Two Terrace artists are the recipients of the 2019 YVR Art Foundation (YVRAF) scholarship awards this month to create artwork that will be on display at the Vancouver International Airport for one year.
The YVRAF scholarships annually give out $5,000 to both emerging and mid-career Indigenous artists from B.C. and Yukon, with the opportunity to work with a mentor.
Stephanie Anderson, who is Wet’suwet’en of the Laksilyu clan, was selected as one of the emerging artists and travelled to Vancouver for the awards ceremony.
“They really help you with your exposure by bringing you down to Vancouver for the ceremony [where] you’re exposed to a lot of different artists, gallery owners and different people involved,” says Anderson. “In the airport, you’re among such prestigious artists…You’ve got beautiful installations there and it’s quite an honour to have a piece of your own artwork displayed at the same location.”
Anderson is currently in her third year at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art and says she has chosen her instructor Ken McNeil to be her mentor for her art piece. She has proposed to carve an image on a yellow cedar panel that represents her matriarch connection in her family through salmon.
“I’m taking inspiration from my childhood and that’s something I haven’t really done before… I haven’t really felt comfortable drawing on those intimate experiences [during] my career,” she says. “I’m really trying to accomplish honouring that history that I have with the matriarchs and my family.”
Nathan Wilson, who is Haisla living in Terrace, was selected for the mid-career artist scholarship and also attended Freda Diesing School a few years ago.
In addition to Anderson and Wilson, eight other artists were recognized with a scholarship.
Veronica Waechter, Gitxsan, was the 2018 recipient and had her final art piece revealed in this year’s ceremony.
Since 2005, the YVRAF has awarded over 145 scholarships, grants and awards totalling more than $575,000 to B.C. and Yukon Indigenous artists. From then, more than 80 recipients have had their work displayed at YVR.