Ericka Walker, an Associate Professor of Printmaking in the Division of Fine Arts, has received the prestigous Southern Graphics Council Mid-Career Printmaker Award.
Southern Graphics Council International (SCGI) is the largest educational non-profit organization in the United States committed to informing membership about issues and processes concerning original prints, drawings, book arts, and handmade paper.
Walker’s practice operates on vernacular histories of the graphic arts. Her print works and site-specific murals subvert the propagandistic function of nostalgia in contemporary culture, disputing the civilizing influence and assumed moral authority of nation-building in North America. She exhibits widely throughout North America and internationally. Her prints are housed in multiple public and private collections, and have been selected for numerous awards.
“It is a significant honour to be sure,” says Walker. “SGCI has provided me opportunities and access to the success I have had as a professional artist. The organization and the membership who voted to confer the award hold the esteem of an international community of artists and arts professionals.”
While Walker is pleased with the achievement, the award has led her to reflect on what it means to be a mid-career artist and tenured professor.
“I succeeded by working with no boundaries between personal and professional life, I worked to the detriment of other valuable activities and relationships. I don’t want to pass this on, but I do want to help set up my students and emerging colleagues for success.”
A shift in art education needs to take place in how we mentor students and emerging artists, she says. Today’s emerging artists are seeking more work-life balance through practices that connect individuals around common goals and service to communities.
“I want to shift away from models that promote artistic practice as a labour of love that requires unquestioned sacrifice and unsustainable hustle. It is important we mentor in ways that push past the methods and examples we had, in hopes of achieving something even more progressive or just.”
“This award has shoved these problems to the front of my mind. I am grateful for that, and I am extremely chuffed to be honored by SGCI for my career thus far.”