Dana Claxton acquired this 12 months’s Audain Prize, considered one of Canada’s most coveted arts awards, throughout a ceremony on Monday (25 September). The C$100,000 ($74,000) money prize honouring distinguished British Columbia-based artists was introduced at a luncheon on the Fairmont Resort Vancouver.
When Reid Shier, govt director of the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver, awarded the prize on behalf of the jury, he praised Claxton’s “multifaceted” follow—describing it as “as a lot [Jack] Kerouac as [Eugène] Atget”—and spoke of her “landmark” works as a First Nations girl—a bunch who’re “systematically denied a spot within the artwork world.”
Claxton, a Vancouver-based artist whose work spans movie, images, video and multi-channel set up, is a member of the Wooden Mountain Lakota First Nations situated in Southwest Saskatchewan. Her follow investigates Indigenous magnificence, the physique, the socio-political and the non secular and has been extensively exhibited throughout Canada and internationally. She can be a professor on the College of British Columbia (UBC) and head of its division of artwork historical past, visible artwork and concept.
In an announcement, Claxton famous the Audain Prize’s historical past of acknowledging First Nations artists, saying, “It’s a nice honour to be included with this group, which incorporates esteemed BC artists like Susan Level, Jim Hart and Robert Davidson, all who’ve received the Audain Prize.” In a video performed on the occasion, she spoke of the continuing “criminalisation of Native tradition”, saying that her work was finally about “not dehumanising individuals”.
A previous recipient of the Governor Basic’s Award in Visible and Media Arts in 2020, she had a solo survey exhibition, Fringing the Dice, on the Vancouver Artwork Gallery in 2018 and her collection Headdress (2018-19) had its debut on the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Artwork in 2019.
“Moreover having an impressive worldwide fame, Ms. Claxton has had a substantial affect on youthful artists and her UBC artwork college students,” says Michael Audain, the chairman of the Audain Basis, who based the award in 2004.
Claxton is understood for her video work like 1997’s Buffalo Bone China, evoking the animals’ slaughter for a European luxurious merchandise by way of mesmeric pixelated loops of phantom buffalo operating via the plains, a white hunter taking pictures them and a local man alternately crying in ache and caressing superb bone china. Efficiency artwork can be a pillar of her work, like 2011’s The Elsewhere—an try to “Indianise area” via the usage of gesture, music, and pure and man-made objects—which contains components of Lakota ceremony. Her photographic work, like 2008’s Mustang Suite, employs ironic humour to defy stereotyped imagery of First Nations. As Shier put it, her work performs a “essential reversal” of “who may be whom”.
In an interview with The Artwork Newspaper, Claxton cites a wide range of influences together with the multi-disciplinary artist Paul Wong and her expertise within the early Nineteen Nineties at Vancouver’s Video Inn media arts centre, to the Vancouver College and photo-conceptualists like Jeff Wall, First Nations filmmaker Loretta Todd, in addition to her circle of relatives and Lakota traditions.
Vancouver’s simultaneous cultures of “artist-run centres and artist-as-curator” she says, in addition to its “giant indigenous contingency of cultural producers and picture makers”, have been formative influences. “It feels fantastic to win this award,” she provides. “It’s an honour, a privilege and an actual blessing.”
Previous winners of the Audain Prize have included the photo-conceptualist Ian Wallace, in 2022; and sculptor James Hart, the hereditary chief of the Eagle Clan of the Haida Nation, in 2021.