Posted October 23rd, 2023

Arts Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council congratulate Nancy Oakley who has been selected to receive the 2023 Indigenous Artist Recognition Award.

headshot of nancy oakley
Photo credit: NS Gaming Commission 


Nancy E. Oakley is a Mi'kmaq/Wampanoag artist who was raised in Mashpee, Massachusetts but now lives and works on the Eskasoni First Nation Reserve in NS. She is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and studied for a year at NSCAD, taking courses in photography, ceramics, weaving and jewellery making. Through softly curved pottery forms created by hand or by the wheel. Nancy creates culturally significant pieces that imbue her spiritual and traditional knowledge and honor her role as a mother. Her process is a collaboration with the land. Clay harvested from mother earth and shaped by hand. Pieces are stone polished and smoke fired outdoors with fir tips, seaweed and sawdust imprinting beautiful smokey finishes.  Her pots are adorned with traditional Mi'kmaq embellishments such as black ash, beadwork and/or braided sweetgrass. Nancy is a mother of 6 and grandmother of 4.5.

IG: @oakleavesnativecreations FB: Oakleaves, Native creations

About the Award

The Indigenous Artist Recognition Award recognizes artists who are Indigenous (Mi’kmaq as well as other First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) who have emerged from their initial training and development and are active in the Nova Scotian/Mi’kma’ki arts community. 

The awards help showcase the recipients’ work to residents of the province and to people beyond our borders. This visibility will encourage artistic and economic well-being for the recipients and contribute to the health of Nova Scotia’s artistic sector in support of a well-rounded community. The Artist Recognition Awards are presented annually at the Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala Funded from the Nova Scotia Arts Endowment Fund, the award carries a cash value of $5,000.

It is an award of recognition and may be used by the recipient for any purpose.

The prize will be presented at the Creative Nova Scotia Awards on November 3, 2023. 

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