Rydel Cerezo, Cheyenne Rain Legrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ Win 2023 Salt Spring National Art Prize Awards

Cerezo Rydel Darius

Rydel Cerezo, Darius, 32" x 44". Archival Pigment Print, Mahogany. Edition 1/3 + 1 AP. (Image courtesy SSNAP Society / Rydel Cerezo)

By Perrin Grauer

Posted on December 12, 2023

The artists and ECU alums were selected from among 52 finalists for the prestigious recognitions.

Artists and ECU alums Rydel Cerezo (BFA 2019) and Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ (BFA 2019) are among the award-winning finalists of the 2023 Salt Spring National Art Prize (SSNAP).

Rydel won the Pierre François Ouellette Juror’s Choice Award for his photograph titled Darius.

“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,” Rydel writes of his winning work.

“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.”

Le Grande Cheyenne Mullyanne Nmito maskotw

Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ, Mullyanne Nîmito maskotêw, 27" x 40". Photograph. Edition 1/3. (Image courtesy SSNAP Society / Cheyenne Rain LeGrande ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ)

Cheyenne won the People’s Choice Award - 2nd Prize for her work titled Mullyanne Nîmito Maskotêw.

“Nîmito in nêhiyawêwin translates to ‘she dances,’” Cheyenne writes of her winning image.

“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.”

Winners of the juried, biannual competition are selected from among 52 finalists, which this year included ECU faculty member Sara-Jeanne Bourget (MFA 2019) and ECU MFA student Laura Rosengren. According to SSNAP, the 2023/24 competition received nearly 2,200 submissions from Canadian artists.

The esteemed biannual competition awards 10 prizes totalling $50,000 to “recognize, showcase and advance the accomplishments of Canadian visual artists,” according to SSNAP.

The work of all 52 finalists were exhibited on Salt Spring Island in the fall, with winners announced at the SSNAP Closing Gala and Awards event in October.

The SSNAP is unique among art prizes for anonymizing the submissions of entrants. Names and other identifying information are redacted during the jury process. Finalists are selected solely based on images, titles and an artist statement.

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