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A "diehard socialist" Vancouver artist is now $25,000 richer. Eric Metcalfe (aka Dr. Brute) is the winner of this year's Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts.

The irreverent multimedia artist is probably best known for performance pieces with his wife, Kate Craig, that elevated leopard-spot patterns into high art. His leopard spots have adorned everything from saxophones to the Vancouver Art Gallery's walls.

The 65-year-old artist was a founding member of Vancouver's artist-run Western Front, where he curated performance art from 1980 to 1995. He taught for nearly a decade at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and his installations have been shown at the National Gallery of Canada and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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At yesterday's ceremony, Damian Moppett and Marianne Nicolson were also announced as this year's VIVA award winners for visual arts. The two B.C. artists will each receive $12,000 from the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation.

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