Sonny Assu

Sonny Assu was born in 1975 and is of the Weka’yi (Cape Mudge) First Nation. He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1999.

Sonny holds a Fine Arts Diploma from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and a BFA in Print Making, Digital Arts and First Nations studies from Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Sonny uses his personal identity to ignite conversation. He assimilates pop culture icons with traditional Aboriginal themes to generate dialogue and challenge historically imbedded cultural perceptions. His work focuses on issues relevant to the First Nations culture, consumerism, and new technologies.

“I consider myself an artist. I’m not an ‘Indian Artist’ I am an artist who happens to be of aboriginal decent. I don’t create for a market, I create work that makes me think, in turn, I know it will make the viewer think. I make work that makes me happy and let the market come to me.”



2011      BC Creative Award in First Nations’ Art

Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)

Present Works

  • Sonny Assu: A Selective History

    Sonny Assu


    with Candice Hopkins, Marianne Nicholson, Richard Van Camp, and Ellyn Walker

    A stunning retrospective highlighting the playfulness, power, and subversive spirit of Northwest Coast Indigenous artist Sonny Assu.

    Through large-scale installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and painting, Sonny Assu merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop-art sensibility. This stunning retrospective spans over a decade of Assu’s career, highlighting more than 120 full-colour works, including several never-before-exhibited pieces.

    Through analytical essays and personal narratives, Richard Van Camp, Marianne Nicolson, Candice Hopkins, and Ellyn Walker provide brilliant commentary on Assu’s practice, its meaning in the context of contemporary art, and its wider significance in the struggle for Indigenous cultural and political autonomy. Exploring themes of Indigenous rights, consumerism, branding, humour, and the ways in which history informs contemporary ideas and identities, Sonny Assu: A Selective History is the first major full-scale book to pay tribute to this important, prolific, and vibrant figure in the Canadian contemporary art world.



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