Ten Alberta-based artists and performers have been awarded 2020 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta 2020 Emerging Artist Awards—among them Kablusiak. Established in 2003, the annual award celebrates and promotes artistic excellence in the province across theatre, music, technology, literature and visual arts. The artists were selected from a pool of 160, and will each receive a $10,000 cash prize. Kablusiak, who won in the visual art category, is joined by Griffin Cork (theatre), Carlos Foggin (music), Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal (visual art), Amy LeBlanc (literary), Bruce Cinnamon (literary), Evan Pearce (music, visual art), Lauren Crazybull (visual arts), Luc Tellier (theatre) and Molly Wreakes (music).
“What Kablusiak has accomplished in their very young career is nothing short of astounding;” explained the jury in a statement released Friday, June 5. The jurors for this year's award were Denise Clarke, Adam Fox, Alice Major and Lindsey Sharman. The adjudication process was overseen by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. “[We are] enthusiastic about celebrating this remarkable artist and are excited to support their practice that spans media and defies categorization.”
Kablusiak is an Inuvialuk artist and curator with a BFA from Alberta College of Art and Design. Kablusiak uses art and humour to address diaspora and mental illness, inviting reconsiderations of the perceptions of contemporary indigeneity and countering the stigma surrounding mental health. They were shortlisted for the Sobey art Award in 2019, and in January 2020 were awarded the Fogo Island Arts-Sobey Art Award Residency. Kablusiak is also a co-curator of the inaugural exhibition of the Inuit Art Centre, set to open later this year.