Evergon queer photographer, Fastwurms wizard artist among Governor General’s winners

A photographer whose work captures and celebrates homosexuality is among the winners of this year’s Governor General Award in the Visual and Media Arts.

Evergon, 77, said he hoped he would eventually receive one of the Artistic Achievement Awards, but he was “astonished” that it actually happened.

Over the course of his career, now in its fifth decade, artist born Albert Jay Lunt said he’s noticed a shift in attitudes towards his work along with awareness of the LGBTQ community.

“There are works that were scandalous 40 and 50 years ago, and there doesn’t seem to be any scandal with those at the moment,” he said in a phone interview ahead of Tuesday’s announcement. .

“The reality is that there are no scandals at all.”

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A retrospective of the work of the Montreal artist is displayed at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec in Quebec City. The museum describes his art as bold and carnal, exploring issues of sexuality and the body as they intersect with identity.

His portfolio features photographs of men who might be inclined towards pornography, including nude selfies.

He also created a series of nude photos of his mother in her eighties, which the Musée national des beaux-arts says “refreshes the representation of the aging body as some artists have done.”

“She was the one who challenged me: ‘I want pictures of me right now. I’m 80 years old, I want them now,'” he recalls. “It was fun to be tasked with by her, as opposed to me having to whine: ‘Can we do it?’”

His mother passed away a few years ago, he said, and he regretted that she wasn’t here to see his work recognized.

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This year’s list of eight winners also includes David Garneau, who won the Outstanding Contribution Award.

His paintings and drawings speak to the experiences of indigenous men in North America and explore his own identity and Metis family history.

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Meanwhile, Grace Nickel won the Saidye Bronfman Award, which recognizes the best handicrafts.

Nickel is a sculptor who embodies natural forms in ceramics as a way to discover if we can return to natural life.

Also among the six winners of the Arts Achievement Award is Fastwurms, a multidisciplinary collective that includes Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse. The duo, who live in Mulmur, Ont., invoke the image of witches in their performance art and role-playing installations.

Germaine Koh, the first technical artist to reside in Vancouver and describe herself as an artist and organizer, was also recognized with an award.

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Tim Whiten, whose work has explored the experience of BIPOC people, was honored with the award for a career that stretches back to the 1960s.

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Filmmakers Shannon Walsh and Nettie Wild also received the award.

Walsh’s portfolio includes five feature-length documentaries on topics including labor rights and climate change.

Meanwhile, Wild’s documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of revolutions and social change.

Each winner will receive a $25,000 prize.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 28, 2023.

&copy 2023 Canadian Press


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