2022 Melva J. Dwyer Award

Statements/Press Releases ,

The Sioux Project—Tatanka Oyate, a groundbreaking examination of contemporary Sioux aesthetics in relation to the work of Dana Claxton, was presented with the 31st annual Melva J. Dwyer Award by the Canada Chapter of the Art

Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA). The book was co-edited by Claxton and Timothy Long, and published in 2021 by Vancouver-based publishing house Information Office in partnership with the MacKenzie Art Gallery.

The Dwyer jurors selected The Sioux Project—Tatanka Oyate out of 16 publications on art, architecture, and museum studies from across Canada.

The Sioux Project—Tatanka Oyate is notable for resisting and transcending the traditional categories of art publication. Claxton’s 2017 video installation at the Mackenzie Art Gallery is one of its foundations, but the book is neither a conventional exhibition catalog, a monograph nor a historical survey. Instead, it represents one outcome of a collaborative artistic research process and project that has been embedded in the Lakota/Nakota/Dakota communities of Saskatchewan. Collaborators in the project include Cowboy Smithx, Lynne Bell, and Gwenda Yuzicappi.

Beautifully and thoughtfully designed, with texts from scholars Janet Catherine Berlo and Carmen Robertson and a reprint of the work of Dr. Bea Medicine, the publication effectively weaves a new narrative, bridging the colonial erasures of the past with the vibrant present and future of Sioux artistic creation. It includes a timeline and an extensive bibliography on Sioux history and culture. Written in compelling and accessible language, The Sioux

Project—Tatanka Oyate will find an audience in both academic and artistic communities and beyond.

Dana Claxton is a critically acclaimed artist who works in film, video, photography, single and multi-channel video installation, and performance art. Her practice investigates beauty, the body, the socio-political, and the spiritual. Her work has been shown internationally at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Walker Art Center

(Minneapolis), Sundance Film Festival, Eiteljorg Museum (Indianapolis), and the Museum of

Contemporary Art (Sydney, Australia) and is held in public collections including the Vancouver Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Canada Council Art Bank, MacKenzie Art Gallery, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Fringing the Cube, her solo survey exhibition, was held at the

Vancouver Art Gallery in the fall of 2018. She has received numerous awards including the

VIVA Award and the Eiteljorg Fellowship. She is Head and Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Art, Art History and Theory at the University of British Columbia. Her family reserve is Wood Mountain Lakota First Nation located in beautiful southwest Saskatchewan.

Timothy Long has thirty years of curatorial experience at the MacKenzie Art Gallery where he is Head Curator and Adjunct Professor at the University of Regina. His past projects have traced developments in Saskatchewan art from the 1960s to present, including Regina Clay: Worlds in the Making and retrospectives of Marilyn Levine, Jack Sures, David Thauberger, and Victor Cicansky. His pursuit of interdisciplinary dialogues involving art, sound, ceramics, film, and contemporary dance has resulted in a number of innovative projects, including

Theatroclasm (2009), Ian Wallace: Masculin/Féminin (2010), and Atom Egoyan: Steenbeckett

(2016). In 2018 he co-curated Re: Celebrating the Body, the latest in a series of exhibitions/residencies with the acclaimed contemporary dance company New Dance Horizons.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was presented by Amy Furness, Melva J. Dwyer Award Sub-Committee Chair. Jury members of the 2022 ARLIS/NA Melva J. Dwyer Award Sub-Committee were Ana Diab, Andrea Koteles and Catherine Carlyle.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was established in recognition of the contribution made to the field of art librarianship by Melva Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia. It is given to the creators of exceptional reference or research tools relating to Canadian art and architecture. Dwyer was a champion of the arts and of art librarianship who mentored a generation of ARLIS/NA colleagues.

About Melva J. Dwyer (October 29, 1919 - November 13, 2017)

With a diploma in piano and a master’s degree in history, Dwyer joined the University of British

Columbia Library after completing her MLIS at the University of Toronto. Dwyer quickly set to work building the first major art library in western Canada, relying on her expertise and helped considerably by a large monetary donation. In 1967, she became the first chair of CARLIS, the Canadian Art Libraries Section of the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and

Information Services Division. This group later migrated to ARLIS/NA to become the Canadian Chapter. Throughout her career, Dwyer was active in ARLIS and IFLA, and traveled extensively to further develop connections with colleagues and book dealers. She retired from the University of British Columbia in 1984.