Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gabor Szilasi awarded Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts

Artists get GG awards

By Denis Armstrong, Ottawa Sun

"Six Canadian artists were awarded the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts at the National Gallery of Canada Wednesday.

Haida sculptor and printmaker Robert Davidson, filmmaker Andre Forcier, painter Rita Letendre, video artist Tom Sherman, photographer Gabor Szilasi, painter Claude Tousignant and glass sculptor Ione Thorkelsson were acknowledged by an independent jury of their peers for their “significant contribution to the development of visual and media arts over the lifetime of their careers.” Administrator Terry Ryan won the Outstanding Contribution Award for his work with the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Each GG laureate was given $25,000 at a swanky dinner, hosted by Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean at Rideau Hall Wednesday night, and an exhibition of their work will open at the National Gallery Saturday and run until June 20.

It’s our way of thanking groundbreaking artists, who began working in the 1970s, for their contributions to our national cultural heritage, even if most Canadians don’t know who they are.

Take, for example, Andre Forcier. Barely known in English Canada, the pioneering Quebec filmmaker put French Canada on international screens in the early 1970s with his films “Bar Salon,” “L’eau chaude, l’eau frette” and “La vent du Wyoming.”

Toronto’s Tom Sherman began experimenting with video art practically before there was video, certainly as we now know it. The co-founder of Toronto’s Fuse Magazine and the alternative A Space Video Gallery, Sherman’s video work was so new in the 1970s, there was one of only three locations in that entire city you could see it; A Space, Trinity Video and TV Ontario.

Or Gabor Szilasi, the Hungarian immigrant who began snapping stills of Montreal’s streetlife as early as 1959 and continues right up to today. (The National Gallery hosted an exhibition of Szilasi’s large-scale photographs in 2009.)

This is as good as Canadian art gets. The seven winners are all internationally esteemed artists within art circles.

Getting recognized by the average Canadian is another matter altogether, which is why the Governor General’s Award was created in 1999 in the first place.

Sherman will present a free screening of his video art at the National Gallery’s lecture hall on April 17 at 2 p.m.

Then, on April 22 at 6 p.m, the public is invited to a screening of Forcier’s latest film “Je me souviens” — with English subtitles — also at the gallery’s lecture hall."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Love seeing a creative mind work and gain success!!!!!! Hope it continues to grow!