A textile artist who specializes in embroidery, a Mississauga arts administrator and an internationally acclaimed conceptual artist are among this year’s winners of the Governor-General’s Awards for visual and media arts.
Anna Torma of Baie Verte, N.B., wins the Saidye Bronfman Award for fine crafts in recognition of her long-time studio practice in textiles. The artist, an émigré from Hungary, creates large works of hand-embroidery in an idiosyncratic storytelling style.
Zainub Verjee of Mississauga has been recognized for her outstanding contribution as an administrator and policy specialist: She is executive director of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries and is known as a thinker on diversity in the arts.
The other six winners are named for their lifetime artistic achievements and include the conceptual photo-and-text-artist Ken Lum, a Vancouverite who now lives in Philadelphia, where he teaches at the University of Pennsylvania; Dana Claxton, a Vancouver artist and filmmaker of Lakota heritage whose recent portraits consider Indigenous identity; and Toronto experimental filmmaker Jorge Lozano.
The other winners are the Toronto multimedia artist Deanna Bowen whose recent work uses family and public archives to uncover black social history in Canada; Ruth Cuthand, a Saskatoon artist of Cree ancestry known for her beadwork commenting on colonialism and as a figure who has helped establish contemporary Indigenous art; and the Nova Scotia artist Michael Fernandes, who uses familiar objects to question the difference between everyday life and art.
The awards are administered by the Canada Council; winners are chosen by peer juries and each receives $25,000. They will be honoured at a ceremony in Edmonton July 3.