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Artist & Curator Win $40K in Hnatyshyn Prizes


This week, the Hnatyshyn Foundation announced the winners of $40,000 in visual arts awards.

Toronto artist Kent Monkman has won the $25,000 prize for outstanding achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist, while Vancouver Art Gallery chief curator/associate director Daina Augaitis has won the $15,000 award for curatorial excellence in contemporary art.

Both Monkman and Augaitis have had banner years so far.

Monkman’s first European-museum solo show took place this summer in France, and he also had his New York solo-show debut coinciding with Frieze Week. His installation Bête Noire, first shown in New York in the spring, has drawn attention at the Site Santa Fe biennial, which opened in July. His work is also part of the touring survey “Oh, Canada,” which recently closed a run in Atlantic Canada and will open at various Calgary venues this winter. Earlier this year, he also won an Indspire Award.

This year, Augaitis curated the first-ever Douglas Coupland survey exhibition, which opened at the Vancouver Art Gallery in May. Titled “everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything,” the survey was praised as “exceptional” by Forbes and was said to “[crackle] with creativity, invention and insight” by the Vancouver Sun. The exhibition is next travelling to Toronto where it will be jointly presented by the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and the Royal Ontario Museum in January 2015. In addition, a Google Street View version of the exhibition will be launched through the Google Cultural Institute in the coming months. A version of Gumhead, an interactive public sculpture created for the exhibition, is also being shown now in Sao Paolo, concurrent with the biennial there.

An artist of Cree ancestry, Monkman works in a variety of media including painting, film/video, performance and installation, and his work is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, among other institutions.

Augaitis has been chief curator/associate director at the VAG since 1996, where she has organized solo exhibitions of artists including Rebecca Belmore, Stan Douglas, Brian Jungen, Song Dong, Ian Wallace, Gillian Wearing, Paul Wong and Yang Fudong. Augaitis also recently curated the exhibition “Muntadas: Entre/Between” at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and Jeu de Paume, Paris.

The jury for this year’s awards consisted of Mendel Gallery chief curator Lisa Baldissera, journalist and critic Robert Enright, Contemporary Art Gallery curator Jenifer Papararo, painter and video artist Eric Walker, and Artexte general and artistic director Sarah Watson.

The Hnatyshyn Foundation is a private charity established by the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Canada’s 24th Governor General, to assist emerging and established artists in all disciplines with their schooling and training, and promote to the Canadian public the importance of the arts in our society.

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