Aboriginal Arts Challenge winners let their work speak for itself
The winners of this year’s Aboriginal Arts Challenge have a few, perhaps surprising, things in common. First, neither of them grew up in communities that prioritized the arts, and secondly, they both took a contemporary approach to their winning pieces.
Joseph Tisiga, 26, won in the 19-29 age category for his painting With Friends, his reimagining of the day his mother was taken from her family. Taylor Thom, 17, won the 14-18 age category for her pencil drawing Soar Again, a metaphor about the stagnation she sees in the aboriginal community.
Thom, who grew up in Gift Lake, Alta., spent a month working on her winning drawing and says it represents the continued burden of residential schools, but also the hope that the community can continue moving forward. It’s the first time she has won anything like this, and she said she was just expecting a “thanks for participating” certificate in the mail, not the $2,000 first prize.