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Darcie Bernhardt with NUNGKI (2019): Oil on canvas.Wren Tian-Morris/Handout

The three recipients of the William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Artists have been announced. The $5,000 awards from The Hnatyshyn Foundation are intended to nurture talent in the visual arts in Canada.


Darcie Bernhardt is an Inuvialuk/Gwichin painter from Tuktuyaaqtuuq, NWT. Guná (Megan Jensen) is a Tlingit dancer and interdisciplinary artist from Yukon who recently graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. The third laureate is Jessica Winters, an Inuk painter, printmaker and textile artist from Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, in Labrador.

“This prize money will give me the time and headspace to focus on work – distraction and barrier-free,” Winters said in a statement.

The prizes were initiated in 2012 by artist Charles Pachter. They are now supported by former Ontario cabinet minister William Saunderson and his wife, Meredith Saunderson.

“I am touched to be a part of this award and especially feeling affirmed to continue making work for my community and people that have shaped who I am,” said prize winner Bernhardt. According to the new laureate’s bio, Bernhardt’s work explores visual storytelling as “tradition, birthright and decolonial memory preservation.”

Jessica Winters.Handout

Prize winner Guná, according to her bio, “participates in deconstructing and interrogating Eurocentric pedagogy and methodologies in order to build a new foundation stemming from values of diversity, cultural receptivity, empowerment, encouragement and affirmation.” In a statement, she said the award would enable her to have more time to make space for reflection and creation – “something that is never easy in our current world.”

The Hnatyshyn Foundation recently named Montreal-based multidisciplinary artist Hajra Waheed as the winner of its $25,000 Visual Arts Award, presented for outstanding achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist. Michelle Jacques, chief curator at the Remai Modern in Saskatoon, was the winner of the $15,000 Award for Curatorial Excellence in contemporary art.

The Hnatyshyn Foundation is a private charity established by former governor-general Ray Hnatyshyn and his wife, Gerda Hnatyshyn. This summer the foundation offered 20 prizes of $10,000 to performing artists of Ukrainian-Canadian heritage and for Ukrainian performing artists. The late Hnatyshyn was the grandson of a Ukrainian immigrant family.