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Visual art trailblazers honoured at the VIVA and Audain awards: Videos

2014 Audain Prize Recipient Fred Herzog along with VIVA award recipients Skeena Reece and Mina Totino are acknowledged for their work and talk about the significance of winning the awards.

"New Pontiac, 1957"  Fred Herzog, courtesy of the Equinox Gallery
The 2014 Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement awarded to Vancouver photographer Fred Herzog.

As the day outside faded on April 15th a warm glow of lights rose over a room full of the crème de la crème of Vancouver’s art world.  A bagpipe’s legato filled the Great Hall of Arthur Erickson’s BC Law Courts building.  The crowd had gathered for the annual presentation of the most prestigious visual arts awards in the Province.

Photographer Fred Herzog received the 12th Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, one of Canada’s most esteemed honours.   Performance artist Skeena Reece and painter Mina Totino received the VIVA awards, which are given to artists who demonstrate exceptional commitment and creativity. 

These are significant awards for any artist.  In addition to the recognition, Audain recipients receive $30,000 and VIVA winners, $10,000.  I wondered what the artists themselves consider significant about awards and asked them.

For Herzog and his friend, an Audain Prize recipient from 2012, Marian Penner Bancroft, awards play a multi-layered role.

Herzog, a beloved Vancouver artist, has framed the moments of this city’s life with an outstanding eye for balance, design and color.  He’s been photographing here for nearly 50 years, capturing the everyday, the changes in neighborhoods and cars and our lifestyles.  He began with Kodachrome slide film in 1953, carrying a torch for the use of color in street photography.

VIVA recipient Skeena Reece, Tsimshian/Gitksan and Cree, addresses subjects of race, culture, and the political landscape through her multidisciplinary practice.  Her art includes performance, sacred clowning, singing, video and much more.

For Reece, awards carry a responsibility to audience.

Totino, the other Viva Award winner, is an abstract oil painter with a keen sense of color and space.  She investigates the possibilities of matter and material in her paintings.  For Totino awards are a way for the artist to move outside the isolation of the studio and engage with the community.

Mina Totino, nnaked, 2013, photo: Stan Douglas

 A standing ovation and applause ended the evening, a fitting tribute to these outstanding artists.



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