Each year, The Hnatyshyn Foundation awards a series of prizes to visual artists and curators, celebrating their contributions to the arts in Canada. In 2020, the $25,000 Visual Arts Award, presented for outstanding achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist, was given to Marianne Nicolson, and the $15,000 Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art was given to Emelie Chhangur. In addition, Jude Abu Zaineh, Marlon Kroll and Sam Bourgault received individual $5,000 William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Artists.
Visual artist Marianne Nicolson (Dzawada’enuxw) was selected by a jury composed of well-known Canadian curators, gallery directors and artists, including Jan Allen, Francisco Alvarez, Dana Claxton, Brandy Dahrouge and Maria Hupfield. Nicolson holds a PhD in linguistics and anthropology from the University of Victoria, and received the 2020 Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award in recognition of a vibrant academic and artistic practice that advocates for Indigenous linguistic and cultural resurgence.
Curator, writer and artist Emelie Chhangur was selected by a jury of her curatorial peers—Pamela Edmonds, Dominique Fontaine, Ann MacDonald and Chantal Pontbriand—for the 2020 Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art. Chhangur receives the prize as the newly appointed director and curator of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, following a socially engaged curatorial career at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU).
This year’s recipients of William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Artists are Jude Abu Zaineh, Marlon Kroll and Sam Bourgault. They were selected by Catherine Bédard, curator and deputy director of the Canadian Cultural Centre at the Canadian Embassy in Paris, and herself the 2019 recipient of The Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art.
“The three artists come from very different aesthetic and conceptual backgrounds,” says Bédard. “What they have in common, however, is an ability to reflect upon our interactions with today’s world, and our relationships to the material, virtual and psychic environments.”
Jude Abu Zaineh is a Palestinian Canadian multidisciplinary artist and cultural worker. Her practice uses art, food and technology to explore culture, displacement, diaspora and belonging. She examines ideals of home and community, while working to develop aesthetics rooted in her childhood and upbringing in the Middle East.
Marlon Kroll is a German/Canadian artist living and working in Montreal. He holds a BFA in ceramics from Concordia University, and is one of nine laureates of the Darling Foundry’s 2019–22 Montreal Studio Program, where his studio is generously sponsored by Ann Birks and Caroline Andrieux.
Sam Bourgault is a PhD student in the Media Arts and Technology program at UC Santa Barbara. She has a BFA in computation arts from Concordia University (2019) and a degree in engineering physics from Polytechnique Montréal (2015). Working with tangible media, code, video, sound and electronics, Bourgault explores how technology affects and shapes human interactions with machines and algorithms.
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, training and career development, and to promote the importance of the arts in Canadian society.