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Clarence Kapay

Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay

"In every generation there are artists who capture the essence of their subject; they are the ones who rise above the din and reveal their unique abilities with unmistakable clarity. One of these individuals is (Banff) artist Clarence Kapay."
Frank Kusch of the Indigenous Times

Imagine the scent of freshly fallen rain and a brilliantly refracted rainbow cascading down on an Indian village in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Perhaps you can hear an earthshattering crack of lightning as it sizzles across a spattered palette of color, culminating in the formation of a majestic warrior or a bald eagle. Or maybe you can feel the warmth as the darting flames of a campfire illuminate a buffalo hide teepee while directly above, the multi-colored, pulsating columns of light known as the aurora borealis dance in the heavens. These enchanting images remain imaginary until they're brought to life by the paint brush of Plains Cree artist Clarence Kapay.

Clarence enjoys a solid reputation in the world of Western and Native American Art not in the least because of his exceptional talent, but also due to a combination of several factors including experience, family support, education and Clarence claims "several opportune strokes of good luck". He's a graduate of the First Nations University of Canada and has accumulated a number of awards and achievements in his twelve years as a professional artist. He's been juried into several prestigious art shows across Canada and the United States and this year will mark his fourth appearance at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede's Western Art Show Sales Salon.

Over the past several years Clarence's paintings have been auctioned at Robert Kennedy Jr.'s Waterkeeper Alliance gala fund raiser where he's had the pleasure of meeting the likes of Robin Williams, Alec Baldwin, Jason Priestly, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Fran Drescher, Marla Maples, Richard Dean Anderson and of course Bobby Kennedy Jr. His painting "Visions" was presented to His Royal Highness, Prince Charles on his Royal Tour of Regina in 2001. Kapay's work also adorns the dust cover of "Red Coats on the Prairies", a book released in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1999 Kapay was also presented with the Artistic Award of Excellence by Tourism Saskatchewan. When one is honored by his peers it can be a defining moment and it was apparent when Clarence was bestowed with the First Nation's Art and Achievement Award in 2002. The award is presented by the Women of the Dawn, to an individual of First Nation's ancestry, in recognition of lifetime achievement in their particular field.

Born and raised on the Day Star First Nation in south central Saskatchewan, Clarence is best known for his diversity and draftsmanship. He utilizes art as a means of communicating his people's symbols, spirituality and beliefs. His humble beginnings on the Day Star First Nation stand in stark contrast to his mountain home in Banff, Alberta, where he lives with his wife Val and two daughters, Shania and Sierra.

"I live in an environment where the air is clean, the land is rugged and the wildlife is plentiful, the perfect environment for an artist" ,Kapay says, as he relaxes in his studio staring out toward a backyard full of spruce and pine. "I'm incredibly lucky to do what I enjoy for a living and I appreciate the interest in my art. Where ever I am, if I'm standing alone on a precipice of a mountain or along a foggy lake shore on the cusp of a crisp summer sun rise, I take with me all the nuances of that instant and it's the essence of that fleeting moment that I try to recapture on canvass. It is my honor to present to you these portals to my imagination."

Awards and Achievements

Kapay, and a member of the Day Star First Nation has accumulated a number of achievements in his relatively short career as a professional artist.
In October, 2002 Kapay was honoured at the First Nations Awards ceremony with the Arts and Entertainment award. Hosted by Women of the Dawn, the ceremony honours the lifetime achievements and contributions of First Nations individuals from Saskatchewan. Kapay was humbled by the award because it is an acknowledgement of his work by his own people.

Kapay was thrilled when he realized that his painting "Visions" would be presented to Prince Charles during a royal visit to the Chili for Children Program in Regina, Saskatchewan, April, 2001.

Still reeling from the news that he'd been selected for the Ducks Unlimited Canada's Art Print Portfolio 2000, Cree artist, Clarence Kapay, was ecstatic to hear he was the artist chosen for the 2000 ABEX Awards. "I'm very honored and thank those responsible for choosing my work for these prestigious awards". Each ABEX finalist received one of Kapay's "Dancing in the Night" llimited edition prints.

Saskatchewan's lone representative in Ducks Unlimited Canada's Art Print Portfolio 2000 is Clarence Kapay. The Regina based artist is only the second First Nations artist selected in Ducks Unlimited Canada's history. Kapay's image "His Domain" was one of 12 selected out of over 310 entries from across Canada. The image selected will be reproduced in limited editions and available exclusively at Ducks Unlimited events in the year 2000.

On Friday, March 19, 1999 Clarence was presented with the Tourism Saskatchewan Artistic Acclaim Award for creating awareness of Saskatchewan, both inside and outside our borders, through an artistic endeavor. In 1998 Kapay created images to be used in the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority's advertising, as the cover for the book "Red Coats on the Prairies" and on the covers of two compact discs. Both the book and the CDs are sold outside of Saskatchewan.

1998: 1st place in the Animal Portraits Division in the 9th Annual "Reflections of Nature" Wildlife Art Competition and Exposition - Western Canada's Largest Wildlife Art show: Presented by the Saskatchewan Wildlife Art Association.

1996: 2nd Place at 14th Annual Native Art Contest which is a national contest held by Peace Hills Trust.

Nature and the Spirit of Man Merge - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
Naming of a Warrior - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
Secrets the Waters Tell - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
Vision Qwest - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
Another Place, Another Time - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay

The Dance of Generations - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
The Wind Whispers Secrets - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
A Way of Life - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
Sharing With Those Before Us - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
An Unbroken Circle of Starlight and Spirit - By Canadian Artist Clarence Kapay
Click on a picture for a larger image and ordering information

Clarence Kapay
Box 3279
Banff, Ablerta, T1L 1C9
Phone: (403) 760-2593

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