Four Finalists Announced for 2021 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award

Halifax, Nova Scotia/Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki – We are pleased to announce that four works have been selected as Finalists for the 2021 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award: Lagomorph (Alexander MacLeod and Andrew Steeves); Porøs (Neil Forrest); The Princess Show (Aaron Collier, Deonie Hudson, and Riche Wilcox); and The Sirens’ Calling (John Greer).

Established by the Honourable Myra Freeman in 2005, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award recognizes the excellence of a particular work of art from any media. These works have a strong connection to Nova Scotia, have made a significant impact through their public presentation, and have contributed to the historical development and contemporary practice of the art form. The Masterwork exemplifies mastery across four distinct criteria: originality, artistic maturity, impact, and contribution to Nova Scotia. 

In 2021, three Nova Scotian artists from across the province formed a multidisciplinary jury working at arm’s-length from the Foundation to select the four shortlisted works. The Masterworks Arts Award is open to work from all creative mediums, and as such, the Foundation ensures that jury members represent a broad spectrum of artistic disciplines, and all are highly experienced in their respective fields. Names of the jurors will be made public in the fall.

The Masterworks Arts Award is the largest cultural award based in Nova Scotia and this year will award $34,000 to the Creators of four finalist works. Each work on the shortlist is awarded a $3,000 Finalist Prize. The Creator of the Masterwork will receive an additional $22,000 Winner Prize, for a grand total of $25,000.  Descriptions of the Finalists are enclosed below and on the Foundation website: www.nsmasterworks.ca. 

The Masterworks Foundation invites the public to celebrate these works and their Creators during the Artists & Conversation panel where each will speak about their creative processes. This free event will take place on November 1st, 2021 via livestream. The winning work will be announced in the late fall. 

The Award is administered by the Nova Scotia Masterworks Awards Foundation, and is generously sponsored by Arts Nova Scotia, The Craig Foundation, and individual donors. 

For further information, including print-quality photos, contact:

admin@nsmasterworks.ca 

 

2021 Masterworks Award Finalists

(In alphabetical order by work)

Lagomorph

Creators: Alexander MacLeod, author & Andrew Steeves, book designer & printer

Nominator: Marilyn Smulders, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia

Photo: Gaspereau Press

Lagomorph is a short story about the relationship between a man and the family pet, a rabbit named Gunther. Bound in an exquisite hand-printed, hand-stitched, and hand-bound letterpress book by Gaspereau Press in 2020, the work impressed the jurors with its mastery of craft and its innovative use of traditional forms.

Lagomorph occupies a unique position at the epicentre of complementary circumstances. The narrative is contemporary in setting and tone, yet its themes of connection, change, and intimacy are as timeless and time-honoured as the methods through which the story was bound. The traditional typeface and binding of the book infuses the modern story with perennial spirit while the bygone process through which the book was made gives it elements of novelty and nostalgia perfectly attuned to our zeitgeist. Even the subject of the story itself, Gunther, is an homage to the many anthropomorphized lagomorphs of classic fiction while being thoroughly realistic and utterly silent in his own role as cypher.

As the jury commented: “Lagomorph is exemplary in its quality and masterful artisanship, inside and out. The work stays with you long after you put it down.”

Porøs

 

Creator:
Neil Forrest, sculptor

Nominator:
Peter Henry

Porøs is a sculptural installation exploring and celebrating the fundamental nature of clay and its relationship with the elements. Designed as a sort of hybrid-grotto, the work awed the jury with its complex and multifaceted realization, which incorporates water, air, and chemical elements to create a library of living pieces demonstrating active geological and chemical processes.

A truly avant-garde creation, Porøs is unique in the realm of sculpture for how it treats the natural porosity of clay not as a problem but as an artistic solution. The work features innovative techniques that form a four-dimensional showcase of carefully calculated reactions. With a purposefully visible network of pumps and plumbing, observers witness the pieces become crystalized, atomized, penetrated, and eroded in a manner almost more befitting a scientists’ lab than an art installation. Despite its hyper-modern elements, Porøs does not forget the legacy of ceramics – instead, the work implements the history of the form by using classic structures such as cisterns, bells, and other large vessels as the subjects of the processes. 

As the jury commented: “Porøs is what is possible when an artist has mastered their medium. It creates a dialogue with the form as a whole.”

The Princess Show

Creators: Aaron Collier, Deonie Hudson, & Richie Wilcox, theatre artists

Nominator: Karen Gross

Photo: Samson Photography

The Princess Show is a joyful theatre piece combining elements of drag performance and anime aesthetics to create a nuanced and welcoming production. Featuring original musical compositions, entirely lip-synced dialogue, and immersive projection designs, the work delighted the jury with its transportive, colourful world and new ways of thinking.

The Princess Show follows its protagonist, Princess Edward, on a journey to rescue her beloved, Abel T. Suckizone while also learning to conquer self-doubt and embrace self-love. The play synthesizes pop culture, techno, video games, and drag elements to form a cohesive work that is complex in delivery but ultimately simple and honest in its storytelling. The performance of the work is highly choreographed and requires extensive rehearsal as performers must master delivery of every pre-recorded element yet infuse them with the sense of live dialogue. Lauded by audiences across the nation, the work transcends its many genres of influence to create something universally appealing and profound.

As the jury commented: “The Princess Show is a powerful realization of contemporary Nova Scotian identity. It holds an important space for queerness and invites audiences to consider different ways of being.”

The Sirens’ Calling

Creator: John Greer, sculptor

Nominator: David Diviney,
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Photo: Raoul Manuel Schnell

The Sirens’ Calling is a large-scale public sculptural installation composed of four bisected Greek figures, the backs of each are fully articulated in their archaic style while their fronts are flat, two-dimensional mirror-polished stainless-steel surfaces. The work dazzled the jurors with its scale, craftmanship, and innovation of form.

The four figures of The Siren’s Calling each face a different direction, inspired by the Cardinal points. In silhouette, the works can be interpreted as stepping forward or receding – a decision left entirely to the observer. With its strong ties to archaic form, the work rearticulates the bygone language of ancient sculptural practice for the modern era. With its dualistic form The Sirens’ Calling overcomes the issue facing many publicly installed sculptural works: obsoletion. Thanks to the mirror-fronts of the images, the work literally features the environment in which it is placed, making its surroundings part of its composition and constantly adapting to changes while remaining steadfast in its placement.

As the jury commented: “The Sirens’ Calling is a pinnacle of public sculpture – uniting observers with the work and surroundings. A masterfully crafted work reflective of and accessible to all.”  

About the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award

Established by the Honourable Myra Freeman in 2005, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award recognizes the excellence of a particular work of art or design from any media. These works have a strong connection to Nova Scotia; have made a significant impact through their public presentation; and have contributed to the historical development and contemporary practice of the art form.

The Masterworks Arts Award is the largest cultural award based in Nova Scotia, annually awarding up to $37,000 to finalist Creators. Each work on the shortlist is awarded a $3,000 Finalist Prize. The Creator(s) of one of the Finalist works will then receive the $22,000 Grand Prize, for a total of $25,000, to be announced in the fall each year. The Award is administered by the Nova Scotia Masterworks Awards Foundation, and is generously sponsored by Arts Nova Scotia, The Craig Foundation, and individual donors. The Foundation receives administrative support through Strategic Arts Management.

About the Peer Evaluation Process

In 2021, three Nova Scotian artists from across the province formed a multidisciplinary jury working at arm’s-length from the Foundation to select the four shortlisted works. The Masterworks Arts Award is open to work from all creative mediums, and as such, the Foundation ensures that jury members represent a broad spectrum of artistic disciplines, and all are highly experienced in their respective fields. Names of the jurors will be made public in the fall.