Visual artist Arnold Jacobs is the recipient of the 2019 Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Award. This award, created in 2012, celebrates the work of Indigenous artists and arts leaders who have made significant contributions to the arts in Ontario.
Arnold will receive this $10,000 award on Saturday, October 12, 2019, during an afternoon reception at the Woodland Cultural Centre (184 Mohawk Street, Brantford, ON).
About Arnold Jacobs
- Arnold Jacobs is Onondaga, Turtle Clan of the Haudenosaunee, and lives on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. He is a visual artist and the owner of the Two Turtle Art Gallery in Ohsweken, Ontario.
- Arnold’s family raised him with traditional Haudenosaunee teachings and language. After high school, he moved to Toronto to pursue fine arts and design training, and graduated from Central Tech’s Arts program in 1966.
One of Arnold’s personal career highlights was creating the eagle design that was embossed on Air Canada’s Boeing 767 jet airliners from 2001 to 2008.
- In the mid-1980s, Arnold began to reflect on the lack of traditional culture, artwork or stories present at his school and within his community. As a way of addressing this gap, he decided to devote his career to honouring and transmitting his people’s beliefs, spirituality and teachings through the arts.
- This inspiration has guided Arnold throughout his career, which has spanned a variety of visual media – from painting and contemporary graphics, to clothing designs and clan jewelry. It has also influenced his special focus on educating and empowering Indigenous youth to be proud of who they are.
- Arnold’s works are featured in the collections of museums and institutions around the Great Lakes region, as well as internationally. He has been commissioned to create paintings and murals for diverse venues, including schools, health care centres, universities and commercial buildings.
Another was having his painting Deliverance of Sky Woman featured at McMaster Children’s Hospital, where its depiction of the mother goddess offers a protective spirit for the hospital’s patients
The jury members were unanimous in selecting Arnold for this award, stating:
“Long before Indigenous visual arts were getting widespread critical attention, Arnold was creating seminal works that gave us a deeper understanding of who we are. He has gained an impressive following for his bold, vivid and engaging work – while at the same time opening the door for so many others, in his own quiet and humble way. We want to thank Arnold for more than 40 years of sharing our cultural narratives and beliefs within our communities, and around the world.”
The OAC Indigenous Arts Award also honours emerging leadership: each year, the award recipient is invited to nominate a rising Indigenous artist or arts professional to receive a $2,500 prize. Arnold has selected visual artist Montana Adams as this year’s emerging laureate.
About Montana Adams
- Montana Adams is from the Aamjiwnaang Reserve near Sarnia, Ontario. He began drawing at a young age and began his formal training in the fine arts program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
- After graduating, he chose to remain in London. Here, he focused his practice on painting (acrylic, oil and watercolour) and charcoal drawing, with influences from pop art and abstract surrealism.
- Montana now sells his work at arts vendors, craft shows and pow wows throughout Southern Ontario, as well as online. He has also recently expanded his work to include tattoo design.
Close-up from Montana Adams’s painting The Last Stand.
About the award