The GG awards are funded and administered for the 14th year by the Canada Council for the Arts and hosted by The National Gallery of Canada. “They recognize distinguished career achievements in the visual and media arts by Canadian artists, as well as outstanding contributions through voluntarism, philanthropy, board governance, community outreach or professional activities.”
That is the official line from the Canada Council, but I see it as far more than that. This is our chance to meet and thank these individuals for their sacrifices and decades worth of dedication to a severely under recognised part of Canadian society. Ideas, and execution of those ideas are the catalysts of change. Thinking and acting differently from the norm and then to put oneself into public scrutiny, will consume many an idealist. But to have done this repeatedly for decades is what makes these people so deserving of their awards. Not only that, long after they have left us their work continues; continues to enrich our culture, continues to evolve and grow as we do, continues to give economically, continues to add to our collective vi
sual language and legacy - long after they have passed on. It is far too often with the arts that we regale creators for their brilliance and singular achievements after they are dead and rare that we thank them while they are still here – this is our thanks, Canada’s thanks.
I was in this post going to write something about each individual, but their decades of experiences are varied and complex and honestly I do not think I could do them justice; rather I will point anyone interested in several directions that elaborate on their careers.
The Canada Council has done a magnificent job on video biographies for each artist which I highly recommend.
The winners for the Governor Generals awards for visual and media arts 2013 are painter Marcel Barbeau, filmmaker William MacGillivray, composer/sound engineer Gordon Monahan and sculptor Colette Whiten. Ceramicist Greg Payce received the Saidye Bronfman Award. Chantal Pontbriand received an outstanding contribution award for her more than 30 years of work as a curator and art critic.