New York–based nonprofit Independent Curators International (ICI) has announced Candice Hopkins as the winner of its 2022 Leo Award. Hopkins, a Carcross/Tagish First Nation citizen, is the first director and chief curator of Taghkanic, New York’s Forge Project, a Native-led initiative launched in 2021 and focusing on “Indigenous art, decolonial education, and supporting leaders in culture, food security, and land justice.” She will share the prize with the nonprofit American Indian Community House, a New York nonprofit that assists Native Americans living in the metropolitan area and runs the exhibition space AICH Gallery.
“All of us at ICI are so deeply grateful to Candice for the opportunity to work with her,” said ICI executive and artistic director Renaud Proch, “and we are proud to recognize her alongside the American Indian Community House—and so many people who have accompanied them along the way—for their tireless work to promote Native American contemporary art. This year’s honorees represent the potential of curatorial work to make history every day; to create spaces for artists who open our eyes to a complex understanding of the world; and to put people in relationship to one another, strengthening communities through art.”
Hopkins is well known for elevating the work of Indigenous artists. She was senior curator of both the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art, in 2019, and its second iteration, which took place this year. She served as a member of the curatorial teams organizing, respectively, the Canadian Pavilion at the Fifty-Eighth Venice Biennale, in 2019, and Documenta 14, in 2017. Hopkins has additionally cocurated a number of pathbreaking group exhibitions centered on Indigenous artists, including, for ICI, “Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts,” which has traveled to seven venues since opening in 2019; “Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now,” at Crystal Bridges Museum for American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas (2018); “Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art” at the National Gallery of Canada, Ontario (2013); and the multi-venue “Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years” in Winnipeg (2009).
Named for legendary art dealer Leo Castelli, the Leo Award is given in recognition of an exceptional contribution to the field of contemporary art. Past recipients of the prize include collector Dimitris Daskalopoulos, gallerist Marian Goodman, Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan, filmmaker Steve McQueen, fashion designer Miuccia Prada, and collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.