Creators: Tedd Robinson (choreographer), Jacinte Armstrong, Rhonda Baker, Susanne Chui, Ruth-Ellen Kroll-Jackson (dancers), Mocean Dance (producer).
Nominator: Don Rieder.
Created and produced by Mocean Dance, Canvas 5 x 5 was first presented by Live Art Dance in Halifax in 2012. It includes notable improvised passages. The four female dancers enact the imagined origins of Celtic dance, accompanied by recorded Celtic music. Throughout the performance, the dancers deploy lengths of canvas to unique effect. The dance is profound in its integration of form and concept. One of the dancers, Ruth-Ellen Kroll-Jackson, was a 2015 Masterworks Juror.
“The dancers are athletic and precise, and their performance appears effortless. The choreography serves them perfectly.”
“Canvas 5 x 5 is the best dance to come out of this province. It raises the bar.”
Mocean Dance, now in its 15th year, is a company-in-residence at Halifax Dance.
Creator: Dinuk Wijeratne (composer)
Nominator: Bernhard Gueller
The Concerto for Tabla and Orchestra received its premiere from Symphony Nova Scotia in 2012. It is a symphonic composition for a non-Western solo instrument and Western classical orchestra. Creator Dinuk Wijeratne’s notation is innovative in its scoring of an Indian instrument, the tabla, within the Western concerto form. The composition combines Eastern and Western forms without compromise. The Jury is proud to acknowledge the composition’s Nova Scotian origin. The Concerto for Tabla and Orchestra is building a legacy of cultural fusion in music, thanks to the outstanding musicianship of Dinuk Wijeratne. Concerto for Tabla and Orchestra was a 2012 Masterworks Finalist; it was eligible for renomination because it has since received international performances and taken its place in the repertoire. Bernhard Gueller nominated the work both in 2012 and 2016.
Jury Comments: “Visually evocative, well-crafted and beautifully structured. The recitation adds a level of pleasure that lifts the whole piece.”
Dinuk Wijeratne was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in Dubai, and lives in Nova Scotia.
Creator: Jonathan Otter (woodworker)
Nominator: Suzanne Allen-Bastow
This is the second Masterworks Finalist by Creator Jonathan Otter, whose J Class Lounge Chair and Footstool was selected in 2012. Lounge Chair No. 2 (2015) is composed of black walnut and white ash, with strikingly fluid legs-to-seat joinery. As a handmade object the chair demonstrates breathtaking technical skill. Its form is sculpturally conceived—a masterful example of fine craft and design. The chair’s design is visibly rooted in Nova Scotian forms, and encompasses multiple strands of design history in one work. The resulting singularity sums up its impact.
Jury Comments: “[We are] impressed by the graceful blending of the traditional with the modern.”
Jonathan Otter is an award-winning furniture designer and maker in Earltown.
Creator: Ursula Johnson (visual artist), Nominator: Jan Peacock
This complex work by a leading Indigenous artist, Ursula Johnson, was exhibited at Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery in 2014. Johnson’s decolonizing presentation of Mi’kmaw basket-weaving blends performance, craft and a conceptual approach. In it the artist pays tribute to her great-grandmother Caroline Gould, a renowned Mi’kmaw basket maker who influenced generations of basket makers, including her great granddaughter. The multi-part installation also expands the discourse on post-colonial display and Indigenous self-representation. Mi’kwite’tmn lays claim to Indigenous instruments of meaning-making, employing non-Indigenous museological frameworks to advance Indigenous language and ways of knowing. The exhibition’s national tour and trilingual catalogue will significantly advance the impact of this work on conversations about contemporary Indigenous artmaking. Mi’kwite’tmn” is pronounced “Meh-gwih-DAY-duh-min.”
Jury Comments: “Intelligent, witty, and humble.”
Ursula Johnson is an emerging performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry.
Creators: Hannah Moscovitch (playwright), Christian Barry (director), Nominator: Roberta Barker
Produced by 2b theatre company and presented at Neptune Theatre in Halifax, What a Young Wife Ought to Know is a new play by the distinguished Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch. Set in the 1920s, the play deals with women’s sexuality and abortion. Moscovitch’s bold drama is staged with 2b’s typical technical precision, enhanced by exceptional lighting and set design. This theme is handled in a courageous, engaging fashion, with a high level of artistic accomplishment on all fronts, including masterful direction by Christian Barry. The production shows growing artistic maturity on the part of 2b theatre company. The play is set in Ottawa, but could have happened in any Canadian town. 2b theatre company produced 2013 Masterworks Finalist When It Rains, by Anthony Black, Nick Bottomley, and Christian Barry.
Jury Comments: “This play will end up in the lexicon of Canadian theatre. It’s going to be remembered.”
Hannah Moscovitch is an award-winning playwright based in Halifax.
Christian Barry is a director, dramaturge, actor, writer, and designer from Halifax.