During the annual conference of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) in March 2002 in St. Louis, the Melva J. Dwyer Award was presented to Joan Reid Acland, for the bilingual publication, First Nations Artists in Canada: A Biographical / Bibliographical Guide 1960 to 1999 / Artistes des Premiéres Nations au Canada: Un guide Biographique / Bibliographique 1960 é 1999, published in 2001 by the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art in Montreal.

The Dwyer Award is administered by the ARLIS/Canada Chapter of ARLIS/NA, and is awarded each year to an outstanding reference or research tool relating to Canadian art and architecture. The award was established in honour of Melva Dwyer, former head librarian at the University of British Columbia, and is adjudicated by a jury of three Canadian art information professionals. Jurors for this year's award were Diana Cooper, University of British Columbia; Rosemary Haddad, Canadian Centre for Architecture; and Irene Puchalski, University of Toronto.

In making its choice, the jury noted that First Nations Artists in Canada / Artistes des Premiéres Nations au Canada succeeds as a scholarly bilingual reference tool that will enable and promote the study of contemporary First Nations artistic production in Canada. Over one hundred entries provide hard to find information on each artist, including date and place of birth, First Nations affiliation, biographical information, exhibition histories, names of collections owning the artist's works, and an extensive list of writings by and about the artists.

First Nations Artists in Canada / Artistes des Premiéres Nations au Canada is one of the first publications of the newly created Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art at Concordia University. Dr. Acland, specialist in contemporary First Nations art and architecture and postcolonial theory at Concordia, spent the last decade completing the research for this reference work, which fills a gap in an important area of Canadian art history.

The book includes a foreword by Gerald McMaster, National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution, as well as an introduction by Dr. Acland. In his foreword, McMaster describes this work as "the first comprehensive reference on First Nations artists in Canada." Dr. Acland points out that the book has been given the endorsement of many First Nations Artists.

ARLIS/NA, founded in 1972, has over 1000 members in the U.S. Canada and Mexico, and overseas, with regional Chapters active across the U.S. and Canada. It is the only professional organization in North America devoted exclusively to the concerns of art information professionals.

For more information, contact:

Carole Goldsmith
Past Chair, ARLIS/Canada
Tel: 604-291-3268
Fax: 604-291-3023
Email: wisdom@sfu.ca