The Saskatchewan Arts Board is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Saskatchewan Arts Awards. Presented by the Arts Board at an event on October 26 at the Remai Modern in Saskatoon, these awards celebrate the contributions and achievements of individuals, groups and organizations in all arts disciplines. Recipients are awarded a limited-edition sculpture by Saskatchewan artist Jody Greenman-Barber and a cash prize.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Jack Sures, Regina
Jack Sures is one of Canada’s premier ceramists and art educators.
He was born in 1934, in Brandon, Manitoba. He completed his bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Manitoba in 1957, and his master’s degree in painting and printmaking from Michigan State University in 1959. In 1965, he moved to Regina to establish the ceramics and printmaking program at the University of Saskatchewan's Regina Campus, now the University of Regina, where he taught until his retirement in 1998.
As an educator, Jack created a fertile environment for students. He has taught some of Canada’s most notable ceramic artists, including Victor Cicansky, Jeannie Mah, Carole Epp and Anita Rocamora. Jack’s presence at the university continues today in his role as visiting artist-in-residence. He is a master at nurturing an environment that is highly creative and productive. He encourages students to develop their own techniques and skills and to make work that is highly personal and expressive. He is an inspiration and role model for many practicing artists.
Jack has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honors throughout his career, including the Grand Prize at the International Ceramics Competition in Mino, Japan in 1989, the Order of Canada in 1991 and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2003.
Jack’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally and isrepresented in many collections, including the Pecs National Museum in Hungary, Canada Council Art Bank, Remai Modern, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.
Photo: Mark Greshner, Artec Photographic Design
ARTISTIC EXCELLENCE AWARD
Kenneth T. Williams, Saskatoon
Kenneth T. Williams is a Cree playwright and dramaturg from the George Gordon First Nation in Treaty 4 territory. He is the first Indigenous person to earn an master of fine arts degree in playwriting from the University of Alberta. His plays, In Care, Café Daughter, Gordon Winter, Thunderstick, Bannock Republic, Suicide Notes and Three Little Birds have been produced across Canada.
He has garnered the critical acclaim of some of Canada’s finest actors, including the late Gordon Tootoosis, Tantoo Cardinal and Lorne Cardinal, who have each acted in one or more of his productions. Lorne Cardinal says, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kenneth T. Williams in many capacities as actor, director and dramaturg. Each time, I walk away amazed by his capacity to create and collaborate with artists while not losing his vision or voice.”
As a playwright, Kenneth doesn’t shy away from difficult topics or gloss over problems. He handles heavy subject matter with grace, dignity and humour. His reverence for Indigenous cultures and peoples shines through in his plays. Kenneth’s work encourages people to learn more about Canadian history, so we can move forward as a society, armed with information that is real, relevant and often uncensored.
Kenneth has served as the playwright-in-residence at the University of Saskatchewan and Artistic Director for Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre in Saskatoon. He also sits on the advisory committee for the National Arts Centre’s Indigenous Theatre Section.
Photo: Stefen Winchester
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Catherine Blackburn, Leask
Catherine Blackburn is a bead artist, painter and jeweller, whose artistic themes address Canada's colonial past, often prompted by personal narratives. Her work draws attention locally and nationally for its cultural sensitivity, accomplished technical skill and strong conceptual viewpoints.
Catherine was born in Île-à-la-Crosse of Dene and European ancestry, grew up in Choiceland and is a member of the English River First Nation. In her practice, she focuses on a disconnect between her Dene culture and her personal identity. Her work resonates with many who struggle with their feet in two spheres, as she encourages dialogue about Aboriginal culture, celebrates her background and opens discussion to the broader Aboriginal experience in Canada.
Catherine holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan. Her work has appeared in group and solo exhibitions amongst acclaimed artists such as Ruth Cuthand and Judy Anderson. Her pieces have also been included in notable shows at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto and SOFA in Chicago. Recently, Catherine was chosen to participate in the renowned 2017 Bonavista Biennale, as one of only 26 Canadian artists.
She has received numerous grants and awards for her work, including a Governor General’s History Awardand the highly recognized Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant, both in 2013, and the CARFAC Saskatchewan Emerging Artist Award in 2014.
Catherine’s pieces have been purchased into numerous private collections across Canada, as well as by public art collections at the Mann Art Gallery in Prince Albert and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.
Photo: Tenille Campbell of Sweetmoon Photography
Michel Boutin, Prince Albert
Michel Boutin is an interdisciplinary artist, arts educator and cultural animateur. He is the artistic director for the Indigenous People’s Artist Collective of Prince Albert (IPAC), which he co-founded in 2005.
IPAC’s mandate is to disseminate, create and promote a diverse range of contemporary Aboriginal and urban artistic practices for the benefit of regional artists and audiences. Under Michel’s leadership, this has taken the form of numerous projects that address community needs and interests.
He has developed two annual festivals: Pitos Waskochepayis, a mini film and performance festival that celebrates two-spirit and queer culture, and the Two Story Café, a multi-day series of integrated arts events. These festivals create environments for internationally recognized Indigenous artists to present new work, giving Prince Albert a unique reputation as a key centre of contemporary Indigenous art-making.
Michel recruits artists to connect with topics that are relevant to the local social and cultural milieu, such as race, gender and LGBTQ advocacy. His programming encourages and promotes new artistic practices, audiences and knowledge about art forms and perspectives. He also brings together regional artists of First Nations and Métis backgrounds to collaborate with nationally and internationally established artists.
Michel’s cultural impact extends to his involvement for over two decades with artist-run centres in Saskatchewan. He has been a board member for the Mann Art Gallery, Neutral Ground, Red Shift Gallery and PAVED Arts and has served as the Aboriginal representative for the Artist Run Centres and Collectives Conference of Canada. He is currently a mentor and member of Sans Atelier in Saskatoon, the first Francophone artist-run collective in Saskatchewan.
The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) is the union of more than 23,000 professional performers working in English-language recorded media in Canada, including TV, film, radio and digital media.
ACTRA negotiates, administers and enforces collective agreements to provide performers with equitable compensation as well as safe and reasonable working conditions. Agreements establish minimum fees, terms and working conditions on behalf of members in the audio-visual industry. These agreements do more than make sure artists get paid a fair wage; they ensure artists are protected every time they step on a set, through established rules covering health and safety, work hours, set conditions, nudity and harassment. The organization has lobbied tirelessly for regulation and government policies that protect and encourage production in all genres, expanding work opportunities for Canadian performers.
ACTRA Saskatchewan was established in 1967. Since then, the branch has supported nearly 1,000 members and more than 2,500 non-members to work under their agreements, bringing a stable and profitable work environment to Saskatchewan performing artists and media production.
In addition to working with partners across Canada to establish ACTRA agreements, the Saskatchewan team works one-on-one with local artists and producers to tailor agreements that make sense for local situations.
While production has ebbed and flowed over the past five decades, ACTRA Saskatchewan’s membership and elected council have met each challenge with a dedicated goal of improving the lives of artists in the province.
Daniel Macdonald, Saskatoon
Daniel Macdonald is an award-winning playwright, theatre director and teacher.
A celebrated educator, Daniel was a drama and English teacher in the Regina Catholic School Division for 17 years, where he worked with high school students both in and out of the classroom. His program at LeBoldus High School was known for developing original large-scale plays with as many as 50 student actors. He was also the school’s improv coach, winning the Canadian Improv Games national championship.
With each new play, he would collaborate with students for months, writing and creating a work of theatre for their school’s annual production, and became known for these experimental and innovative works based on issues most important to his students. Plays included Flock Formations, Tragedie, Waking and Blind Love, the latter of which received accolades at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Most recently, Daniel was Artistic Associate at Persephone Theatre. In this capacity, he curated, programmed and directed productions seen by thousands of students across the province. As director of the Persephone Young Company, he created new works of theatre for young adults, including These Things I Know, The Romeo Project and HERE, a musical featuring newcomers from the Saskatoon Open Door Society about youth finding their place in the world.
As a theatre artist, Daniel has used his considerable knowledge and talent to help foster the love of performance and performance creation in Saskatchewan youth. Many of his students are now providing inspiration to the next generation through the arts.
Photo: Willie Whitten
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