Belcourt Named 2016 Winner of the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts

Northern Ontario Indigenous artists recognized with Premier’s awards for excellence

Christi Belcourt of Espanola, Christian Chapman of Fort William First Nation honoured at Toronto event

By Cathy Alex, CBC News Posted: Oct 09, 2016 11:00 AM ETLast Updated: Oct 09, 2016 11:00 AM ET

Christian Chapman (left), Christie Belcourt (centre) and Jean Marshall outside the Art Gallery of Ontario at the Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

The spotlight was on northern Ontario Indigenous artists at the 10th annual Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, in Toronto on October 5.

The awards recognize outstanding artists and arts organizations for their contributions to Ontario’s vibrant arts and culture sector, the government announced in a news release Thursday, adding that this year two of the three winners are Indigenous artists.

Métis visual artist, Christi Belcourt, from Espanola received the Individual Artist Award.

“Like generations of Indigenous artists before her, Belcourt’s work celebrates the beauty of the natural world while exploring its symbolic properties,” the release stated.

Belcourt was also the 2014 recipient of the Ontario Arts Council’s Aboriginal Arts Award.

She is the creator of Walking With Our Sisters, a commemorative art installation for missing and murdered Indigenous women. Comprised of 1,700 beaded moccasin tops, the installation will travel to 32 locations across North America by 2019.

(note: Christi is donating her prize to Onaman Collective for their culture camp for youth and elders).

Emerging Artist of the Year

Christian Chapman

Christian Chapman, at work, painting in Banff, Alberta. (Jean Marshall)

Anishinaabe visual artist and filmmaker, Christian Chapman, from Fort William First Nation was honoured with the Emerging Artist of the Year award.

“His two-dimensional mixed-media artwork fuses elements of computer-manipulated images, painting, drawing and printmaking,” the release explained.

Arts Organization Award

Miguel san Vincente, Itah Sadu

Miguel san Vincente (left) and Itah Sadu are co-owners of A Different Booklist in Toronto. (Twitter)

The independent bookstore and literary cultural destination A Different Booklist in Toronto, won the Arts Organization Award.

“A Different Booklist is respected nationally and internationally for its specialty in books by African-Canadian and Caribbean writers,” the release states.

Any professional artist or arts organization in Ontario, whose artistic work or service spans a significant period, is eligible to be nominated.

The Ontario Arts Council administer’s Premier’s Awards for Excellence. Winners are selected by jury, while the Emerging Artist of the Year is chosen by the winner of the Individual Artist Award.

The winning artist receives a $35,000 prize and selects an emerging artist who receives a $15,000 prize, and the winning arts organization receives $50,000.

Nominations for the 2017 awards are being accepted until December 1, 2016, and anyone can submit a nomination.