Beadwork artist Samuel Thomas is the recipient of this year's Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award. This award, created in 2012, celebrates the work of Aboriginal artists and arts leaders who have made significant contributions to the arts in Ontario.
Sam will receive this $10,000 award at Brantford’s Woodland Cultural Centre on Saturday, June 25 at 7:15 p.m. The public is invited to attend the ceremony, as well as an exhibition of Sam's new work, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. that evening.
The OAC Aboriginal Arts Award also honours emerging artists: each year, the award recipient is invited to nominate a rising Aboriginal artist to receive a $2,500 prize. Sam has selected beadwork artist and corn-husk sculptor Elizabeth Doxtater as this year’s emerging Aboriginal artist. Elizabeth’s work will also be featured in the Woodland Cultural Centre exhibition.
Treasured Memories by Sam Thomas.
(Beaded trunk, wood, leather, velvet and seed beads; lined with a handwritten manuscript by his mother on paper and shellac.)
Wiping Away the Tears by Sam Thomas.
(Moccasins, deerskin, 17th-century wampum shell beads and Swarovski crystals.)
“Working tirelessly to resurrect Iroquois beadwork techniques, Sam has elevated this art form to a new level,” noted the jury. “Along with being a respected craftsperson, he has demonstrated strong leadership both in his community, and through his international collaborations.”
“Sam shows the utmost dedication to his craft, and has raised the profile of this traditional art form throughout Canada and beyond,” said Peter Caldwell, Director & CEO, Ontario Arts Council. “At the same time, he is tremendously generous with his time, skills and knowledge. We are proud to recognize him as this year’s OAC Aboriginal Arts Award laureate.”
Peacemaker & the Queen of Peace by Elizabeth Doxtater.