Daina Warren | 2022 Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction

The Manitoba Arts Council is pleased to announce that Daina Warren is the winner of the 2022 Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction. This $30,000 prize is awarded every two years to a professional artist or arts/cultural professional in recognition of the highest level of artistic excellence and contribution to the development of the arts in Manitoba.

Daina spent the last decade as director and curator for Urban Shaman Art Gallery in Winnipeg, supporting Indigenous artists and broadening the horizons of contemporary art in Manitoba and beyond. Originally from Montana First Nation in Treaty 6 (Alberta), Daina has curated a number of exhibitions and programs for organizations across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Gimli Film Festival’s Indigenous Horror Focus Program, Sakewewak Storytellers Festival in Regina, and VUCAVU. In April of 2022, Daina accepted a new position at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, New Mexico as their Research Centre Program Manager.

Artist talk with Nadia Myre, moderated by Daina Warren for “Living with Contradiction and Other Work” on December 4, 2021 at Urban Shaman Gallery. Photo by Robert Snowbird.

Among her many accomplishments, Daina was awarded the Emily Award from Emily Carr University in 2015 and the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellency in 2018.

“It has been my privilege to know Daina since she started at the Urban Shaman Gallery in 2011,” said Shayla Elizabeth, Daina’s nominator. “She is passionate about Indigenous Art, in any form or media, and brings in world-class exhibitions and artists, juxtaposing/intersecting it with mainstream art perspectives. She also works with local emerging artists, in the city and on Northern reserves; and, in responding to current community issues.”

“We are so excited to see Daina receive the Award of Distinction this year,” says Roberta Christianson, Board Chair of the Manitoba Arts Council. “The impact of her work to showcase and contextualize incredible art for Manitobans to appreciate cannot be overstated. She has been a force of positive influence in so many spheres. I offer my warmest congratulations.”

“Congratulations to Daina Warren, as this year’s recipient of the Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction,” said Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Andrew Smith. “Daina is deserving of this award for her accomplished career as a curator, and also as a leader in the community nurturing the growth and artistic expression of many Indigenous artists.”

The nominations for this award are reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel of peers who make their decision based on the artistic excellence of the candidate’s work and their contribution to the development of the arts in Manitoba. Previous Award of Distinction recipients include Alan Greyeyes (2020), Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan (2018), Diana Thorneycroft (2016), Robert Archambeau (2014), and J. Roger Léveillé (2012).