Halifax, Nova Scotia – Five works have been selected as the Finalists for the 2018 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award. During this, the 13th year of the award, the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award Foundation introduced the option of self-nomination and were pleased with the positive response from the community.
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 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, and this year will award $37,000 to the Creators of five finalist works. Each work on the shortlist (see below) is awarded a $3,000 Finalist Prize. The Creator(s) of one of the Finalist works will then receive the $22,000 Grand Prize, to be announced in the fall at the annual Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala.
This year, six Nova Scotian artists formed a multidisciplinary jury working at arm’s-length from the Foundation to select the short-listed 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 that all are highly experienced in their respective fields. Names of the jurors will be made public once the Winner is announced in the fall. Descriptions of the Finalists can be found below or on the Foundation website: www.nsmasterworks.ca.
The Award is generously sponsored by Arts Nova Scotia, The Craig Foundation, and individual donors.
For further information, including print-quality photos, contact:
Strategic Arts Management
2018 Finalists for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award
In Alphabetical Order by Work:
And I Alone Escaped to Tell You
Creator: Sylvia D. Hamilton
Nominator: Dorota Glowacka
Bound in a beautifully designed edition published by Gaspereau Press in 2014, these poems describe the settlement of African peoples in Nova Scotia. The author herself is a direct descendant of the free, self-liberated Black Refugees from the War of 1812. The narrative is focused through an intimate lens, with each speaker gifted with a distinct voice, magnified through devices such as lyric poetry, haiku, epistle, persona poems and poetic prose. Hamilton reinvents the genre of the “slave narrative” and creates a new language to describe African people who had been enslaved but who set themselves free rather than “being liberated.” Instead of calling them “runaways” she coined the term “Freedom Runners,” an expression now gaining currency among scholars.
The book has been incorporated into university and public school syllabi. The jury noted the work’s “powerful sense of agency,” achieved in part through the transformation of language.
Creator: Cory Bowles
Nominator: Nelson MacDonald
Produced by Aaron Horton and premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017, Black Cop is Cory Bowles’ first feature-length film. A provocative satire, the film implicates audiences in the phenomenon of anti-black racism. Bowles is a well-known African-Nova Scotian screen actor, dancer and choreographer who brought all of his skills to the making of Black Cop. Remarkably, the film integrates material in a variety of formats, including POV shots from chest cams, cell phones and TV news footage, with direct address monologues and radio talk show chatter.
The jury marveled that this film addressing blackness in Canada got made at all. They commented that the work reflects a personalized artistic vision, which can be difficult to achieve in narrative feature films. Finally, they praised “the revolutionary way in which this film engages and understands both the Black and the white gaze.”
Crazy Girl Crazy
Creator: Barbara Hannigan
Nominator: Lorna MacDonald
Born in Waverley, Nova Scotia, Barbara Hannigan now enjoys an international career as a conductor and soprano. Her 2017 debut recording Crazy Girl Crazy presents a program she devised, including Berg’s Lulu Suite, her new arrangement of music from Gershwin’s Girl Crazy, and Berio’s Sequenza III for solo voice. The pieces are linked in a dramaturgical way, through an emotional theme. Throughout the album, the roles of conductor and soprano soloist are combined in the person of Barbara Hannigan. The album also contains a DVD recording exchanges between Hannigan and the musicians of the LUDWIG Orchestra during rehearsals and recording.
Acknowledging the originality of performing as both singer and conductor, the jury also noted the virtuosity of the performance, and the potential for Hannigan to carry the Nova Scotia “brand” to the world stage.
In The Wide Awe and Wisdom – Choral Works by Paul Halley
Creator: Paul Halley
Nominator: Barbara Butler
The nominated work is a recording released in 2017 of works composed and produced by Paul Halley with young Haligonian choristers trained by him and accompanied by him on the organ in the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax. The music is grounded in Western traditions of polyphony and counterpoint, enriched with Halley’s knowledge of jazz and the music of West Africa. The title track sets the poem by Charles G.D. Roberts, a professor at King’s College in the late 19th century. In this and many of the other works on the recording, themes of planetary movement, the presence of the sacred, and love in all its forms recur and interweave.
The jury found the choral voicing strikingly new and the recording exceptional in its overall execution.
Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
Creators: Christian Barry, Ben Caplan and Hannah Moscovitch
Nominator: Karen Gross, 2b Theatre Company (Self Nomination)
Combining music and theatre, Old Stock’s creators have developed a cohesive work of art that does not bend theatre or music to the other’s demands. The spoken text tells the story of Moscovitch’s great grandparents’ arrival in Canada in 1907 as Jewish refugees from Romania—and how they fell in love after meeting by chance. The original music derives from Klezmer, Rock and Roll, Folk and Jewish liturgical music. As the show begins, the audience is greeted with a shipping container sitting on stage. The front of the container opens and reveals a five-piece band in period clothing. Everyone in the band performs as both musician and actor. The production has received accolades both in Nova Scotia and in its off-Broadway presentation in New York.
“Mesmerizing in all aspects” and the “best production yet by 2b theatre” sums up what the jury thought of this work.