6th Annual Tanabe Prize for BC PaintersSeptember 29, 2022 - April 9, 2023 Curated by Jaimie Isaac, Chief Curator
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is proud to feature a spotlight on the 6th Annual Tanabe Prize for British Columbia painters exhibition 2022. The two artists awarded are Robert Burke and Rain Cabana-Boucher. Artists are selected for the Tanabe Prize by contemporary art curators who are connected to art museums and galleries in British Columbia. Selection is based on exceptional creativity coupled with a promise of future achievements. The Tanabe Prize is an annual award given to artists whose primary medium is painting and who are residents of British Columbia. Robert Burke was chosen for the prize as a mid-career artist and Rain Cabana-Boucher was chosen for the prize as an emerging artist.
PART 2: Rain Cabana-Boucher, January 21 – April 9, 2023
This second iteration of the Tanabe Prize exhibition spotlights Rain Cabana-Boucher’s work.
Cabana-Boucher, is a Michif/British settler interdisciplinary artist raised in treaty 6 territory, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her family has historic ties to the Michif communities of St-François-Xavier, St. Boniface, and St. Louis, Saskatchewan. She currently lives and works on the stolen land of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ ílwətaʔ, and xwməθkwəy̓ əm Nations. Cabana-Boucher explores the autobiographical in relation to place and politics; seeking to navigate the complexities of identity within environments that are rapidly changing under systematic pressures. Their practice includes the use of mixed media works often using sculpture, drawing, painting, and beading. She is a recent recipient of the Takao Tanabe prize for emerging British Columbia Painters, the First Peoples Individual Artist grant, and the BCAC Early Development grant. Cabana-Boucher recently had work showing in For Love, Loss and Land at Open Space Gallery and currently an artist in residence at the WEDGE residency with the Contemporary Art Gallery of Vancouver and Ground Floor Art Centre.
Check out the AGGV Magazine to read an article by Rain Cabana-Boucher titled, Winning the Takao Tanabe Prize: One Year Later.
PART 1: Robert Burke, September 29 – December 18, 2022
In honour of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Every Child Matters and Orange Shirt Day, the first iteration of the Tanabe Prize exhibition spotlighted a series of paintings by Robert Burke, reflecting his unique experiences and perspectives as a residential school survivor. While September 30 was established in recognition of Indigenous residential school survivors, their families, and communities, we are reminded that reconciliation is not just one day of the year. We hope that this work invited staff and visitors to reflect on how the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada can continue to be acted on in our own lives.
Robert Burke was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories in 1944, to a Metis mother, his father was a Black American soldier, who he did not know. At the age of 4, Burke was sent to live at the St. Joseph Mission School. Burke worked as a logger, heavy duty mechanic and cedar contractor prior to attending the Victoria College of Art, beginning at the age of 53 and graduating in 2000. Burke has lived on Vancouver Island for over 50 years. He has exhibited at both public and commercial galleries. Of his work the selection committee said, “Robert Burke’s paintings express an energy of brilliant bold colours that defy the sombre memories and historical realities of Canada’s history which he brings to the forefront of narrative. The colours and figures are freed from naturalistic formalities, to convey the celebration of survival and resilience.”
Resources: Former residential school students can call 1-866-925-4419 for emotional crisis referral services and information on other health supports from the Government of Canada. Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to The Hope for Wellness Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for counselling and crisis intervention. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310.