Cree neon sign artist shortlisted for national award

Photo by Nadya Kwandibens

Joi T. Arcand, an artist known for creating site-specific neon signage in Cree syllabics, has been shortlisted for the 2018 Sobey Art Award and will be featured in a group exhibition this fall at Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada.

Currently based in Ottawa, Arcand is from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in central Saskatchewan. Informed by an interest in typographic arts, her early work in photography and digital collages depicted Indigenized public spaces, rendering streetscapes with signs featuring Plains Cree language. From there, she progressed to creating actual neon signs.

The Sobey Art Award is presented to an artist aged 40 or under who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within the previous 18 months. By choosing nominees from each of five regions across Canada, the program provides an opportunity to exchange ideas about contemporary art and curatorial practices. This year’s first prize of $100,000 will be awarded in November.

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