Visual artist and author Christi Belcourt is the 2014 recipient of the Ontario Arts Council’s Aboriginal Arts Award.
Created in 2012, this $10,000 award celebrates the work of Aboriginal artists and arts leaders who have made significant contributions to the arts in Ontario.
Belcourt is a Métis artist based in Espanola, Ontario. She is one of the lead coordinators behind Walking With Our Sisters, community-driven memorial project that honours murdered or missing Indigenous women through an installation of 1,700 beaded moccasin tops. Walking With Our Sisters is touring to 32 locations across North America through to the year 2019.
Belcourt’s individual work explores a variety of issues, including concerns for the environment, biodiversity, spirituality and Indigenous rights. Her work commemorating residential school survivors and communities, Giniigaaniimenaaning (Looking Ahead), was rendered in stained glass and installed at Centre Block on Parliament Hill, and her work is also in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
Belcourt’s prize will be presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition “Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes” on July 30 at 6:30 p.m. The event will also include the unveiling of a new work commissioned from Belcourt by the AGO.
As part of the prize, Belcourt was also invited to select an emerging Aboriginal artist to receive a $2,500 award. Belcourt has selected visual artist and dancer Jaime Koebel as this year’s recipient.
Koebel is a Métis and Cree artist and Indigenous arts animator originally from Lac La Biche, Alberta, and now living in Ottawa. She uses the arts to facilitate learning about social, political and cultural issues from an Indigenous perspective, leveraging Métis beadwork, drawings, ink on drums, and fish scale techniques in her art practice.