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Awards celebrate B.C. First Nations art: Raven's Eye: special section providing news from BC & Yukon.

Five B.C. First Nations artists were named as the recipients of the 2009 BC Creative Achievement Awards for Aboriginal Art on June 5 by Premier Gordon Campbell and Keith Mitchell, chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation.

This is the third year of the awards. This year's winners are Calvin Hunt, Kwakiutl, Richard Hunt, Kwakiutl, John Marston, Coast Salish, Chemainus, Noeleen

McQuary, Nadleh Whut'en, and Isabel Rorick, Haida.

"By interpreting what they see, what they experience and their great cultural traditions, these artists provide a gift to all British Columbians through their artwork," said Campbell.

The recipients of the 2009 BC Creative Achievement Awards for Aboriginal Art will be recognized at a ceremony in Vancouver in September 2009. Each recipient will receive $2,500 and be granted the use of the British Columbia Creative Achievement Award seal to signify their creative excellence.

The recipients were selected by an independent jury chaired by board member Dr. Robert Belton, dean of creative and critical studies at UBC Okanagan. The jury was composed of Candice Hopkins, Carcross Tagish Nation, Sobey Curatorial Resident, Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada and past director/curator Western Front Exhibitions; Barbara Marchand, Okanagan Nation, artist and past recipient of a BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art; Bill McLennan, curator, Pacific Northwest, UBC Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver; and Marianne Nicolson, Dzawada'enuxw, artist and past recipient of a BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art.

Polygon Homes Ltd. is the sponsor of the award and joins presentation sponsor, the Vancouver Airport Authority, as a supporter of the award, said Mitchell.

The British Columbia Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation established and endowed by the province of B.C. in 2003 to celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, community service and enterprise.

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Calvin Hunt lives in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. He is an artist, leader, and role model, and creates traditional Northwest Coast Indian art forms that embody his personalized artistic style.

A talented and skilled carver, Calvin is best known for creating traditional canoes that bring the community together in voyages of celebration, totem poles that honor his ancestors and encourages young people in his traditional home of Fort Rupert, and large transformation masks and regalia that help bring stories and legends to life. Calvin also works in silk-screen printing, dance screens, jewelry, and stone carving. His artwork can be found in galleries and private collections worldwide.

Richard Hunt lives in Victoria. He is a master carver, working in wood, paper, canvas and precious metals, creating art pieces that are influenced by his Kwa-gulth culture and tradition. His work in totems, drums, masks, prints and bowls can be found in public and private collections and galleries around the world.

Richard began carving with his father at the age of 13, later following in his father's footsteps as chief carver in the Thunderbird carving program at the BC Provincial Museum.

Richard designed the medals for the Pan Am Games held in Victoria and participated in the design and carving of the Queens Baton for the Commonwealth Games. Richard is a generous supporter of his community through contributions of his work for worthy causes.

For his contributions to First Nations' art and to his community, Richard has been appointed a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia and has been elected to the Royal Academy of Arts.

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John Marston of Ladysmith is a Salish artist who, over the past 15 years, has become one of B.C.'s most important new First Nations artists. A carver schooled in traditional practices, John has developed his own style of carving that reflects the legends and stories of the Coast Salish people.

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His outstanding work in bent boxes shows imagination and attention to detail. John's belief in the importance of cross-cultural experiences has taken him on travels to Papua, New Guinea and Japan.

At home, John is establishing a workshop for young First Nations artists.

Noeleen McQuary lives on the shores of Fraser Lake in northern B.C. near Vanderhoof. She is a master basket maker working with birchbark and spruce roots.

Noeleen learned this ancient art form of the Interior Dakelh from her mother and grandmother who instilled in her the spiritual principles related to the harvesting and making of baskets.

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Among Noeleen's accomplishments is the building of an 18-foot birchbark canoe, now part of the McLeod Lake Band Cultural Centre, and one currently under construction funded through the Aboriginal Arts Development Awards to teach youth the traditional art form of birchbark canoe making.

Noeleen is committed to educating others, including her daughter, about her craft and its historical traditions.

Noeleen has created baskets for many galleries and private collectors.

Isabel Rorick of Hornby Island carries on a tradition handed down from her family. Her art is weaving, most notably, spruce root weaving of traditional Haida hats and basketry. Isabel first became aware of the art at the age of 13 when her grandmother from Ketchikan, Alaska brought cedar baskets to her in Haida Gwaii. Isabel began weaving seriously at the age of 19 and under the guidance of her grandmother mastered the fine and complex art of spruce root weaving, which includes the very careful and respectful harvesting of the roots themselves in the forest.

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She has dedicated her life to learning techniques almost lost in the haze of time, by reading, visiting museums and refining spruce root weaving to an art form recognized around the world.
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Title Annotation:RAVEN'S EYE; British Columbia
Publication:Windspeaker
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:923
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