New York-based nonprofit Independent Curators International—known for its support of curators and artists, and its fabulous parties that do so—has chosen curator Candice Hopkins as the 2022 honoree of its annual Leo Award. Named after the late Italian American art dealer Leo Castelli, the highly prestigious award is given to an individual each year to acknowledge their outstanding achievements and contributions to the contemporary world. This year’s accolade honors the Carcross/Tagish First Nation citizen’s efforts to diversify curatorial perspectives and bring light to new artists and important causes.
Hopkins is an advocate for Indigenous history and art. She is an as independent curator, writer, and researcher, as well as the first director and chief curator of Forge Project in Taghkanic, New York, a native-led initiative against generations of settler colonialism that highlights “Indigenous art, decolonial education, and supporting leaders in culture, food security and land justice.” She was the senior curator for the first two editions of the Toronto Biennial of Art, in 2019 and 2022 respectively, and helped to organize the Canadian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019.
She is sharing the 2022 Leo Award with the American Indian Community House, a community nonprofit organization in New York with which she shares the mission to strive to protect the American Indian population and “increase the visibility of American Indian cultures in an urban setting in order to cultivate awareness, understanding, and respect.” On October 25, ICI will recognize Hopkins and AICH for their philanthropy with a reception at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. Says ICI executive and artistic director Renaud Proch: “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.”