Kapwani Kiwanga wins the Sobey Art Award

Ontario’s own Kapwani Kiwanga has taken 2018’s Sobey Art Award, along with the generous $100,000 prize. Kiwanga’s work explored different issues from history in overtly visual ways, and forced judges to really evaluate the human experience. Kiwanga was celebrated alongside the other four finalists at the National Gallery of Canada.

“Talking to the judges about her work, they were impressed for different reasons,” said Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Chair and Senior Curator of Contemporary Art for The NGC.

Kiwanga cited the win as encouragement to continue exploring and says the money will help her focus on her work in greater depth.

“She comes at her work from a place of generosity,” said Drouin-Brisebois, who mentioned a very honest feeling to her work that gave her a sense of hope. By looking beyond herself and seeing what touches others all over the world, Kiwanga’s work stood out to the judges as distinctly impersonal. All five finalists will continue to be presented at the Gallery through February 10, 2019.

Ottawa violins dazzle judges

Though the Violin Society Of America Awards might not be familiar to you, two of its most recent winning competitors should be. Local violin-makers Guy Harrison and Charline Dequincey each took home several awards for their entries at this year’s event.

“Their instruments showed themselves to be art as well as craft,” said Marilyn Wallin, past president of the VSA. While Dequincey took home multiple certificates for her one cello alone, Harrison actually earned his prizes from a cello and a violin.

The pair of instrument-makers have shared a workspace for over a decade now, and share their work with the city’s best. Several of their designs are owned by performers in the National Arts Centre Orchestra, where their sound is just as much on display as their lovely look.

“It is subtle when a maker goes from a craftsman to an artist, but when I see it, I know it,” said Wallin.

Shaking off the holiday blues

Winter is often a bit of a dry-spell for music, but those with a taste for some holiday classics have a wealth of options. For those of the choral persuasion, the Coro Vivo will be singing a mix of different seasonal tracks. With Antonio Llaca conducting, their group will bring the right spirit to Orleans United Church on November 30 and December 1 for a nominal price. Capital City Church on the other hand is hosting its annual Christmas concert on December 2, for free! With music for all ages, the free post-show hot chocolate is a great cherry on top.

For something a little bigger and more atmospheric however, Grands Concerts Sous Les Chandelles is offering an intimate evening on December 15. The touring company will play classics by candlelight mixing songs from the likes of “The Nutcracker,” different carols and scores of pieces from famous traditional composers. If you’re close to the Trinity Presbyterian church, this is a show that will warm your heart.

A Mural For All People

While Ottawa has a humble selection of murals throughout the city, one community mural has no become the city’s largest. Outside the Ottawa Community Housing Building in the east end of Lower Town, artist Claudia Salguero has rallied people around a huge masterpiece. By amassing over 60 canvasses and about as many people, Salguero used the piece to reflect on diversity and come from it.

“I wanted this mural to be done with multiple groups from different neighbourhoods of the city,” said Salguero.

When Welcome Ottawa Week ended, Salguero saw that the fanfare for immigrants turned to silence for most of the year. After a few brainstorming sessions, citizens agreed with her on a butterfly for the piece. Each eye represents different ethnic backgrounds, as well as compassion and hope.

“The butterfly means immigration and freedom, as a kind of metamorphosis,” said Salguero.