The Hnatyshyn Foundation, a private arts charity founded by former Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn, presented a number of prizes to Indigenous artists and curators on September 19, 2016.
2016 Mid-Career Awards in Visual Arts
Award for Outstanding Achievement as an Artist
The Hnatyshyn Foundation's $25,000 award for outstanding achievement by a mid-career Canadian artist was presented to Peter Morin, Tahltan Nation artist, curator and writer. Morin recently relocated from BC to Brandon Manitoba where he joined the Visual and Aboriginal Arts Faculty at Brandon University. In both his artistic practice and as his curatorial work Morin investigates the impact between Indigenous cultural-based practices and western settler colonialism. This work, defined by Tahltan Nation epistemological production, often takes on the form of performance interventions. Morin has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions including Team Diversity Bannock and the World’s Largest Bannock Attempt (2005), A return to the place where God outstretched his hand (2007); 12 Making Objects AKA First Nations DADA (12 Indigenous Interventions) (2009); Peter Morin's Museum (2011); Peter Morin’s Ceremony Experiments 1 through 8 Circle (2013). In addition to his art making and performance-based practice, Morin has curated exhibitions at the Museum of Anthropology, Western Front, Bill Reid Gallery, and Yukon Art Centre. Morin is an alumnus of Emily Carr University.
Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art
The winner of the $15,000 award for curatorial excellence in contemporary art is Tania Willard of Chase, BC. Willard works within the shifting ideas of contemporary and traditional as it relates bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures. Her recent curatorial work includes: Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture, CUSTOM MADE, Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Work to Rule: Krista Belle Stewart, Nanitch: Historical BC photography and BUSH gallery.
The 2016 awards were adjudicated by Glenn Alteen – Vancouver-based curator and writer, co-founder and program director at grunt Gallery; David Balzer – author, editor-in-chief of Canadian Art Magazine; Marie-Ève Beaupré – curator at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; David Garneau – artist, associate professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina; and Linda Graif – art consultant.
2016 Developing Artist Grants
Six young performing artists will receive grants of $10,000 to pursue their studies for the 2016-17 academic year. This brings to $910,000 the amount invested in post-secondary grants since the Foundation began programming in 2005.
Matt Lagan of Toronto is the winner of the Oscar Peterson Grant for Jazz Performance. The promising young saxophonist will continue his studies in the Bachelor of Music program at Humber College this year.
Simona Genga of Vaughn, Ontario is the recipient of the grant for Classical Vocal Performance. Simona begins a Masters Degree of Opera at the University of Toronto in the fall.
Sebastien Malette of London, Ontario receives the award for Classical Music - Orchestral Instrument. The young bassoonist will complete his Bachelor of Music Honours Performance at Western University.
Kerry Waller of Montreal is the laureate in the category Classical Music - Piano. Kerry will continue his studies at the Université de Montréal this year.
Étienne Gagnon-Delorme of Montreal receives the grant for Contemporary Dance. The 19-year-old will complete his final year of undergraduate studies at l’École supérieure de Ballet du Québec starting this fall.
Rosalie Daoust of Québec is the winner of the grant for Acting - French Theatre. Rosalie is entering her final year in drama at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec.
In addition to the $10,000 grant, laureates in classical music and jazz may be invited to perform in a concert at Bourgie Hall in the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal.
2016 William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Canadian Artists
In addition, three artists will receive $5,000 grants. Amy Malbeuf, Jeneen Frei Njootli and Olivia Whetung take home the $5,000 prizes, which are intended to nurture emerging talent in the visual arts in Canada. The winners were selected by Candice Hopkins, 2015 recipient of the Hnatyshyn Award for Curatorial Excellence.
Amy Malbeuf is a Métis visual artist from Rich Lake, Alberta. Through utilizing mediums such as caribou hair tufting, beadwork, installation, performance, and video, Malbeuf explores notions of identity, language, and ecology. She has participated in many international artist residencies and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. She holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Vuntut Gwitchin artist and a founding member of the ReMatriate collective. In 2012, she graduated from Emily Carr University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and went on to a Visual Art Studio Work Study position at The Banff Centre, followed by two thematic residencies there. She recently completed her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of British Columbia as an uninvited guest on unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories. Performance artist, curator, fashion designer, workshop facilitator and crime-prevention youth-coordinator are some of the positions Frei Njootli has held while exhibiting across Canada. She has an upcoming solo exhibition at Macaulay & Co. Fine Arts in Vancouver, January 2017. Frei Njootli is from Old Crow, Yukon, and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Olivia Whetung is anishinaabekwe and a member of Curve Lake First Nation. She completed her BFA with a minor in anishinaabemowin at Algoma University in 2013, and her MFA at the University of British Columbia in 2016. Whetung works in various media including beadwork, printmaking, and digital media. Her work explores acts of/active native presence, as well as the challenges of working with/in/through Indigenous languages in an art world dominated by the English language. Her work is informed in part by her experiences as an anishinaabemowin learner. Whetung is a recipient of a CGS-M Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Award and an Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship. Whetung is from the area now called the Kawarthas, and presently resides on Chemong Lake.