Creator: Don Domanski
Nominator: Julia McCarthy
All our Wonder Unavenged represents the mature accomplishment of a poet with a unique, finely honed voice. Cape Breton native Don Domanski speaks to a wholeness of being in poems that are intimate yet vast, specific yet breathtakingly universal. He finds the marvelous in the ordinary, transforming familiar places and sentiments into transcendent images that persist long after reading. Critics have called this Governor General’s Award-winning collection “a spiritual and metaphysical triumph.” Domanski himself comments: “through poetry, we can realize that the entire universe stands where we are standing right now, every stone, cricket and star occupying the same space and moment with us …”
Creators: Jennifer Overton, Scott Burke, Rejean Cournoyer, Denyse Karn, Michael Doherty and Bruce MacLennan
Nominator: Christopher Shore
Based on Jennifer Overton’s book Snapshots of Autism, this brilliant production is the result of six experienced theatre artists working very effectively together. God’s Middle Name episodically traces life with an autistic child, following the mother’s emotional journey from denial to acceptance. Honest, touching and informative — yet infused with humour and moments of high comedy – the play tackles serious subject-matter in a way that avoids being preachy or melodramatic. It is also artistically innovative. Drawing on a range of theatrical genres, from vaudeville through reality TV to crime thrillers, the play’s economical staging blends lighting, music, costumes and set into a seamless, thoroughly engaging production.
Creator: John Little
Nominator: Susan MacAlpine Foshay
Fabricated entirely from stainless steel, Nova Scotian blacksmith John Little’s Tectonic Shift is an imposing, complex sculpture that marries the craft of the metalsmith with the art of a musician. Visually intriguing, producing a range of sounds that can best be described as ‘orchestral’ in their colour and variety, this unique interactive instrument invites collaborative and creative responses. Coming to life differently with each artist who works with it, Tectonic Shift provides an enormous palette of sounds with which to experiment. It is also continuously evolving as composers create new works especially for it. This delightful and innovative musical sculpture offers the excitement of discovery to all who engage with it, whether viewer, listener, performer or composer.
Creator: Garry Neill Kennedy
Nominator: Ray Cronin
Garry Neill Kennedy’s The Colours of Citizen Arar is a powerful, audacious painting that occupied the entire two-story LeRoy and Marguerite Zwicker Gallery at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia from June 2007 to March 2008. Dramatically filling the space with intense vertical bands of colour, the work’s more sinister references slowly cohere out of the black forms of the superimposed text: these are the colours of the bruises, the humiliations and instruments of torture experienced by Canadian citizen Maher Arar during his infamous interrogation in Syria. One of Nova Scotia’s premier artists, internationally-known Kennedy has often dealt with issues of power in his conceptually challenging paintings; however, this is his most overtly political, and arguably most moving, work.
Creator: Scott Macmillan
Nominator: Barbara Butler
Scored for a unique mix of traditional and orchestral instruments, Within Sight of Shore is one of Scott Macmillan’s finest compositions, and certainly his most personal, describing the sinking of his father’s minesweeper as it approached Halifax harbour in the last days of World War II. Programmatic in the best sense of the word, the composition cleverly and movingly draws the listener into its story through a remarkable integration of musical genres. The torpedo blast, the ASDIC ping, the calls of the survivors in the frigid Atlantic waters are all graphically realized without surrendering the musical integrity of the work. This is a mature, complex example of contemporary serious music, with an emotional staying power that leaves a profound and lasting impression.