March 09, 2010

Canada honors art promoter, sculptor

Inuit art promoter Ryan honoured

Haida sculptor, Quebec filmmaker earn Governor General's AwardsTerry Ryan, who managed the Cape Dorset artists' co-op in Nunavut and is now director of Dorset Fine Arts in Toronto, has been honoured for his 50 years of work in promoting Inuit art.

Ryan won the award for outstanding contribution to Canadian art, a special award given at the same time as the Governor General's Awards for Visual Arts, which were announced Tuesday in Montreal.

The winners of the Governor General's Awards for career achievement in visual or media arts are:

* Haida sculptor Robert Davidson of White Rock, B.C.
* Filmmaker André Forcier of Longueuil, Que.
* Painter Rita Letendre of Toronto.
* Video artist Tom Sherman of Liverpool, N.S.
* Photographer Gabor Szilasi of Montreal.
* Painter Claude Tousignant of Montreal.
More on Davidson:He worked for a short time with legendary artist Bill Reid and then studied at the Vancouver School of Art. In 1969, he carved and raised the first totem in 90 years on Haida Gwaii, an event he sees as a watershed in the lives of the Haida.

"Looking back, there was no talk about songs and dances until I carved that first totem pole in Masset," Davidson said.

"What that did, it became a catalyst, it was a magnet for all the elders of the time to talk about what had to be done to make the totem pole right."
Comment:  For more on artistic honors, see 2010's Best of the West and Alutiiq Mask Carver Is USA Fellow.

Below:  Supernatural Eye, a 2006 aluminum sculpture by Robert Davidson. (Kenji Nagai/Collection of the artist)

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