On the heels of a monumental 2022 for Kablusiak, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival has announced the Inuvialuk multidisciplinary artist is the recipient of the 2022 Gattuso Prize for their work in a featured exhibition in last year’s festival. As winner, Kablusiak will receive $5,000 and a solo exhibition at CONTACT Gallery in Toronto, ON, this year.
The Gattuso Prize is an annual award that celebrates the exceptional work of an early-career artist whose work appeared in the previous year’s festival. In 2022, Kablusiak’s photograph Piliutiyara (Robin Hood) (2020) was part of the group exhibition Now You See Me at Doris McCarthy Gallery in Scarborough, ON. Curated by Sandy Saad-Smith, the exhibition, which ran from May 5–June 25, brought together artists who use photography to challenge ideas around gender, cultural identity and self-representation.
Through their art, Kablusiak encompasses humour and lightheartedness with topics such as mental illness, gender and sexuality, reconciliation and perceptions of identity and Indigeneity. This unique artistic expression has led to Kablusiak being shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2019, winning a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Award in 2020, and being shortlisted for the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award in 2021.
In 2021, Kablusiak was part of the all-Inuit curatorial team for WAG-Qaumajuq’s inaugural exhibition INUA, and had a mural of their work appear on the outside of Ontario College of Art And Design University’s Onsite Gallery in a series called Up Front. They have been featured numerous times in the Inuit Art Quarterly and their work Plucked Ookpik (2021)—which was part of the Onsite Gallery mural—appeared on the cover of the Spring 2022 issue of the magazine. In the same issue, the photograph that won Kablusiak the Gattuso Prize, Piliutiyara (Robin Hood), was the opening image for Billy-Ray Belcourt’s keystone solo feature on the artist.