News Releases - 2001
Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts
Announcement of laureates
Ottawa, 14 March 2001 - The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the names of the seven winners of the second annual Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts.
Architect Douglas Cardinal, filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, stained glass artist Russell Goodman, visual artists Tom Dean, Jamelie Hassan and Liz Magor, and philanthropist Joan Chalmers will be presented with their awards by Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, at a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Wednesday, March 21.
"These awards honour the diverse and magical results of the creative imagination of Canadian artists," said the Governor General. "And just as we need art to learn about ourselves, as we react and interpret, so too do we need art to learn what we are as citizens, as a society, as Canadians. Through their vision and excellence, this year's laureates have helped us to aspire to new heights of perception and self-knowledge. They have all added lustre, expression and strength to Canadian civilization."
The annual awards, funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, were created in June 1999 and presented for the first time in March 2000. The awards recognize distinguished career achievement in the visual and media arts by Canadian artists, as well as outstanding contributions to the visual and media arts through voluntarism, philanthropy, board governance, community outreach and professional activities.
In addition to a $15,000 prize, each laureate will be presented with a ceramic artwork created by one of last year's award winners, Calgary artist John Chalke.
"The works of the artists whom we are honouring are a tribute, in medium and manner, in scale and style, to Canada's openness to innovation and diversity," said Canada Council Chairman Jean-Louis Roux. "They are also a tribute to the power of the human imagination. Speaking with strong and authentic voices, they are our ambassadors to the wide world."
The names of the winners and the jury's citations are listed below. The six artists are listed in alphabetical order, followed by the winner in the "Outstanding Contribution" category.
Douglas Cardinal, architect, Ottawa, Ontario
"Douglas Cardinal's trademark curvilinear, organic buildings, sensitively placed into the landscape like sculptures, have been called an indigenous Canadian style of architecture. Over 36 years, the Calgary-born Cardinal has undertaken a wide variety of projects, ranging from homes to government and institutional buildings, most notably the spectacular Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, the award-winning St. Mary's Church in Red Deer, Alberta, the Grande Prairie Regional College and the Ponoka Provincial Building. Douglas Cardinal has also pioneered the use of computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) systems for architecture in North America. The Governor General's Award recognizes Douglas Cardinal's outstanding contribution to Canadian and international architecture."
Tom Dean, visual artist, Toronto, Ontario
"Tom Dean's 30-year career is marked by a rare consistency that is evident in a fascination with the meaning of both ordinary and mythical objects. From the earliest pieces of the 1970s to his showing at the 1999 Venice Biennale, Tom Dean's powerful body of work has given a strong voice to contemporary Canadian art. His work is found in the permanent collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and the National Gallery of Canada. He has also helped strengthen the arts community, both by serving on boards of art organizations and by supporting the artists' collective movement and artist-run initiatives that are key to building younger artists' careers. By awarding Tom Dean a Governor General's Award in Visual Arts, the jury honours a truly exceptional artist."
Russell C. Goodman, stained glass artist, Kelowna, British Columbia
"Russell C. Goodman is the modern master of a medieval medium. He has worked in stained glass for almost 50 years, cutting, painting, firing and glazing the best of antique glass. His renown is illustrated in the fact that he has designed and installed over 1,000 stained glass windows, including those in St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (Thunder Bay), Christ Church United (Mississauga), Donway United Church and St. Augustine's of Canterbury (both in Toronto). Although principally known for his often monumental ecclesiastical work, Goodman's sensitivity to space and coloured light can also be found in the windows of private and public buildings. A spectacular example of this is found in the House of Commons in Ottawa. The Governor General's Award in Visual Arts celebrates the long and distinguished career of a remarkable artist."
Jamelie Hassan, visual artist, London, Ontario
"Jamelie Hassan's multi-media installations, photo-based and video work have been important features of the Canadian visual art milieu since the early 1970s. Her work has focused on issues of cultural and personal identity, exclusion, displacement, language and communication. The complexity of her installation and multi-media work has attracted critical attention across Canada as well as internationally, including the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Japan. Her work can be found in various public collections, including those of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Hassan is also highly respected for her activism, curatorial work and contributions to the artist-run centre movement in Canada. The Governor General's Award in Visual Arts acknowledges her important contribution to the visual arts in Canada."
Liz Magor, visual artist, Vancouver, British Columbia
"Liz Magor's sculptures, installation pieces and photographic works examine the notion of Canadianness that is reflected more often in literature than in contemporary visual arts. Her work has been exhibited in major Canadian public art galleries and museums, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Vancouver Art Gallery, as well as abroad. She represented Canada at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 1987. Magor has also shared her knowledge and expertise in visual arts with a new generation of artists and students through teaching appointments at major Canadian art colleges and universities, including the Ontario College of Art and Design, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the University of British Columbia and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. The Governor General's Award in Visual Arts recognizes the work of one of Canada's most important visual artists."
Alanis Obomsawin, filmmaker, Montreal, Quebec
"Alanis Obomsawin is an internationally-renowned documentary filmmaker, whose work has led to a better understanding of the history and culture of Aboriginal peoples. Her independent spirit and vision are reflected in a significant body of film work for the National Film Board of Canada that includes Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (about the 1990 Oka crisis), Rocks at Whiskey Trench, My Name is Kahentiiosta and Mother of Many Children. In addition to her many awards and honorary doctorates, Obomsawin has served on a host of boards and advisory committees, such as the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. She is highly respected as a teacher and role model for young people. The jury recognizes Alanis Obomsawin's longstanding career and significant contribution to Canadian filmmaking with this Governor General's Award."
Joan Chalmers, philanthropist, Toronto, Ontario
"The name of Joan Chalmers is synonymous with generosity towards the arts. Chalmers has distinguished herself not only for her financial support for the arts, but by the energy she has devoted to the development of the arts, especially fine crafts. She has brought wisdom and leadership to countless arts boards, including those of the Canadian Crafts Council, the World Crafts Council, Aid to Artisans, the Glenn Gould Foundation and the Stratford Festival. She has supported individual artists, bought buildings (her donation allowed the Ontario Crafts Council to purchase its headquarters in Toronto) and helped launch arts projects (for example, Survivors, In Search of a Voice: the Art of Courage, a collaboration by 24 women artists and over 100 breast-cancer survivors). The jury is proud to acknowledge and salute a Canadian institution."
Selection of laureates
The winners of the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts were chosen by an independent peer jury of artists and visual and media arts professionals from across Canada.
To be nominated for one of the six artistic awards, candidates must have created an outstanding body of work and have made a significant contribution to the development of the visual or media arts over a significant period of time. Professional artists are eligible for nominations in the following four categories: fine arts (painting and drawing, photography and print-making, and sculpture, including installation and other three-dimensional work); applied arts (architecture and fine crafts); independent film and video; and audio and new media. The laureates are selected from among the nominees by a jury of artists and visual and media arts professionals from across Canada.
The members of this year's jury were: Alan Dunning (new media artist, Calgary); Peggy Gale (curator and writer; Toronto); Nan Griffiths (professor of architecture, Ottawa); Garry Neill Kennedy (visual artist; Hubbard, Nova Scotia); Lee Ann Martin (curator, Ottawa); Guido Molinari (visual artist and professor; Montreal); Jayce Salloum (media artist, Vancouver); and Carol Wainio (visual artist; Montreal).
Awards ceremony - March 21
The 2001 Awards will be presented in the Ballroom of Rideau Hall (the residence of the Governor General of Canada in Ottawa), One Sussex Drive, by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, on Wednesday, March 21 at 4 p.m. Media wishing to cover the ceremony should contact the Press Office at Rideau Hall, (613) 998-0287.
A gala reception and dinner in honour of the winners will be held that evening (by invitation only).
Exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada - March 22
The National Gallery of Canada will open an exhibition in celebration of the laureates and their works on Thursday, March 22 (note new date). The exhibition will include information on all seven laureates, and feature works by Tom Dean, Jamelie Hassan and Liz Magor. Media representatives are invited to attend the official opening of the exhibition, which will take place from 10 a.m. until 12 noon in the Great Hall of the National Gallery, 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa. Journalists wishing to preview the exhibition can do so the previous day, Wednesday, March 21, at 10 a.m. Those interested in attending the media preview should contact Marie Lugli at the National Gallery of Canada, (613) 990-6835.
In cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, the National Gallery will also show two films by Alanis Obomsawin in the gallery's Lecture Hall. Kanehsatake : 270 Years of Resistance will be shown in English on Thursday, March 22 at 11 a.m. and in French on Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. Rocks at Whiskey Trench will be shown in English on Thursday, March 29 at 6 p.m. and in French on Sunday, April 1 at 2 p.m.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Peter Milliken, will recognize the laureates in the House of Commons on Thursday, March 22, immediately following Question Period.
Tribute to Alanis Obomsawin on APTN
The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, will pay tribute to the films of Alanis Obomsawin with a series of special broadcasts between March 21 and April 29. Check the National Film Board's website, www.nfb.ca/alanis for films and times.
For more information
Biographical information on the laureates, together with downloadable images of the artists and selected works, are available on the Canada Council website, www.canadacouncil.ca/prizes/ggavma.