Congratulations to Coral Shaughnessy-Moon, this year’s winner of the MOA Shop Annual Emerging Indigenous Artist Contest. Coral’s design, Ha̱yulis tła̱n’s ma̱lkwa̱lał (We Will Always Remember), hopes to raise awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG). Coral chose a contemporary line drawing for her design, as she wanted it to be “understood and equal to all Indigenous/non-Indigenous people.”
Ha̱yulis tła̱n’s ma̱lkwa̱lał (We Will Always Remember) left an impact on our contest jury for its effective visualization of its message and excellent execution of its line drawing style—which is unique and unlike past winning designs. The design is elegant yet powerful in bringing attention to the issue of MMIWG.
Coral Shaughnessy-Moon is a proud artist and activist from the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation. She has been a part of several occupations—from removing the fish farms from her waters, to the recent occupations at the Victoria Legislature, standing with the Wet’suwet’en. She credits many of the inspiring people she met through her participation in these occupation movements with helping to motivate her and inspire her art. She also comes from a family of artists who have always encouraged her and she is proud to say she has “finally been able to gain the courage to show my artwork proudly and hopefully I can inspire others to express themselves and be proud of where they come from.”
The MOA Shop Emerging Indigenous Artist Contest began in 2014 as the MOA Shop T-Shirt Contest, with a call for budding artists to submit art expressing their heritage, culture and identity. Winners receive a cash prize and royalties from t-shirts printed with their art, which are sold exclusively at the MOA Shop. The contest was developed in conjunction with MOA’s 2014 award-winning exhibition Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth, which featured Indigenous youth telling their own cultural stories. Both Claiming Space and the Emerging Indigenous Artist Contest share the voices of young Indigenous artists. The contest provides a supportive and professional environment to showcase their art that, for some past winners, has been the start of their careers in the arts.
Past winners have embodied many facets of what it means to be a young Indigenous artist today. Alison Marks (Tlingit) won the contest in 2014 for Live Long and Potlatch, and again in 2015 for How Raven Accidentally Wiped Out the Dinosaurs. Her bold designs re-imagined cultural motifs through a modern lens. 2016’s winning design, Touching Spirit by Danika Naccarella (Nuxalk) was influenced by house posts in Bella Coola and ancestral teachings. In 2017, Maya McKibbin (Yaqui, Huichol and Ojibwe) was inspired by the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline and illustrated the Lakota prophecy of the end of the world in The Black Snake. And in 2018, Sarah Jim (Tseycum) depicted an image of ecological harmony and stewardship of the sea for her piece Orca Ontology. 2019 saw the first-ever tie, with Not Invisible, which honours Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, by Maka Monture Päki (Tlingit, Mohawk, Filipina and Canadian Kanien’kehá:ka) and John Velten’s Hummingbird design, whose uplifting energy captivated the jury.
This year’s winning artwork can be found adorning t-shirts available for purchase at the MOA Shop in mid-August, alongside selected t-shirts by past winners. By purchasing a t-shirt, visitors help share and support the work of these talented emerging artists, while ensuring the longevity of the contest for the future.