Two emerging artists from the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art at Coast Mountain College have been recognized with this year’s President’s Art Award winners. The awards were established seven years ago and recognize the exceptional talent of the students in the program.
“I am so pleased to recognize both of this year’s recipients,” says Coast Mountain College President & CEO, Justin Kohlman. “They have demonstrated that notwithstanding the pandemic’s impact on learning, that creativity persists and continues to thrive.”
This year’s first place $2,500 award goes to first-year student, Alexander Erickson (Nak'azdli and Haisla) for his acrylic painting on birch panel called The Provider, featuring his interpretation of a bumblebee.
“It truly shows what an impact it has on all our relations, plants, trees, people and the animals. In the center ovoid, is the human, one that has forgotten the importance of the bee,” says Erickson in his artist statement. “In the Abdomen, is an eye, to show our ancestors who are always watching us. Finally, the wings show, what I see, as the Pollen Spirits.”
The piece will be on permanent display at Coast Mountain College and 25 prints will be made as gifts to give. The artist also receives 10 prints of the winning design.
First-year student Lucy Trimble (Nisga’a) was awarded the $1,000 second place prize for her acrylic painting on birch panel called Ganaaẃ Ganx’oots’in. The painting speaks to youth in care and includes copper paint, and intentionally incorporates copper and abalone rounds into the design.
“When I look at myself through the lens of my clan I see a reflection of my ancestors, and the youth living today. Copper is a symbol of wealth, and abalone represents protection when placed in the eyes. It is the youth’s responsibility to protect the wealth of our culture. Our young people in care need to connect to their culture with pride to see themselves reflected in the world around them,” says Trimble. “I want the youth to know who they are so that they can shape their future and place themselves within the contemporary world.”
This year, master carver and Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art instructor, Dempsey Bob joined the selection committee.
The President’s Art Award is distributed each year in advance of the students’ annual art show at the Terrace Art Gallery.
The show opened February 5 and runs until February 27. A photo gallery of select pieces from the show, videos featuring the award winners and more information about the winning artists can be found at:
Purchase inquiries should be directed to the Terrace Art Gallery at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Zimmerman, APR
Executive Director, Communications