Aamjiwnaang First Nation band member receives prestigious art fellowship

Nico Williams. Image courtesy of Concordia University.

A band member of Aamjiwnaang First Nation has received a prestigious art fellowship.

Concordia University in Montreal has named Nico Williams, an MFA sculpture candidate, as the 2021 recipient of the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art.

The fellowship is worth $60,000 over two years and is the most generous post-MFA award for emerging artists in Canada.

Williams, an Anishinaabe artist whose artwork centers around sculptural beadwork, said he is planning to upgrade to a larger studio.

“Getting this Bronfman fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to continue my explorations with beadwork,” said Williams.

“It is preparing me for my next two years. I’ll be able to work on larger collaborative projects with a team of people in Tiohtiá:ke [Montreal], to do more experiments and to push this practice further. I’m so excited to see what it could become.”

Williams has had his work shown across Canada and internationally.

His first public sculpture, “Monument to the Brave”, was commissioned in 2020 and is now on display at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

A touching video produced about the display can be viewed here.