September 25, 2019 — The national association of visual artists (CARFAC) is pleased to announce that Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel will receive the newly renamed Tony Urquhart Advocacy Award for her dedication and contributions to the visual arts sector in Canada. The award will be presented at our National Gathering on September 27.
Lou-ann is from the Mamalilikulla and Kwagiulth peoples of the Kwakwaka’wakw (the Kwak’wala-speaking people). Lou-ann was born in Alert Bay, BC, but has lived much of her life in Victoria, in the unceded traditional territories of the Lekwungen people. Lou-ann is a practising visual artist, working in textiles, jewelry, illustration, painting, and digital design; more recently, she has been apprenticing in wood carving with her brother, Kevin Cranmer, a ‘Namgis artist. Lou-ann has been an active volunteer in the Indigenous arts community for the past 40 years, specializing in copyright and intellectual property rights of Indigenous artists, their families, communities and nations. .
“I believe Indigenous artists and communities of practice should be recognized and supported at the same levels as other BC and Canadian artists and arts organizations, so my goal is to ensure there are Indigenous arts organizations established to provide the kinds of supports needed and to ensure our unique traditions are transferred to future generations of Indigenous artists.” — Lou-ann Neel
Lou-ann joined the Royal BC Museum in April 2018 as the repatriation specialist and has been a member of CARFAC since 2001.
“It is truly an honor to work closely with First Nations communities throughout BC to address repatriation matters; I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect Indigenous artists with the histories, songs, dances, regalia and other important objects that were historically created by their respective communities. I think this is an important part of revitalizing these practices and ensuring they are successfully passed on to the next generations of Indigenous artists. I am very thankful to have this opportunity, and I look forward to the important work that will take place over the next few years.”