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Indigenous Art Writing Award Winner 2023

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Indigenous Art Writing Award

We are delighted to announce Svetlana Romanova as the winner of the 2nd Indigenous Art Writing Award! On behalf of all of us at C and the Indigenous Curatorial Collective, congratulations!

Romanova's text, "cinema as the beast is the demise of contemporaneity," stood out for its exploration of how the visual language of Sakha cinema offers a generative critique of colonial time. It was a pleasure to read, and we are excited to share it with our readers in an upcoming issue of C.

We would also like to congratulate Rowan-Red Sky and Ashley Qilavaq-Savard on being named runners-up. We look forward to reading their future pitches!

Thank you to everyone who participated, and to Krista ᐅᓗᔪᒃ Zawadski and Adrienne Huard for adjudicating this year's award alongside C Magazine's Online and Reviews Editor Maandeeq Mohamed.

Svetlana Romanova (Sakha/Even) is an artist and filmmaker born in Yakutsk, the capital city of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located south of the Arctic Circle. Her practice centres on the importance of Indigenous visual language, particularly in the Arctic regions and gravitates toward critical self-historization. She received a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design (2012) and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts (2014). Her films, including Lena River (2014), Manga Bar/Rustam’s Habitat (2019), Kyusyur/Stado (2021), and Season of Dying Water (2015/2022), have been exhibited at venues around the world, including the National Art Museum of the Republic of Sakha, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Flaherty NYC, e-flux Screening Room, Tampere Film Festival, Media City Film Festival, Goethe Institute (Montréal), Artist’s House (Yakutsk), and California Institute of the Arts, among others. She is the recipient of grants, fellowships, residencies, and awards, including “The Right To Be Cold* – Circumpolar Perspectives” Residency in Nunavik and Sápmi, supported by the Goethe Institut (Montréal); a Jan van Eyck Academie Residency (2022–2023); and a Sustainability Award from Tampere Film Festival (2022), together with Ville Koskinen, Daniela Toma, and Matti Kinnunen. She is a COUSIN collective Cycle II artist (2022–2023), supporting her forthcoming project Voyage of Jeanette, a visual essay structured around the Bulunsky district, its residents, and their traditional practices.

Rowan-Red Sky (member of Oneida Nation of the Thames) graduated from the Publications program at OCAD University in 2015, and is currently working towards her PhD in the Art History program and collaborative Book History and Print Culture program at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused on the ways Indigenous multimedia and performance artists have responded to stereotypical images, while also maintaining their own cultural continuity and connections to land. In particular, her dissertation investigates Turtle Island's nineteenth-century land imaginary at the intersections of Haudenosaunee performance, image, and text. Environmental history and Indigenous methodologies guide her work, which includes performance art and archival and curatorial projects. She is also a visual artist who makes illustrations that draw from her personal experiences and the traditions of her Onʌyotaʼa:ka culture. Maps, the animacy of the land, and the performance of stories inspire her work.

Ashley Qilavaq-Savard is an Inuk poet, writer, artist, and filmmaker born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Her first book of poetry, Where The Sea Kuniks the Land (Inhabit Media) explores themes of decolonization, intergenerational trauma, language, and love for Inuit Nunangat. Ashley has published multiple stories, poems, and essays relating to her Inuit culture. Her work appears in the Nipiit Magazine, Chirp Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly, Canadian Art Magazine, and Studio Magazine. She worked with the International Sami Film Institute to develop her first short film, titled Reclaim, to be included in an Indigenous horror anthology series titled "Arctic Chills." Ashley celebrates her Inuit culture and sustainable hunting and harvesting practices as she uses sealskin and other natural materials to make wearable and contemporary art, including sewing, jewellery, and sealskin canvas pieces.