Indigenous youth who have a knack for art and writing and want to get their content out there are welcomed to submit their work for a prestigious national contest.
The Indigenous Arts and Stories organization is holding its annual contest, which is open to Indigenous youth between the ages of six and 29. It gives artists the chance to win up to $2,000. The submission window is currently open, which breaks the competition down into 10 categories between the writing and art groups.
The contest started in 2005. Last year, two artists from Saskatchewan took home the first and second spots in the senior art category in Jared Boechler from Saskatoon and Jasmine Sites from Lac La Ronge. This contest also gives students the opportunity to explore their personal, cultural and family heritage. Those who submit to the contest are required to include a statement and personal story behind the work.
The contest evolved into different art forms over the years, officially creating the new art category in 2011.
Andrea Hall, assistant manager of communications and programs at Historica Canada, said there a few hundred submissions each year.
“The contest has allowed them and other Indigenous youth to express their thoughts and feelings,” she said. “Art can be a way to either escape the challenges faced by Indigenous youth or also addresses some of those challenges.”
Artists can submit up to two pieces per category and background in English, French or their preferred Indigenous language.
A panel of judges will review the pieces. Authors Drew Hayden Taylor and Lee Maracle, and artist Kent Monkman are a few selected for the panel.
“We found that Indigenous youth feel like this contest is a great way to amplify their voices and share their perspectives which are not always at the forefront of the discussion in Canada,” Hall said. “This gives them an opportunity to be heard, and be seen.”
Group submissions are also welcomed for the contest, which closes on March 31. For the artwork, a two-dimensional picture is sent in, and if chosen, the art would be brought to the judges in the finals. No videos or multimedia will be accepted.
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