Salt Spring National Art Prize Winners Announced for 2021

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The winners of the Salt Spring National Art Prize (“SSNAP”) have been announced! As one of Canada’s largest visual arts competitions, SSNAP offers both emerging and established artists the opportunity to submit works directly into a national juried art show where only their art and a short artist statement are judged. This unique and inclusive process has helped promote artists worthy of artistic merit across Canada.

Salt Spring National Art Prize Winners

Kriss Munsya Art Exhibition
Early 2021 promotion of Kriss Munsya’s art exhibition at the Pendulum Gallery

The 2021 recipient of the Salt Spring Prize – The Joan McConnell Award is Kriss Munsya of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The work titled “Dream Tonite. Highway Reflection, The Eraser, Edition 3 of 3” captivated the jury due to its beauty, complexity, depth, colour and composition. It addresses issues of how supremacy, white supremacy and patriarchy, have to be undone in all of us no matter what background we are from.

Kriss Munsya is a graphic designer, photographer and award-winning film maker. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he was raised in Brussels and is now living in Vancouver. In “Dream Tonite. Highway Reflection” Munsya speaks to the trials and tribulations of race, gender and identity, as well as his personal experiences with discrimination and trauma as a Black man.

Winning the Salt Spring Prize – The Joan McConnell Award came as a complete surprise to Munsya, “When my piece was named the winner, I thought it was someone else’s work with the same title as mine; it took me a few seconds to accept I had won.” 

Munsya adds, “I’ve been doing my art practice for a few years and I lost a lot of friends because I was approaching some topics about racism. Being someone that is discriminated against and making art makes me a kind of activist. People may not understand that being an activist is not always about being on the front lines. Sometimes, being an activist can be about buying art or producing art or making art possible, or organizing art exhibitions. So in fact, we can all be activists.”

“I’m happy to share something that speaks to people and I am looking forward to seeing how my work can go out into the world.”

Founding director, Ronald T. Crawford says the fourth biennial SSNAP has demonstrated the creative fortitude of artists across Canada even during a global pandemic.

“I’m thrilled to see such a  diversity of themes, ranging from COVID-19, to reckoning with the past and exploring personal identity both by Indigenous artists and those from immigrant communities. It’s wonderful to see the commitment of artists to experiment, to explore, and to share their stories.” Crawford adds, “We saw an unprecedented forty per cent increase with over 2,750 works submitted. This speaks to our resounding appeal amongst Canadian artists and our ability to amplify the voices of artists to expand their boundaries.”

This year’s talented jury included former SSNAP winner Judy Anderson, who is an Associate Professor in the Canadian Indigenous Studio Art Department of the University of Calgary; Senior Curator of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia David Diviney; Ydessa Hendeles, Director of the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, and Michelle Jacques Chief, Curator of the Remai Modern.

Kriss Munsya - Photo Submitted
Kriss Munsya – Photo Submitted

SSNAP 2021 Award Winners

Salt Spring Prize – The Joan Mcconnell Award & Residency For Outstanding Work
$20,000 ($15,000 + $5,000 Salt Spring artist residency) Donated by Joan McConnell
Kriss Munsya | “Dreams Tonite. Highway Reflection, The Eraser”
Vancouver, British Columbia

Jurors’ Choice Award – Judy Anderson $3,000
Contributing donors John and Nina Cassils
Virginia Morgan | “Raven Steals the Sun”
Hazelton, British Columbia

Jurors’ Choice Award – David Diviney $3,000
Contributing donors John and Nina Cassils
Klehwetua Rodney Sayers | “Hot Rod Pink”
Hupacasath First Nation – Port Alberti, British Columbia

Jurors’ Choice Award – Ydessa Hendeles $3,000
Contributing donors John and Nina Cassils
Jacqueline Huskisson | “Shock”
Calgary, Alberta

Jurors’ Choice Award – Michelle Jacques $3,000
Contributing donors John and Nina Cassils
Sherry Park | “Lunch”
Brampton, Ontario

The People’s Choice Award 1st prize – $3,000
Erin Stagg | “Métis Pride”
Prince George, British Columbia

The People’s Choice Award 2nd prize – $2,000
Charles Choi | “Seize the Moment”
Whitby, Ontario

The People’s Choice Award 3rd prize – $1,000
Michael NF Cywink | “The Return”
Ingersoll, Ontario

The Youth People’s Choice Award Youth Vote – $1,000
David Gluck | “Still Water”
Duncan, British Columbia  

Salt Spring Artist Award
For outstanding work by a Salt Spring Island artist – $2,000
Donated by John and Nina Cassils
Connie Kuhns | “Canadian Farmhouse 1”
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

The finalist-winning artworks will travel to both Victoria, and Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2022. The Salt Spring Island National Art Prize Award Winners Exhibitions will take place from January 12 to February 12at the Victoria Arts Council and from February 14 to March 11 at the Pendulum Gallery on West Georgia Street, Vancouver.

The Salt Spring National Art Prize is a biennial competition and exhibition of Canadian visual art. The intent of SSNAP is to advance public appreciation of Canadian visual art and encourage artists whose practice demonstrates originality, quality, integrity and creativity – resulting in significant work with visual impact and depth of meaning. SSNAP was established in 2015 to recognize, showcase and publicize the accomplishments of Canadian visual artists while supporting their growth and broadening their exposure across Canada.

Related: The Eraser by Kriss Munsya Art Exhibition in Downtown Vancouver, Burrard Arts Foundation Announces 2021 Artists in Residence

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