TORONTO, ONTARIO –Aboriginal leaders, youth, authors, artists, and members from local communities gathered at the Art Gallery of Ontario on June 9 to honour the winners of Historica Canada’s annual Aboriginal Arts & Stories contest.
Winners were selected from more than 500 submissions from across Canada. First place in the junior and senior writing categories went to Sunshine O’Donovan (14) of Merritt, British Columbia for her story, Hell’s Gate, and Shaelyn Johnston (28) of Burnaby, British Columbia, for her piece Anishinaabemowin. First place in the junior and senior arts categories went to Mary McPherson (18) of Thunder Bay, Ontario for her piece, Cross Assimilation and Isaac Narciso Weber (27) of Toronto, Ontario for his painting, Spiritual Warrior . The first place junior and senior category winners will also be honoured at the Governor General’s History Awards taking place in Ottawa in October. In the youngest age category, the Emerging Writer recipient was Cecil Montour (13) of Ohsweken, Ontario, and the Emerging Artist recipient was Xavier York (13) of Thompson, Manitoba.
Hosted by John Kim Bell – composer and community leader – the reception was attended by esteemed writers and artists from the Aboriginal Arts & Stories jury, including Drew Harden Taylor, Lee Maracle, Brian Maracle and Maxine Noel. The event also featured an exhibition of winning work and a special performance by Juno Award-winning duo, Digging Roots.
“As Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians seek to transform their relationship, the submissions from young Aboriginal artists and storytellers provide a unique insight into the perceptions, past and present realities of their peoples,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada. “They give new appreciation and understanding of the heritage and culture of their ancestors and communities.”
Aboriginal Arts & Stories invites First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists (ages 11-29) to interpret an aspect of their culture and heritage through literary and visual arts for a chance to earn prizes and national recognition. A jury of accomplished Aboriginal authors, artists, and community leaders select the winning submissions.
Presented by Enbridge Inc., supporting sponsors include Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, TD Bank, Canada’s History, and Aboriginal Link.
Historica Canada is the country’s largest organization dedicated to enhancing awareness of Canada’s history and citizenship.