Local Cree artist Niki Watts is among 150 accomplished Indigenous performers from across Canada to receive the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award

Local artist Niki Watts receives REVEAL Indigenous Art Award

Local Cree artist Niki Watts is among 150 accomplished Indigenous performers from across Canada to receive the award

  • May. 15, 2017 6:00 p.m.

Local Cree artist Niki Watts is among 150 accomplished Indigenous performers from across Canada to receive the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award.

“Growing up in a remote wilderness community on the central coast of British Columbia, my work references my experiences with the people, wildlife, and First Nations Cree and Nuxalk cultures,” said Watts. “My art speaks to my experiences in this remote and pristine wilderness. I use my art as a way to speak out about issues Indigenous people encounter in Canada or as a way to address stereotypes around our culture.”

Niki Watts is a Cree artist born and raised in Bella Coola. Watts’ remote upbringing and her Plains Cree heritage continues to inspire her work. Being born and raised in a rural community she developed a close connection to nature and wildlife. Niki has done wildlife rehabilitation with some of the injured or orphaned wildlife in her valley; the most memorable of her patients a Northern Saw-Whet owlet named Odette who was successfully released back into the wild.

Watts uses traditional mediums to create her illustrative works and she often uses mixed media techniques with her drawing and paintings. She is constantly experimenting with new mediums and techniques in hopes of bettering herself as an artist.

“In Bella Coola I was the little girl that everyone knew in my community who would save stray animals and rescue injured wildlife. I formed an interest in conservation and I knew I also wanted to include my passion for the conservation of wildlife into my works,” said Watts. “My drawings and mixed media works often have merging figures of animals or people. It’s important for me to include wildlife in my art since we share the land with them.”

Watts has displayed work at the prestigious National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and was in the top three in an art contest open to youth artists across Canada. Watts has graduated with a Bachelors degree at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and is excited for the challenges and opportunities that come with being a visual artist.

The Hnatyshyn Foundation launched REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards to honour Indigenous Canadian artists working in all artistic disciplines. The comprehensive program of awards and promotional activities, including 150 cash awards of $10,000 each to be awarded in 2017, will fuel the creation of new artistic works and leave a lasting cultural legacy.

The Awards are intended to recognize emerging and established Indigenous artists working in traditional or contemporary practices. The awards will be given in six artistic categories including dance, music, theatre, literature, film/video (media arts), and visual arts/fine craft.

Long-time residents of the Bella Coola Valley, Watts and her family (sister Caley and father Dan) are well-known in the community for their artistic endeavours.

“I work in a wide array of mediums and art forms ranging from drawing, painting, paper cutting, collage, sculpture, and felting,” said Watts.  “My process involves me sketching down ideas as a way of researching ways to carry out my vision. My environmentalist and activist roots are apparent in the themes and imagery I explore in my work.”

Watts receives the award alongside well-known Indigenous artists such as Susan Aglukark, Drew  Hayden-Taylor, Eden Robinson and Tanya Tagaq.  She believes that art can be a catalyst for change and can be a voice for issues that need to be heard. Watts hopes to keep creating art and expressing herself with art for many years to come.

Just Posted

Over thirteen percent of Bella Coola residents rely on Food Bank

Demand for Christmas Hampers up by 45 families this year

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Verdict to be delivered December 15 for three on trial in Anahim murders

The fates of Christian Craciun, Andrew Jongbloets, and Serena Rhem (Mack) will be decided on December 15 at 10am.

‘I fell asleep’ admits second mate in Nathan E. Stewart fuel spill

The tug spilled more than 100,000 litres of diesel off B.C.’s northern coast

Northwest’s new MRI hits milestone

Stakeholders celebrate 500th scan of diagnostic imaging device

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

Most Read