Premier Kathleen Wynne celebrated the winners of the 10th annual Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts at an event at the Art Gallery of Ontario on October 5.
Christi Belcourt, a visual artist from Espanola, Ontario, won the Individual Artist Award. The majority of her work explores the beauty of the natural world. Her large-scale paintings are inspired by the traditional beadwork patterns of Métis and First Nation women.
Belcourt’s paintings are found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Indian and Inuit Art Collection, Parliament Hill and Canadian Museum of Civilization, First People’s Hall, among other prestigious institututions.
Administered by the Ontario Arts Council, the Premier’s Awards are open to artists and arts organizations engaged in professional practice in the province.
The winning artist receives a $35,000 prize and selects an emerging artist who receives a $15,000 prize. The winning arts organization is awarded $50,000.
Christian Chapman, an Anishinaabe visual artist and filmmaker from Fort William First Nation, was honoured as Emerging Artist of the Year.
A Different Booklist, an independent bookstore and literary cultural destination in Toronto, won the Arts Organization Award.
After receiving the award, Belcourt stated she would be donating the prize money to Onaman Collective, an “Indigenous grassroots land-based art initiative sharing traditional knowledge and language with youth.” Belcourt co-founded the collective in 2014 with Isaac Murdoch and Erin Konsmo.
Belcourt’s father, Tony Belcourt, is the founding president of the Métis Nation of Ontario and was appointed to OCAD U’s Board of Governors in 2012.