Friday, July 01, 2011

Shirley Bear, Order of Canada

Announced today, Shirley Bear is one of 50 new recipients of the Order of Canada. Her educational, artistic, and activist work has been instrumental in progressive arts circles in the country, so this is well-deserved and a long time coming.

Here's the cbc story on her award. And more info republished below.

Shirley Bear is an artist, writer and First Nation elder. Born on the Tobique First Nation, she has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada, the United States and in Europe.

She has curated numerous exhibitions related to First Nations issues and was the recipient of the Excellence in the Arts Award from the New Brunswick Arts Board in 2002.

While living in British Columbia for 10 years, she served as cultural advisor to the British Columbia Institute of Technology, First Nations education advisor at Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design and resident elder for First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia.

Bio: Shirley Bear is a multimedia artist, writer, traditional First Nation herbalist and Elder. Born on the Tobique First Nation, she is an original member of the Wabnaki language group of New Brunswick. As an artist, poet, and activist, she has played a crucial role in First Nation women’s creative and cultural communities. In 1989, she curated Changers: A Spiritual Renaissance, a national show of work by Aboriginal women artists, which toured all major galleries across Canada. The 2002 recipient of the New Brunswick Arts Board’s Excellence in the Arts Award, Bear studied art in New Brunswick, New Hampshire, Boston, and Vancouver. She has worked extensively as a lecturer, performer, activist and curator including serving as Cultural Advisor to the British Columbia Institute of Technology, First Nations Education Advisor at Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, and Resident Elder for First Nations House of Learning at UBC. Bear has exhibited internationally and her work has been purchased by collections across Canada including the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the National Arts Centre, the New Brunswick Art Bank and First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia. Bear’s writing has been included in several anthologies including Kelusultiek published by Mount St. Vincent University and The Colour of Resistance from Sister Vision Press, as well as the catalogues for the exhibits Kospenay and Changers—A Spiritual Renaissance. She has been profiled for film and television, by CBC, the National Film Board and independent producers in such films as Minqwon Minqwon and Kwa’Nu’Te by Cathy Martin, Keepers of the Fire by Christine Welsh and The Sacred Feminine. She has published a book of poetry, Virgin Bones (McGilligan Books, 2006).

The Order of Canada, one of the country's highest civilian honours, was established in Canada's centennial year of 1967 to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation.

In the last 40 years, more than 5,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the order.


allison said...

Please accept my congratulations, Shirley Bear. I have heard you read from your work, and have had a brief but memorable conversation with you afterwards. I am so happy the powers that be have seen fit to honour you in this way, most deservedly. Thank you for the work you do, for all of us. Take care, allison calvern, Fredericton.

Joan Hall Hovey said...

Many congratulations to Shirley Bear on receiving The Order of Canada. So well deserved.