Halifax, Nova Scotia – Five works of art have been selected as the finalists for the 2016 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award. As well as receiving a $3,000 prize for being short-listed, the Creators are also in the running for an additional $22,000 grand prize that will be announced at the Creative Nova Scotia Gala in November. The public are invited to celebrate the finalist works of art at a panel discussion to be held in Halifax in September. Now in its 11th year the award remains the largest award given annually to any particular work of art in Nova Scotia.
This year, five Nova Scotian artists formed a multidisciplinary jury working at arm’s-length from the Masterworks Foundation to select the short-listed works. Jury members represented a broad spectrum of artistic disciplines, all highly experienced in their respective fields. Names of the jurors will be made public once the winner is announced in the fall. Description and images of the short listed works can be found below or on the Foundation website: www.nsmasterworks.ca.
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 made a significant impact in its public presentation and contributed to the historical development and contemporary practice of the art form.
It is sponsored by Scotiabank, Arts Nova Scotia, The Craig Foundation, McInnes Cooper, and individual donors.
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2016 Finalists for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award
Canvas 5 x 5
Creators: Tedd Robinson (choreographer), Jacinte Armstrong, Rhonda Baker, Susanne Chui, Ruth-Ellen Kroll-Jackson (dancers). 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 was choreographed by Tedd Robinson, and 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 Jury commented that “the dancers are athletic and precise, and their performance appears effortless. The choreography serves them perfectly.“ Canvas 5 x 5 is a major step for Mocean Dance, and the execution of dance at its finest. The dance is profound in its integration of form and concept. The appearance on stage near the end of the live bagpiper intensifies the audience’s experience.
The Jury exclaimed that “Canvas 5 x 5 is the best dance to come out of this province. It raises the bar”.
One of the dancers, Ruth-Ellen Kroll-Jackson, was a 2015 Masterworks Juror. The other dancers are Jacinte Armstrong, Rhonda Baker, and Susanne Chui.
Concerto for Tabla and Orchestra
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; it has integrity. The Jury found the composition “visually evocative, well crafted, and beautifully structured. The recitation adds a level of pleasure that lifts the whole piece.” 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.
Lounge Chair No. 2
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 Jury was impressed by the graceful blending of the traditional with the modern. 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.
Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember)
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 Jury characterized the work as “intelligent, witty, and humble.” The exhibition’s national tour and trilingual catalogue will significantly advance the impact of this work on conversations about contemporary Indigenous artmaking.
Nominator Jan Peacock nominated 2012 Masterworks Winner Range Light Borden – Carleton PEI 2010, by Kim Morgan.
What a Young Wife Ought to Know
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. One Juror commented, “This play will end up in the lexicon of Canadian theatre. It’s going to be remembered.”
2b theatre company produced 2013 Masterworks Finalist When It Rains, by Anthony Black, Nick Bottomley, and Christian Barry.
Description and images of the short listed works can be found on the Foundation website: www.nsmasterworks.ca.