April 18, 2009
by Canadian Architect
The Canada Council for the Arts recently announced the names of the nine laureates of the 2009 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts at the National Gallery of Canada. This year is the 10th anniversary of these prestigious awards. Receiving awards for artistic achievement are the following: architect Raymond Moriyama; sculpture artist John Greer; sculptor, musician, and performer Nobuo Kubota; interdisciplinary artist Rita McKeough; filmmaker Robert Morin; and painter Gordon Smith. Glass sculptor Kevin Lockau will receive the Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in the fine crafts, while Tony Urquhart and Kim Ondaatje will share the outstanding contribution award for their work in establishing CARFAC, the Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens, the national voice of Canada’s professional visual artists.
The winners were presented with their awards by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, at a ceremony at Rideau Hall on March 25, 2009. In addition to a $25,000 prize, the winners received a work created by printmaker Kenojuak Ashevak, winner of a 2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
The Awards, funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, were created in June 1999 and awarded for the first time in March 2000. The awards recognize distinguished career achievements in the visual and media arts by Canadian artists, as well as outstanding contributions to the visual and media arts through voluntarism, philanthropy, board governance, community outreach or professional activities.
The Saidye Bronfman Award, which recognizes excellence in the fine crafts, is part of the Governor General’s Awards. It is funded from the proceeds of a $1.5 million endowment given to the Canada Council by The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation in 2006.
“The works of our artists do more than just bring a little colour and beauty into our lives. They cast a new light onto our world so that we can observe it and contemplate it in ways we might never have imagined. Let us pay tribute to these pathfinders who guide us to look beyond the horizon,” said the Governor General.
“Each of this year’s winners has had a significant impact on the Canadian arts scene,” noted Canada Council Chair Joseph Rotman. “Their creativity is not only seen in galleries and homes across the country and around the world but in the cities where we live and work. The diversity of their work and their dedication to their art speaks volumes for the depth of artistic talent in Canada today.”
Raymond Moriyama’s fascination with architecture began at age four. By age 12, he had constructed a tree house near the BC interior internment camp where he, his sisters and mother were sent during WWII. Moriyama has designed some of Canada’s most notable buildings, including the Canadian War Museum (Ottawa), the Bata Shoe Museum (Toronto), and Science North (Sudbury). He gained international acclaim for the National Museum of Saudi Arabia and the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, among others. Known for buildings that balance harmoniously with landscape and encourage civic engagement, he has received numerous awards, including an Honorary Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects, a Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal (1997) and a Companion of the Order of Canada (2008). Moriyama lives in Toronto.