Thompson Rivers University

Art student to exhibit alongside First Nations masters

  Posted on: May 27, 2015

Kelsey Jules

Kelsey Jules is living an artist's dream—her work will be on display alongside renowned BC First Nations artists like Bill Reid. The Bachelor of Fine Arts student was awarded a YVR Art Foundation scholarship, including a year-long exhibit of her work at the Vancouver International Airport.

Kelsey Jules, a third-year TRU Bachelor of Fine Arts student at Thompson Rivers University, will join an accomplished list of BC First Nations artists in an exhibition opening in June 2016 at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

Jules, who is a member of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, has been awarded one of seven $5,000 Youth Artist Scholarships from the YVR Art Foundation. Founded in 1993 by the Vancouver Airport Authority, the foundation fosters the development of BC First Nations art and artists, continuing ancient artistic traditions that still thrive today through the work of artists such as Bill Reid, Susan Point and James Hart. The scholarship provides for study, a guided tour of Vancouver museums, galleries and art studios, and a one-year exhibition at YVR.

“This is a huge opportunity to get my artwork and ideas out there and is a great milestone for my work as I continue to pursue the arts,” said Jules, who will share her artistic vision of the cultural history of residential schools.

Her exhibition will consist of a series of photographs depicting the residential school in Kamloops using fibre-based gelatin silver prints.

“This is to display the cultural history of the residential school as well as how it has impacted First Nations people today,” said Jules. “I hope to achieve a sense of understanding in the viewer who may not know about this history.”

Visual Arts faculty member Eileen Leier will mentor Jules during the fall 2015 semester in the production of work for the exhibition.

“For Kelsey this is a wonderful opportunity to have her artworks on display at the Vancouver airport along with some of the finest First Nations artists in British Columbia,” said Leier. “In this location her artworks will be viewed by tens of thousands of domestic and international travellers.”

Jules said art is a relatable, engaging medium, understood on an international level. “Having my art on display in a public, international place will help others understand some subject matter that seems to continuously be overlooked or forgotten,” she said.

She finds inspiration in the work of Reid, Point and Hart, but notes they reflect the Haida Gwaii culture, and she is excited to share the stylistic traditions of the Interior-Salish Secwepemc (Shuswap).

“Sharing the rich cultural stories from BC First Nations is dependent on today’s young artists,” said Susan Jackson, Executive Director, YVR Art Foundation in a May 11 media release. “The 2015 YVR Art Foundation Award recipients represent some of the best emerging First Nations artists in British Columbia. We are proud to help these young visionaries realize their creative potential and contribute to the success of a new generation of artists.”

The scholarship recipients will be recognized at the foundation’s annual awards reception at Vancouver International Airport on May 29.