Stan Douglas wins $100,000 Audain Prize, while Krista Belle Stewart nabs VIVA Award, and Bruce Grenville wins Alvin Balkind Curator’s Prize

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      Amid the major visual-arts awards announced in the past 24 hours, famed Vancouver photo and video artist Stan Douglas has received the largest: he took home the $100,000 Audain Prize last night.

      A graduate from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Douglas is perhaps best-known locally for his Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971, a massive, backlit, elaborately staged photo installation that now hangs above the SFU Woodward's building atrium and depicts the Gastown Riot. 

      Douglas also created a fully interactive, virtual-reality installation called Circa 1948, digital film recreation of two long-gone Vancouver locales as they appeared just after the Second World War, for SFU Woodward's  Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures exhibit in 2015.

      Douglas's work hangs in galleries from our own Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Art Gallery to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Tate Gallery in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

      Douglas, who received the award last night at a ceremony at the Vancouver Club, is the first artist to receive the prize since it was increased to $100,000 from $30,000. 

      Stan Douglas


      "We increased the value of the Audain prize award because we want our leading artists to become better known. After all, British Columbia has some wonderful visual artists and many are not as widely recognized as they should be," founder Michael Audain said in a news release today.

      The award has been handed out in the past to local artists like Rodney Graham and the late Fred Herzog.

      Elsewhere, today it was announced that multidisciplinary artist Krista Belle Stewart is the winner of the VIVA Award and curator Bruce Grenville is the recipient of the Alvin Balkind Curator’s Prize. Both of the $12,000 prizes are given by the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts.

      They are to be handed out tonight at a ceremony at Heritage Hall. 

      Also an Emily Carr graduate, Stewart's practice ranges from video, photography, textiles and sound to mixed-media installation and performance. She often works with archival images and museum materials. She's shown across the country and locally at places including the Contemporary Art Gallery, the SFU Teck Gallery, and Artspeak.

      Stewart is a member of the Upper Nicola Band of the Okanagan Nation, and often draws on her background. One of her works at Western Front integrated circa-1918 wax-cylinder recordings by anthropologist James Alexander Teit of her great-grandmother, Terese Kaimetko. A City of Vancouver public-art commission at the Canada Line City Centre Station, at Granville and Georgia, drew on footage from the CBC documentary Seraphine: Her Own Story, a scripted version of her mother’s journey from residential school to becoming B.C.’s first Indigenous public-health nurse. 

      An installation view of The Uncanny Experiments in Cyborg Culture, exhibition curated by Bruce Grenville at the Vancouver Art Gallery, 2002 (left, photo: courtesy of artists and the VAG); Krista Belle Stewart's Potato Gardens Band (a site-specific live performance as part of Stages: Drawing the Curtain, Plug-In ICA, Winnipeg), 2017 (right, courtesy of the artists and Plug In ICA, Winnipeg).


      The VIVA Awards, now in their 31st year, celebrate exemplary achievement by British Columbia artists in mid-career, chosen for outstanding accomplishment and commitment by an independent jury.

      Grenville has been Senior Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery since 1997. His exhibitions often mix "high" and "low" art, with some of his most famous being Cabin Fever, MashUp, Grand Hotel, KRAZY, Home and Away, and Massive Change: The Future of Global Design. He has also organized numerous solo exhibitions by local, national, and international artists such as Stan Douglas, Carol Sawyer, Gathie Falk, and Wang Du.

      Provided through the estate of Abraham Rogatnick to honour the memory of renowned Vancouver curator Alvin Balkind, the prize Grenville is receiving is a biannual award that recognizes outstanding innovation, original research and critical engagement through curatorial work in the visual arts. This is the fifth time it's been given out.