Nevada Lynn Wins Modern Métis Woman Award, Lieutenant Governor Award

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Artist Nevada Lynn at Emily Carr University in 2024 with a drum later completed by fellow artist and ECU student Georgina "G" McBride for inclusion in the Frybread as Fok exhibition. (Photo by Perrin Grauer)

By Perrin Grauer

Posted on June 04, 2024 | Updated June 12, 2024, 3:23pm

The artist and recent ECU grad aims to use the recognition to continue supporting community through collaborative arts engagement.

Interdisciplinary artist Nevada Lynn (BFA 2024) is the recipient of a Modern Métis Woman Scholarship and a Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Award for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation.

Nevada, who also received honourable mentions for the Emily Carr Alumni Association Graduation Award for Community Engagement and the Mary Plumb Blade Award for her project Kohkum & Keffiyeh, says she was shocked by the news.

“I felt honoured and just profoundly grateful,” she says. “The recognition reinforced my conviction that I want to use my creative practice to lift other people up. I hope to use this opportunity as a platform to do more, to pass it forward and really do right by these awards.

Nevada, whose family is from northern Alberta, is a citizen of the Métis Nation of British Columbia (MNBC) and a maternal descendant of the historic Métis Tourond family. But like many Indigenous people, Nevada had to work to recover this identity, which her family lost to colonial displacement.

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Portraits of Métis changemakers by Nevada Lynn include award-winning filmmaker and author Amanda Spotted Fawn Strong (top) and singer, songwriter, artist, educator and activist Moe Clark (bottom). (Images courtesy Nevada Lynn)

Some of the most meaningful progress she made on this journey began with service, Nevada says. She began by volunteering as a digital artist with the MNBC.

“I decided I would focus on serving my Nation, which I hoped would help me learn more about Métis culture, history and who our people are today,” she says. “That put me on a great path.”

Nevada created artwork for various projects, including MNBC’s Resilient Roots magazine, the LaVway Health Plan and National Indigenous Peoples’ Day announcements. With support from Brittney Bertrand, MNBC’s provincial youth manager, Nevada received a $30,000 Nakaatchihtow Arts and Culture Grant to create portraits of 25 members of the Métis Nation.

The portraits were exhibited and published in a volume titled Métis Now: Elders, Artists and Activists, which led to episode artworks for MNBC’s Métis Speaker Series podcast. Nevada was then commissioned to create a collection of portraits of Métis residential school survivors, which was “a lifetime honour,” she says.

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Nevada’s book Métis Now: Elders, Artists, and Activists (2022, Hemlock Press) is a collection of digital illustrations investigating portraiture as a form of activism to shine a light on inspiring members of the Métis community. (Image courtesy Nevada Lynn)

Nevada soon connected with researcher and geographer Sharda Rozena, who was completing her PhD on gentrification in the UK. Nevada flew to London to meet Sharda’s research participants and created a series of portraits detailing people impacted by housing displacement and 2017’s horrific Grenfell Tower fire. The project, which became The Real Face of the Royal Borough, aimed to create engagement around Sharda’s research.

“To meet with people who are navigating housing displacement abroad, talk to them about their experience and learn from Sharda and her research was eye-opening,” Nevada says. “To get the chance to be proactive as an activist around the housing crisis, which we have in this city right now, made me realize how powerful art can be.”

Nevada notes her apprenticeship under Squamish and Kwakwaka’wakw artist Xwalacktun (1982 alum) was also deeply instructive. Both in his personal and professional interactions, he conducts himself with endless “generosity, humour, patience and willingness to teach,” she says. “He’s an extraordinary example of community service in action.”

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For the Métis Speaker Series podcast, Nevada has created portraits of Métis figures including artist Sheena Gering (top) and poet Justene Dion-Glowa (bottom). (Images courtesy Nevada Lynn)

Now preparing to begin her Master of Fine Arts studies at the University of British Columbia in the fall, Nevada says her aim is to continue collaborating to advance equity and support healthy communities.

“As an artist, my vision is to lift others up and collaborate with people who are doing good work in the world,” she says. “Aligning yourself with community is powerful. The best thing you can do is serve others, and in being of service, somehow you are always cared for.”

Visit Nevada’s website and follow her on Instagram to learn more about her work.

Visit ECU online to learn more about studying Visual Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

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