Artists from Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia received cheques for $25,000 each Tuesday in Toronto as the 2011 laureates for the Governor-General's Awards for excellence in visual and media arts.
The eight recipients, including Calgary art critic/journalist Nancy Tousley, winner of the "outstanding achievement" award, were honoured at a brief ceremony for lifetime accomplishments in a variety of practices and idioms by juries administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. The council started the awards in 1999.
Artists from Toronto represented the single largest bloc of winners, with three - multimedia visual artist Robert Fones, avant-garde filmmaker Barbara Sternberg and painter Shirley Wiitasalo. Vancouverites David Rimmer and Michael Morris were recognized for their achievements in, respectively, independent filmmaking and multimedia art production, curating and performance art. Montreal's Geneviève Cadieux, Canada's entry at the 1990 Venice Biennale, was honoured for her experimental photo-based works.
The Saidye Bronfman Award, established in 2006, recognizes excellence in fine crafts and this year it's going to Kye-Yeon Son, a Halifax metalsmith and professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University.
The eight winners will officially receive their awards, including a special-issue medallion, from Governor-General David Johnston on March 23 at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. An exhibition of selected works by the laureates runs March 25 through June 19 at the National Gallery of Canada, also in Ottawa. Staff