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The Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy Awarded to Cherry Smiley

The Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology congratulates Cherry Smiley, a recently graduated Master of Fine Arts student on receiving The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy.

October 17, 2014

Courtesy of SFU - The Sterling Prize. To view the full original article:


Cherry Smiley, from the Nlaka'pamux (Thompson) and Dine' (Navajo) Nations, is an artist, Indigenous feminist activist, and prostitution abolitionist. A front line anti-violence worker and accomplished public speaker on sexualized colonial violence against Indigenous women and girls, Cherry is a co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry (IWASI). IWASI is an unfunded group of Indigenous women and girls that work toward ending prostitution and advocate for the restoration of traditional Indigenous beliefs and structures that value women and girls. A recently graduated Master of Fine Arts student, Cherry's art practice is one that is deeply passionate and inherently political, grounded in her experiences as an Indigenous woman, radical feminist theory, and in the teachings handed down to her by her Elders. In 2013, Cherry received a Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case (youth) for her work in the interest of women's equality. In 2014, she exhibited Revolution Songs, an installation that focused on the experiences of prostituted women and women affected by prostitution.


The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy was established by Nora and Ted Sterling, the founding chair of computing science at Simon Fraser University, in 1993 to honour and encourage work that provokes and/or contributes to the understanding of controversy. The Sterling Prize is awarded annually to a recipient whose work presents new ways of looking at the world, ways that are daring and creative.

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