Nine Artists Shortlisted for the 221A Fellowship

May 9, 2024

After thoughtful deliberation, nine artists across a range of disciplines have been shortlisted for the 221 Fellowship and will be part of a joint exhibition in May. They are: 

  • Anne Riley
  • Christian Vistan
  • Damla Tamer
  • Jordan Hill
  • Katayoon Yousefbigloo
  • Lauren Crazybull
  • Manuel Axel Strain
  • Odera Igbokwe
  • Soloman Chiniquay

These artists were shortlisted from 90 nominations by a 100% BIPOC selection committee composed of 221A Board Members, former Fellows, Host Nations representation and other dominant cultural actors. 

“Collectively, these artists’ work is a throughline on nurturing relationships and learning – amongst cultures and across generations,” says Kwiigay iiwaans, Head of Programs at 221A. 

“Their work lives in conversation with each other, bringing together social history and equity in expressive, meaningful, and truly beautiful ways.” 

The finalists for the 221A Fellowship will be announced at the opening reception of the exhibition which will award three of the shortlisted artists a (non-residential) studio placement and a $72,000 stipend over an 18 month period. Past Fellows include Syrus Marcus WareZasha Colah, and Christina Battle.

Please join us in congratulating the shortlisted artists!

Anne Riley is a Indigiqueer multidisciplinary artist living as a Slavey Dene/German guest on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̍əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Sel̓íl̓witulh Nations. She is a member of Fort Nelson First Nation. Her work explores different ways of being and becoming, touch and Indigeneity. Riley received her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and has exhibited across the United States and Canada. From 2018-2020 she worked on a public art project commissioned by the City of Vancouver with her collaborator, T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss. Riley and Wyss’s project, A Constellation of Remediation, consisted of Indigenous remediation gardens planted throughout the city. Riley and Wyss were long-listed for the 2021 Sobey Art Award. Since this project, Riley participated in the Drift: Art and Dark Matter residency and exhibition, creating works that consider the possibilities of making and being beyond the confines of western institutions and extractive processes.

Christian Vistan is an artist from the peninsular province Bataan, Philippines, living on xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territories colonially known as Vancouver, British Columbia. In their artworks, they translate experiences of distance and diaspora into hybrid forms that fold together elements of memory, place, poetry, and abstraction. They are particularly interested in thinking about and working with water as a material in their painting and in personal, familial, and migrant histories. They make paintings and texts, organize exhibitions and publications, and often collaborate with other artists, writers, curators, and their relatives. Recent projects include a series of projected backdrops produced through a residency with The Capilano Review for their monthly reading series ‘Dear Friends &’ witg Western Front in 2023; ‘Rice Cooker’ (2023), a site specific performance and collaboration with Kiyoshi Whitley at Boombox, Vancouver; and ‘dreams comma delta’ (2020-23), a room and DIY gallery space for artist projects and exhibitions that was located inside their family home in Ladner, BC that they ran and co-curated with Aubin Soonhwan Kwon.

Damla Tamer (born 1986 in Istanbul, Turkey) is a visual artist and educator living on the unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories (Vancouver). Damla Tamer has done social-collaborative work as part of various artist collectives, the most notable one being A.M. (Art Mamas) which emerged as a response to denigration of care work. She has founded a committee in the False Creek South neighbourhood of Vancouver, bringing together various housing co-operatives to address issues of diversity and belonging and increase accessibility to housing through social and artistic actions. Her work has been the focus of solo exhibitions at Access Gallery (Vancouver, 2024), Gibsons Public Art Gallery (Gibsons, 2022), Darling Foundry (Montreal, 2013) and the Fifty Fifty Arts Collective (Victoria, 2018), included in The Artist’s Studio is Her Bedroom at the Contemporary Art Gallery curated by Kimberly Phillips (Vancouver, 2020), and featured on the cover of Capilano Review (3.42: Translingual). She has received many grants and international fellowships, including a 3-month residency at the Stundars Museum in Finland. She teaches as a lecturer at The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

Jordan Hill is an Indigenous new media artist from T’Sou-ke Nation whose work transcends disciplinary boundaries. Influenced by urban and natural landscapes, architecture, and his own Indigenous heritage, he often alludes to a growing problem within contemporary culture where the line between fact and fiction becomes blurred. How do we navigate a manipulated world where truth is incredibly difficult to locate? He works with video installations, 3D modelling, and photography to develop an illusionary style. By developing interactive and immersive works, he facilitates moments where one feels okay to slow down, to engage in contemplation and respite in a world that otherwise discourages it. Jordan’s work aims to intervene normalized social and spatial assumptions we make upon being introduced to spaces, and in what ways we allow the artificial to undermine our own intuition.

Katayoon Yousefbigloo is an Iranian-born interdisciplinary artist and community organizer. She works across mediums such as video, music, photography, installation, and paperwork, but her work is most often activated through performance. She investigates potential sites of aesthetic, spiritual, and collective transformation found both materially in undefined or forgotten physical spaces, as well as those embedded within the mass media landscape. Katayoon is a founding member of Liquidation World, an amorphous art collective hosting exhibitions, performances, workshops, fashion shows, and other undefinable events. In both her art and community practices, she reaches for the incalculable and unexpected phenomena that can emerge through the process of reimagining spaces, ideas, and media unfit for contemporary capitalist production. She received a Master of Fine Arts at the School of Contemporary Art at SFU in 2022, despite not holding a Bachelor Degree in any discipline. She was recently runner-up in the 2022 Lind Prize Award hosted by the Polygon Gallery. Previously, she was a founding member of Red Gate Arts Society, and has ran multiple independent art spaces in Vancouver.

Lauren Crazybull is a Niitsitapi, Dene (Member of Kainai Nation) visual artist currently living on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm, Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ Nations. Figurative oil painting and portraiture has been the center of Crazybull’s practice, and she has also worked collaboratively with audio, drawing from her experience in community radio hosting and production. From these community-centered experiences, practices of offering, trust and relational connection are carefully considered with those she works with and amongst. Crazybull considers her practice one of untelling and unresolving; where contemporary Indigenous presence trespasses onto definitive and measured representations. Her work combines the real with the fictional, folding in disparate temporalities to create worlds where people live beyond their imposed limits. Through her practice, she questions how artmaking can be a practice of freedom that expands outside of both the gallery and the studio. In 2020, Crazybull received the Eldon & Anne Foote Edmonton Visual Arts Prize, and in 2019, she was selected as Alberta’s first Artist in Residence. Crazybull’s solo exhibitions include work at The Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Latitude 53, McMullen Gallery and Liquidation World. Recent group exhibitions include The Art Gallery of Alberta, Simon Fraser University, and Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre. Crazybull received her Masters of Fine Art in Interdisciplinary Arts at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts in 2023.

Odera Igbokwe (they/them) is a painter located on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. Odera was born (1990, New Jersey, USA) of Igbo parents who immigrated to the lands of the Lenape people. As a result they are constantly excavating, responding, and envisioning in spite of the fractures that occur via diaspora. Their artwork is an exploration of storytelling through Afro-diasporic spiritualism, Black resilience, Queer cosmologies, and redefining the archetypal hero’s journey. It explores the magic of the Black Queer imagination, and questions how to build a home from an intersectional lens. Ultimately these works are a gateway to healing from collective and generational traumas, and assert that healing can be a celebration of joy, mundanity, pain, and fantasy coexisting. Their work has featured in exhibitions, public art, publishing, and gaming. Their work belongs in the private gifted collections of singer-songwriters Beyoncé, Solange Knowles, and Oumou Sangaré. Recent collaborations include working with Scholastic, HarperCollins, and Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2023, Odera had three back to back solo exhibitions in Vancouver that worked to reify the canon of Black Queer cultural contributions in the Lower Mainland.

Manuel Axel Strain is a 2-Spirit artist from the lands and waters of the xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam), Simpcw and Syilx peoples, based in the sacred region of their q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) and qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen) relatives. Strains mother is Tracey Strain and father is Eric Strain.
Tracey’s parents are Harold Eustache (from Chuchua) and Marie Louis (from nk̓maplqs). Eric’s Parents are Helen Point (from xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) and John Strain (from Ireland). Although they attended Emily Carr University of Art + Design, they prioritize Indigenous epistemologies through the embodied knowledge of their mother, father, siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents and ancestors. Their work has been exhibited at Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver Art Gallery, Unit 17, Richmond Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, UBC Okanagan Gallery, Neutral Ground, University of Saskatchewan Art Galleries and they were longlisted for the 2022 Sobey Award and was a recipient of the 2022 Portfolio Prize.

Soloman Chiniquay is a documentary photographer and filmmaker living between xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ territory and his homelands of Treaty 7 territory. His lens-based work explores the ways he is welcomed to witness expressions of Indigeneity, creating imagery that attempts to show, in sometimes raw ways, the land and the people on it, the ways people use and connect to the land, and the artifacts they leave on it. Sol has worked on film productions such as The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, and documentary shorts Joe Buffalo and Be Long, and is a founding member of The Stoney Nakoda AV Club. In 2020 he published the photography book Wahiâba O-zaza Ta-pa, with poems by jaz whitford, Yujin Aspen Kim and DEBBY FRIDAY. Sol also tries to incorporate teaching and education in the projects he is involved in. He also teaches photography workshops at various high schools and community organizations throughout Canada.