Native Women in the Arts is Pleased to Announce the Shortlisted Nominees and Winner of the 7th Annual Barbara Laronde Emerging Artist Award

The Barbara Laronde Emerging Artist Award recognizes outstanding emerging Indigenous (Status and Non-Status First Nations, Métis, Inuit) artists from Northern Ontario who are women or otherwise gender marginalized (transfeminine, transmasculine, non-binary, gender non-conforming, Two Spirit). NWIA recognizes the specific barriers that many Northern artists face, and we aim to support Indigenous artists from the North by creating connections, professional development, and performance opportunities through our programming initiatives. 

Each of the five shortlisted nominees will be acknowledged with a $1,500 award and the winner will receive a prize of $5,000. The winner and their work will also be featured on our website.

The shortlisted nominees for the 7th Annual Barbara Laronde Award are:

  • Faith Turner
  • Naomi Desrochers
  • Ruby Thompson
  • Lynsey Kapera
  • Cherly Suggashie 

The Winner of the 7th Annual Barbara Laronde Emerging Artist Awards is:

Candace Twance

Candace Twance is from the Ojibway community of Netmizaaggamig (Pic Mobert First Nation), located along the northern shore of Lake Superior. She currently raises her family in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Her art practice is based on mixed-medium abstract painting, heavily informed by Anishinaabek thought, philosophy, and wisdom. Choosing materials that were traditionally valued and prized by Anishinaabek people, including beads, copper, fur, shells, and actual beadwork pieces, Candace incorporates these cultural artifacts into her work to acknowledge their historical use and to honour them. Her work has a close connection with the land, often basing composition on landforms, waterways, and landscapes.

As she describes, “it’s about physical, material, tangible things – and hard work; a lifestyle on the land. This is how my ancestors lived, and it’s about where I’m from. My work is also about transcending the physical realm, alluding to the concept of cellular memory. The spiritual teaching is that there is more to life than the physical realm. When I’m creating layers in my work, using mirrors, and creating veils of lines, I’m alluding to this idea of realms. In a way, it’s also about our bodies, as Anishnaabek people. Our bodies are holding that connection to land and place, always.

Candace has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and has most recently completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology.

Storm Dreamer Kwe, c. 2022
Acrylic Paint, Oil Stick, Canvas

Candace Twance was selected from a number of nominees from across Northern Ontario. NWIA’s Artistic Director, Ariel Smith remarked: “ On behalf of the Board and staff of NWIA, we are thrilled to present this award to Candace Twance, and to recognize her commitment to the development of her artistic practice. We are confident that Candace has a great future ahead of her and wish her, the shortlisted candidates, as well as all of the nominees the very best in their endeavors. NWIA is excited to support the continuing creative and professional achievements of Candace Twance with a $5,000 cash prize and to acknowledge each of our shortlisted nominees: Faith Turner, Naomi Desrochers, Ruby Thompson, Lynsey Kapera, and Cherly Suggashie with a $1,500 prize. A huge congratulations to all!”

Cloud Moving Away, c. 2021
Acrylic Paint, Paper, Charcoal, Oil Pastel, Canvas

About the Barbara Laronde Award

The Barbara Laronde Award was created to honour the legacy of NWIA founder Sandra Laronde and her vision and commitment to Indigenous artists. It celebrates and acknowledges the career of one outstanding, emerging, Northern-Ontario based Indigenous Gender Marginalized artist, recognizing the geographic and economic barriers that many Northern artists face. Sandra Laronde’s 19 years of leadership at NWIA paved the way for many Indigenous artists at various stages of their careers. The award is named after her mother, Barbara, who has been the backbone of her family and a leader in the Northern Ontario community, Temagami First Nation. Barbara inspired her children to be creative and entrepreneurial, and it is with this spirit that NWIA launched this award.

Prayers Up, c. 2019
Acrylic Paint, Canvas

About Native Women in the Arts (NWIA)

Established in 1993, Native Women in the Arts (NWIA) is a not-for-profit organization for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Women and other Indigenous Gender Marginalized Folks from diverse artistic disciples who share a common interest in culture, art, community, and the advancement of Indigenous Peoples. 

NWIA Presents unique artistic programming while developing, supporting, and cultivating practices in the performing arts, literary arts and publishing, visual arts, customary arts, and community development projects. NWIA’s influence has been felt in communities across Canada. We nourish and transform our communities by pursuing the highest standards of artistic excellence, and by offering development opportunities to emerging artists.

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