Arts Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council are pleased to announce that Tonya "Sam'Gwan" Paris has been awarded the 2022 Black Artist Recognition Award.

Portrait of Tonya

About Tonya "Sam'Gwan" Paris

Tonya ‘Sam’Gwan’ Paris is indigenous Black, Mi’kmaw and Cree. Her style is a mixture of who she is: feminine Native and Indigenous Black. She is a traditional beader, quiller, and regalia designer. After picking up a paint brush for the first time in 2015 her paintings have sold quickly all over the country. Tonya was the first artist to ever have an art show in the Paul O’Regan Hall in the Halifax Public Library in Halifax in 2022. She is a co-facilitator for The Proclaiming Our Roots program through York University and CHIR teaching and digitizing Black and First Nations stories.  With having her first solo art show in 2018, to winning Halifax’s Visual Artist of the Year (Bronze) 2017-2018, to now having sold over 300 pieces of her art, she knows the sky’s the limit.


In 2020 Arts Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council announced the creation of a new Black Artist Recognition Award. The Black Artist Recognition Award is open to artists of African descent who have emerged from their initial training and development to become recognized, established artists in Nova Scotia. This award helps to showcase the recipients’ work to residents of the province and to people beyond our borders. This visibility is meant to 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 award is funded by the Nova Scotia Arts Endowment Fund and carries a cash value of $5,000.

November 1, 2022 Update

In light of the uncertainty of live events in the past three years, we booked a smaller venue than usual for our in-person 2022 Creative Nova Scotia Awards Celebration. We were delighted to discover all the seats will be filled with the award winners for 2021 and 2022, their families and friends, presenters, and performers. Demand for these seats has been higher than expected and as a result, we no longer have tickets for the in-person show to offer to the general public. However, we encourage all to join in for the awards presentation online on November 10 at 7:30 pm at