Creators: Ted Cavanagh, Richard Kroeker, Roger Mullin, Alden Neufeld, and 23 designers/builders of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, Dalhousie University
Nominator: Grant Wanzel
Le Théâtre Petit Cercle playfully engages the infamous Suette winds of Cheticamp in this community project moored to a playground slide. In 2004, the French-speaking town celebrated 400 years of European settlement in Canada by hosting an international festival. This permanent outdoor theatre for children’s festival events has become the seed for a future arts camp to promote Acadian culture and local ways of building. Beginning with a surrealistic, derelict playground, instructors and students learned lessons from local construction, building rock-ballasted wooden cribwork walls “transparent to the wind.” The playground slide with windsock banner anchors the structure at a child-height entry, and suggests making an exciting, sliding “grand entry.” The walls are woven onto vertical ribs made from one-by-fours laminated each side of tapered blocking. One-by-three slats are set diagonally, screwed onto the inside and outside of the ribs creating a “cavity” partly filled with rock to ballast the structure during a Suette. Like boat hulls or baskets, the three dimensional curvature creates stiffness with relatively thin material. In fifteen days, the theatre was designed, built and nearly paid for.
Jury Comments: This work captures beautifully the sense of community which the arts can inspire and challenges us all to be innovative and involved with our communities. Le Petit Cercle is a team effort, a marriage of respected architects from Halifax and members of the Cheticamp community.
They created and erected a building that represents an ongoing and dazzling sense of wonder. The design is bold, innovative and visually startling. Made of local materials, it includes a focus on youth and exhibits a sense of function. It reflects back to the community and anyone who visits the area, the natural stark beauty, romance and human activity in this area of Cape Breton.
The work represents a permanent, visible source of pride for the local community and the entire province which will continue to be an inspiration for other artists.
Creator: Lorna Ramlochansingh
Nominator: Linda Maxwell
Lorna Ramlochansingh designs and weaves tapestries. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago, in the West Indies, and immigrated to Toronto in the early ‘70s.
After retiring from corporate business, she moved to Nova Scotia in 1993 where she established her tapestry studio in Sambro Head. Lorna lived in Nova Scotia until the spring of 2004 when she moved to Ottawa.
Lorna did her basic training in design at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, and her technical training in Gobelins weaving methods in France. She did related workshops at the NSCCD and the Atlantic Spinners and Handweavers’ Guild.
Lorna’s work with colour was greatly influenced by Joyce Chown, Professor Emeritus of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Lorna believes that this association contributed significantly to the success of her tapestry “Spirits of Coora Road”. Over her artistic career, Lorna has been awarded two Canada Council for the Arts Grants for Fine Craft.
Spirits Of Coora Road is a woven mural of stories of Trinidad folklore told to Lorna as a child by her father. The idea to convert these stories to tapestries came to her when she saw her first major tapestry at the Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam, Holland. To her, tapestry was the only medium that could express the beauty of these stories.
“Spirits” took two and one half years to complete from design to display.
“Spirits” was judged one of the top 30 tapestries from an international field of over 200 tapestries by the American Tapestry Alliance for their Biennial 5, exhibition in the USA during 2004 –2005.
It was the subject for a short video done by CBC Halifax, and shown to regional, national and international audiences. “Spirits” is currently in Trinidad on show at Carifesta 2006, which is a cultural showcase for Caribbean States. It is being presented as part of the Carifesta Bookfair, as storytelling in Book Art. It will be one of several contemporary tapestries to be included in a book on contemporary tapestry to be published in the USA later this year.
“Spirits of Coora Road” was designed and woven in Lorna’s studio at Sambro Head, N.S..
Jury Comments: This colourful and imaginative large tapestry shares an experience of life in Trinidad with the viewer. It’s a rare and vivid example of an art form that requires the utmost in individual commitment, tenacity and dedication.
It’s wonderful use of variously and vividly coloured materials, requires artistic vision and planning. It is full of depth and the overall effect provides the viewer a fresh, new experience.
Creator: Sue MacLeod
Nominator: Andrew Terris
Sue MacLeod has published two books of poetry, That Singing You Hear at the Edges and The Language of Rain.
Her poems have also appeared in journals and anthologies across the country and been broadcast on regional and national CBC.
She has been invited to read from her work in nine of Canada’s provinces, at venues ranging from the Ship Inn in St. John’s, to the Festival of Words in Moose Jaw, to Vancouver’s inner-city library at the corner of Hastings and Main.
Sue grew up in Toronto, but has lived in Nova Scotia since her teens and currently makes her home in downtown Halifax. As part of the writing community, she has served on the Board of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, taught poetry at The Tatamagouche Centre, and to students of all ages through the Writers in the Schools program.
From 2001-5, she was HRM’s inaugural Poet Laureate, and in that role she conceived of and edited To Find Us: Words and Images of Halifax.
Jury Comments: This anthology of words and images combined in a small compact book presents the city of Halifax as a warm, human and very real place. The combinations of words and photos inspire readers to become involved and create their own associations and conclusions.
The collection is diverse in class, age and culture and goes well beyond the stereotypical image of the city of Halifax.
Creator: Peter Allen
Nominator: Yvonne DeRoller
Native Haligonian Peter Allen is a well-respected concert pianist, teacher and composer.
He is currently Assistant Professor of Piano at Dalhousie University. He performs concertos with orchestra, chamber music, many solo recitals and is also a recording artist.
Commissions include “Mar Atlantico” (Canadian Debut: Symphony Nova Scotia at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa: Nova Scotian Debut at the Rebecca Cohn in Halifax–CBC broadcast), “Haligonian Rhapsody for Two Pianos”; “Maritime Suite for Clarinet and String Orchestra” and “String Quartet”, performed to standing ovations.
Variations on the Halifax Explosion was commissioned by Artistic Director Dr. Greg Burton of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. “Variations” signifies mood changes of the community and landscape.
The theme represents the sudden explosion, Variation 1 represents the devastation of land and it’s people; Variation 2 represents the lamenting grief of an individual; Variation 3 represents total chaos and confusion amongst the survivors, and Variation 4 represents firm resolve of the public to tend to the injured, bury the dead and rise above the catastrophe.
The coda represents a firm resignation and determination of the people of Halifax to overcome, survive and move forward, and the final chord represents a communal screaming cry for help.
Jury Comments: This is a substantial and “explosive” piece of music that resonates with a “world event” that all Nova Scotians can relate to.
The work is both challenging and accessible to the listener. It also challenges the performers, in this case The Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, to perform at a high standard of virtuosity and expression. Composed for the NSYO it is represents a superb means of communicating an historic event to the next generation.
It’s a masterwork that could be performed and have life in any symphonic concert hall in the world.
Creator: Rita McKeough
Nominator: Susan McEachern
Halifax based audio, media installation and performance artist Rita McKeough has exhibited extensively in Canada since 1977 and has presented her work internationally.
She has taught at various art institutions throughout Canada and has been a drummer in various bands. McKeough has maintained a commitment to artist run centers, community based art and music initiatives.
She insists that she has been fortunate to have the support and assistance of her friends and community to produce her work.
Born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, McKeough studied printmaking and sculpture at the University of Calgary where she received her BFA. She went on to study at the NSCAD University where she was awarded her MFA in 1979.
Jury Comments: This installation masterwork represents a sensitive blend of the rural and urban, a moment in time that stretches the senses and spans the deeply personal and regionally reflective.
It combines musical, sound, visual and historic elements and displays the diversity of the universal message of the sea; where land meets the sea.