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News / October 1, 2013

Two Canadians Win $25,000 Native Art Fellowships in US

Vancouver-based Coast Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Ottawa-based Plains Cree/Blackfoot artist Meryl McMaster are being honoured with fellowships at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis.

Eiteljorg fellows receive a $25,000 unrestricted grant, are featured in a catalog and exhibition, and the museum purchases works of art for the permanent contemporary collection. Since its inception in 1999, the fellowship has recognized 40 contemporary native artists, totalling nearly $1,125,000 in cash awards and permanent-collection purchases.

Yuxweluptun is known for paintings, sculptures and drawings that have often confronted head-on the injustices wrought upon First Nations people in Canada. His sculpture Residential School Dirty Laundry (2013)—a large cross covered with boys’ underwear, some of it dotted in red—was recently on view at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s Concourse Gallery as part of “NET-ETH: Going Out of the Darkness,” an exhibition about the legacy of Canada’s residential schools. His art was also included in “Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art” at the National Gallery of Canada this summer.

McMaster, an emerging artist, has distinguished herself with photographic work in which she often performs for the camera. In her series Ancestral, for instance, she posed with late-19th-century portraits of aboriginal men and women projected onto her face. Her work is currently on view at Prefix in Toronto as part of “Trade Marks,” an exhibition that also features art by emerging indigenous artists Keesic Douglas, Nigit’stil Norbert and Bear Witness. Last year, she was one of the inaugural winners of the Charles Pachter Prize.

Of the three American artists rounding out this year’s fellows, one also has a Canadian connection. Tlingit/Aleut artist Nicholas Galanin, originally from Alaska, recently wound up a stint as the University of Victoria’s inaugural Audain Professor in Contemporary Arts of the Pacific Northwest. Having been featured in “Sakahàn” and “Beat Nation: Hip-Hop as Indigenous Culture,” his work is on exhibit at UVic’s Audain Gallery from October 1 to 4.

A fellowship exhibition—also including Julie Buffalohead and Shan Goshorn—will open at the Eiteljorg on November 8 with a performance by Polaris-nominated Canadian hip hop group A Tribe Called Red.

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is a writer and editor based in Toronto. Her arts journalism has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail, among other publications, and her creative work has been published in Prism, Room and Freefall. She can be reached via