The Salt Spring National Art Prize Society is proud to announce the winners of the SSNAP 2023/24 awards.

Salt Spring Prize The Joan McConnell Award

$20,000 – Donated by Joan McConnell
The winner of this year’s top award is Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman of Ottawa, ON! Her winning work is titled “Sambuza After School” and she will receive the $20,000 award.
“Exploring the concept of being chased away by home, as defined by Warsan Shire in her poem titled “Home,” the artist demonstrates the dangers of residing in a country where diasporic communities face discrimination, consequently producing the second chase that initiates a longing to return to the homeland‚ and eliciting a need to connect to community, family, and country. The artist illustrates her reconnection to home: family archives are used to demonstrate the visual storytelling of her Somali and Indian communities. This painting depicts the artist’s early childhood memories at Sambuza Village on Alta Vista in Ottawa.”        @thesmecca

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Salt Spring National Art Prize Residency

$6,000 – Donated by The Wettstein Family
Lynn Kodeih, Montréal, QC
Lynn Kodeih is an artist and researcher born in Beirut (Lebanon) and based in Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyang / Montréal since 2020. Her practice focuses on the interweaving of art and politics, and is at the crossroads of textuality, auto-theory, video, and installation. She addresses notions of image and power, territory, borders, wandering, and belonging from a decolonial perspective. Her work has been presented in Canada and internationally, at La Galerie de l’UQAM (Montréal), SAW Gallery (Ottawa), Kunstbanken Performance Festival (Norway), International Film Festival, Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Berlin Transart Triennial (Germany), Homeworks—Ashkal Alwan, Beirut Art Center and Beirut Art Fair (Lebanon), among other places.     @lynnkodeih

Juror’s Choice Awards – Richard Hunt

Martin Blanchet, St-Emile-de-Suffolk, QC
“La tête dans les nuages”
“The title of this painting is “La tête dans les nuages,” (“Head in the clouds”), which for me does not sound the same in English. I chose that title to underline both negative and positive visions of that subject. Negative because to continue to stick our heads in the sand over this issue is wrong, or even to think that we can go on much longer is puerile. Positive because, in an artistic eye, beauty can be found and revealed out of darkness.”

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Juror’s Choice Awards – Pierre-François Ouellette

Rydel Cerezo, Surrey, BC
“Belonging to an ongoing documentary photographic series exploring the capacities and limitations of the photographic archive in relation to community representation, the work “Darius” makes reference to French New Wave cinema as a means to create new narratives surrounding the Filipinx experience. Alluding to a scene in Eric Rohmer’s film “Claire’s Knee,” Darius, an actor of Filipino and Jamaican descent, is employed to portray a character’s moment of confusion and heartbreak. Similar to ideas of queer and Filipinx representation, Darius’ gaze resists singular interpretation—it paradoxically negates and is an invitation, a warning, a challenge, and a question.”   @rydelc

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Juror’s Choice Awards – Helga Pakasaar

Daniel Labutes, Medicine Hat, AB
“Crusty but Compelling”
“I am a maker of unconventional ceramics. I call my work “nearly functional,” a hybrid of pottery designed for everyday use and sculpture that disrupts many of the traditional expectations of functionality. I build up texture and surface drama through exuberant application of slip and a variety of glazes to create compelling surfaces that entice touch, but also repel and engage, yet are grotesque. The pots are made on the wheel in sections but are off center. They lean, they have movement and life; each side tells a different story.”    @dlabutes

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Juror’s Choice Awards – Gaëtane Verna

Bruce van Slyke, Burnaby, BC
“Now I Am Alone #20”
“To live out one’s private life in public could be either a profound degradation or, equally, among the highest affirmations of status. This paradox hangs a porous curtain between public and private, and it shimmers like a night at the theatre or a dime in the gutter. The rise of theatre in early modern England is synchronous with the flowering of personal aspiration and private enterprise. Theatricality is a cipher of private ambition in an increasingly alienated, capitalist world. “Now I am alone” declares Hamlet before thousands each night, but he is no more alone than we, together in the darkness.”

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People’s Choice Awards – 1st Prize

$3,500 – Donated by the Wilding Foundation
Maureen O’Connor, Toronto, ON
“The Meadow Version 3”
“By photographing Canadian animals in abandoned and crumbling domestic architecture, Maureen O’Connor raises questions about how nature and the built environment intersect. She sees these spaces as transformative, evoking memory and showing the beauty and fragility of the animals and the architecture. While the juxtaposition may appear odd, the images convey a sense of calm and quiet tension. We are invited to cross the threshold and imagine new narratives where the natural world and the domestic world meet, and to consider how this informs our identity in a country defined by both its wild landscape and its diverse cities.”     @maureenfaithoconnor

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People’s Choice Awards – 2nd Prize

$2,500 – Donated by Nina and John Cassils
Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ, Edmonton, AB
“Mullyanne Nîmito maskotêw”
“Nîmito in nêhiyawêwin translates to “she dances.” This performance/photograph includes two objects: a hybrid moccasin platform shoe and a bepsi/beer tab shawl. Mullyanne Nîmito explores my Nehiyaw femme identity, exploring ideas around Nehiyaw alien, protection, movement as healing, ancestral knowledge, traditional practice, and Nehiyawewin and Nehiyaw fashion. The bepsi tab shawl is a sculptural garment made of 3300 beer/pop can tabs that my community and I have been collecting for the past 5 years. I weaved the tabs and pastel ribbon together to create a long shawl with fringe similar to a fancy shawl.”

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People’s Choice Awards – 3rd Prize

$1,000 – Donated by the Wilding Foundation
Katy Biele, Victoria, BC
“El Manto”
“’El Manto’ (“The Quilt” in English) is a series of temporary outdoor installations of a large (80″x 38″) embroidery piece made from recycled macrame cords and yarns. Much like a mythical being, “El Manto” has appeared momentarily in various regions of British Columbia’s wilderness over the past few years. Like a quilt, “El Manto” represents hope and warmth when there is despair. More than a textile creation, it embodies the spirit of interconnectedness. As it unfurls across the landscape, it invites viewers to pause, reflect, and contemplate the delicate balance between human existence and the natural world.”     @katybiele

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People’s Choice Awards – Youth Vote

$1,000 – Donated by the Wilding Foundation
David Shepherd, Hamilton, ON
“Whiffshot and Grace”
“I like to promote the idea of people being united. Over time we improve our standards of living and our understanding of the world around us. These improvements happen through cooperation among ourselves and with nature. We can gain empathy with the world and people around us the more we understand and work together. The eye is like a fingerprint, it uniquely identifies us, and yet, it’s unclear who the model is, where they come from, what religion they follow, sometimes even what sex they are. Cooperation and admiration for each other do not need to come from an idea.”     @davidshepherdart

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