, Hunt tells his stories and challenges his audience. He apprenticed with his father, J. Bradley Hunt, and also received his BFA at UBC and a studio art diploma from Capilano College. Shawn's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the McCord Museum in Montreal, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, as well as the Bill Reid Gallery and Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver.

Jay Simeon

Jay Simeon is a member of the Haida Nations' Sdast'a'aas Eagle clan from Kiusta. Simeon has built a reputation for meticulously rendered pieces in a variety of scales and materials such as precious metals, wood and argillite. From jewellery to masks to wood carvings and ceremonial regalia, Simeon interprets traditional art form in a contemporary setting.  Simeon has participated in many exhibitions, including the 2010 Stonington Gallery's Winter Exhibition in Seattle that featured his unique, argillite totem pole bracelet.

Detailed information about the awards and a list of past winners is posted on the foundation's website at www.bcachievement.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Achievement Foundation

For further information:

Nora Newlands
Executive Director
BC Achievement Foundation

Organization Profile

British Columbia Achievement Foundation

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