Susan Point will receive the coveted Audain Prize next Thursday (May 24) at the Four Seasons Hotel.
The lifetime achievement award, supported by the Audain Foundation and handed out by the Vancouver Art Gallery, grants $30,000 annually to a senior B.C. artist selected by an independent jury.
Point, who's from the Musqueam First Nation, draws inspiration from traditional Coast Salish designs, often using nontraditional materials. She's perhaps best-known for her monumental public art commissions, including a 17-foot-high Coast Salish house pole and enormous carved cedar spindle whorl at Vancouver International Airport; her three imposing Coast Salish gateways at Brockton Point in Stanley Park; and her 90-foot-long copper wall of human figures at the Vancouver Convention Centre. But she's also been prolific creating prints and was the subject of a major 2017 retrospective at the VAG called Susan Point: Spindle Whorl. Two of her contemporary cedar carvings—Up Stream Quest (2016) and Birth of a Star (2016)—are part of the VAG's collection. Georgia Straight theatre critic Robin Laurence wrote in 2008, "“It’s hard to imagine what contemporary Coast Salish art would look like without Susan Point.”
At the same ceremony, Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed will share one of two 2018 VIVA Awards, with the second going to Charlene Vickers. The VIVAs are granted annually by the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts, providing a minimum of $12,000 annually to mid-career artists.
Jickling and Reed have collaborated on public installations, social situations, and events that circulate as photographs, videos, printed matter, and artists’ multiples. They are the 2017 recipients of the Mayor’s Arts Award emerging-artist recipients for public art in Vancouver and have led such innovative, multifaceted projects as Big Rock Candy Mountain with the students, staff, and teachers at Queen Alexandra Elementary School that they've called a "flavor incubator and taste-making think-tank".
Kenora-born Vickers, meanwhile, is Anishinaabe from Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation, exploring her Ojibwa identity through painting, sculpture, performance, and video. Recent paintings have drawn inspiration from traditional porcupine quillwork techniques. She has work in the permanent collection of the UBC Museum of Anthropology. Since 2007, Vickers and multimedia artist Neil Eustache had been developing their “benching” project, creating a social gathering spot on a bench at the corner of Main Street and 13th Avenue.
The ceremony next week is open to the public; it starts at 7 p.m.