Artwork from approximately 20 students in Coast Mountain College’s (CMTN) Freda Diesing’s art program are on showcase at the Terrace Art Gallery this month.
For the first time, the gallery included paintings, carved pieces and jewellery from students in the school’s three-year advanced course, which was announced last July. A combination of business courses, jewellery and sculpture making lessons are taught with a mentoring approach to encourage Indigenous artists to continue pursuing a career in the arts.
The 2019 CMTN President Awards were also announced, annual bursaries given out to students who reach high-level calibres of work and artistic design. This year, CMTN president Ken Burt increased the value of the awards from $1,000 for first place to $2,500. The annual bursary for second place was increased to $1,000, up from $500 in previous years.
“Ken wanted to make an impact to help the students and reflect on the calibre of work that is being created now that there is a third year in the program,” wrote CMTN’s director of communications and public relations Sarah Zimmerman in a message to the Terrace Standard.
Nisga’a artist from the house of Gwisk’ayn Kari Morgan K’alaajex won the top prize this year for her piece depicting the Raven, known in Northwest Coast art as a mischievous and inquisitive character.
Wet’suwet’en artist Stephanie Anderson won the $1,000 runner-up bursary this year for her Frog Clan piece.
Currently enrolled in the advanced diploma program at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, Morgan says her aim was to connect the Raven’s trickster ways of gaining knowledge with a student’s steadfast pursuit of learning. The core building block shapes of the piece are the ovoids, U-shapes, and T-shapes design elements to create a visual balance, harmony and symmetry to the design.
The black acrylic paint applied to the circular birch canvas was layered with a long, thin brush, adding an almost matte finish to the piece. It took Morgan more than 50 hours to finish.
She says the annual $2,500 bursary will help her focus on finishing her courses and continue to build on her career as an artist. Her piece will now have a permanent home in CMTN’s personal collection.
Student work will be on display until Feb. 23 at the Terrace Art Gallery, with most pieces available for purchase.