Members of the Indigenous Peoples Artist Collective (IPAC) are getting recognition on a provincial level.
Both artistic director Michel Boutin and member Catherine Blackburn, from Leask, are nominated for individual Saskatchewan Arts Board Awards.
Blackburn is up for RBC Emerging Artist, while Boutin is nominated for Individual Leadership.
“It feels good,” Boutin said.
“It’s good to be recognized after so many years working in a specific field. It’s humbling.”
According to Boutin, both Blackburn and himself were nominated by the Mann Art Gallery.
Boutin’s nod comes from, in part, his work with IPAC, but it also is recognition of his 25 years in art, mentoring younger artists.
Seeing Indigenous artists nominated for the awards shows Boutin that Indigenous work is moving into the mainstream.
“It’s nice to see so many Indigenous artists on the list this year. It’s important they’re recognized alongside all the other artists,” he said.
“In the past there has been segregation and ghettoization of Indigenous artists, so it’s good to see that we’re mainstream.”
To have two IPAC members on the list is also reflective of how the organization has grown. The awards are individual, but the nominations show the strength of the group.
“It signals we have a good crew, that we must be doing something right,” Boutin said, also referencing recent accomplishments by members John MacDonald and Tim Moore.
‘From where we started ten years ago to where we are, we’ve come a long way. It’s good to now the ten years we’ve spent working hard were worthwhile.”
The award winners will be announced at the awards event on October 26 at the new Remai Modern Art Gallery in Saskatoon. It will be the first external event held at the gallery. Tickets are $80 each, $30 for self-declared artists. They can be purchased online at picatic.com/2017SaskArtsAwards.