LSM Newswire

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Canada Council announces winners of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Awards

Ottawa, December 16, 2008 Integrated arts artist Diane Borsato, set and costume designer Linda Brunelle, author Marlene Cookshaw, visual artist Geoffrey Farmer, choreographer and dance artist Susanna Hood, filmmaker Shandi Mitchell and composer Michael Oesterle are the winners of the Canada Council for the Arts Victor Martyn LynchStaunton Awards.

The annual awards, worth $15,000 each, recognize outstanding mid-career artists in the seven disciplines funded by the Canada Council: dance, integrated arts, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts and writing and publishing. The prizes were created using funds from a generous bequest made by the late Victor Martyn LynchStaunton to the Canada Council.

The seven Victor Martyn LynchStaunton Award recipients were chosen through a nomination process by the Grants to Professional Artists peer assessment committees during the 20072008 fiscal year. The winning candidates are considered the most outstanding mid-career artists of those nominated.

Images of the winners can be downloaded from the Canada Council image gallery at:

Diane Borsato Integrated arts

Integrated arts artist and visual artist Diane Borsato has become known for her relational gestures and eccentric experiments. She regularly exhibits videos, photographs and drawings that document her activities. Her humorous and multidisciplinary practice includes such works as Sleeping with Cake (1999), The World's Longest Paper Clip Chain (2001), Artifacts in My Mouth (2003), Wondering How Long He Can Keep Up The World (2005), Moving the Weeds Around (2005), How To Respond in an Emergency (2006), and Three Performances (After Joseph Beuys, Marina Abramovic, and Bonnie Sherk) (2008).

Ms. Borsato has exhibited in galleries and museums across Canada and internationally including the Muse national des beaux-arts du Qubec (Qubec City), the Art Gallery of York University and the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (Toronto). She is currently a professor of Interdisciplinary Studio at the University of Guelph and lives in Toronto.

Linda Brunelle Theatre

Over the past decade, set and costume designer Linda Brunelle has designed costumes and sets for numerous productions in dance, theatre, opera, film and circus. Her most recent projects include her participation in the creation of Salina (2006) at the Thtre National de Lille-Tourcoing, Nord Pas-de-Calais, in France, Nebbia (2007) by Cirque loize, Bacchanale (2008) for Thtre d'Aujourd'hui and La petite pice en haut de l'escalier (2008) at Thtre du Nouveau Monde.

Her work has often received mentions at the Gala des Masques and she was awarded a Masque for Si j'avais la seule possession dessus le jugement dernier (1998), Thtre d'Aujourd'hui. Audiences have also remarked on the quality of her work, awarding her the Prix Gascon -Roux for the costumes in Tristan et Yseult (2004) at Thtre du Nouveau Monde and the Audience Award for the costumes in Le Revizor (2003) at Thtre DenisePelletier. In 2003 and 2006, she represented Canada at the Prague Quadrennial of international scenography. Since 2004, she has shared her expertise with students at the National Theatre School.

Marlene Cookshaw Writing and Publishing

Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Marlene Cookshaw has lived most of her adult life on British Columbia's west coast. She is the author of five books of poetry (the first, Personal Luggage, was published by Coach House Press in 1984) and one chapbook of prose poems, Coupling, by Outlaw Editions. Brick Books has published her other collections: The Whole Elephant (1989), Double Somersaults (1999), Shameless (2002), and Lunar Drift (2005), two of which were shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Prize for Poetry. Other awards have included the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize, the Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, Arc's Poem of the Year, League of Canadian Poets prize and a National Magazine Silver Award for Poetry.

Ms. Cookshaw completed a BFA at the University of Victoria and worked for many years with The Malahat Review. She now writes and farms on Pender Island with her husband and fellow poet, Mitchell Parry.

Geoffrey Farmer Visual Art

Born in British Columbia, Geoffrey Farmer lives and works in Vancouver. Through his studies at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and at the San Francisco Art Institute, he developed a strong interest in the notions of process and narrative. His work is at once fragile and multiform, operating on the same level as everyday experience: simultaneously rational and chaotic, undeniably concrete yet shaped by the imagination. Mr. Farmer has seen his career take off meteorically in the last few years. In 2008 alone, he was the subject of a survey exhibition at the Muse d'art contemporain in Montral, a solo exhibition at the Witte de With in Rotterdam, Netherlands, participated in the Sydney and Brussels Biennale as well as in group exhibitions at the Tate Modern, the ICA Boston and Johnen + Schttle in Berlin. He is currently exhibiting at National Gallery of Canada in the group exhibition Caught in the Act: The Viewer as Performer which runs until February 15, 2009.

Susanna Hood Dance

Susanna Hood, Artistic Director of hum, is a compelling and virtuosic performer in dance and music. She was a member of the Toronto Dance Theatre from 1991 to 1995. For over a decade, she has been synthesizing voice and movement into a dynamic practice through which she creates intimate, raw and sensual performance work. She has performed the works of various Canadian choreographers, composers, and filmmakers (including Tedd Robinson, John Oswald, Nilan Perera, and Phillip Barker) and has performed widely as an improviser both in dance and music. Her choreography, compositions, and interdisciplinary collaborations have been presented locally, nationally, and internationally on stage and film since 1991. Awards include the 1998 K.M. Hunter Emerging Artists Award in Dance and the 2006 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for She's gone away. Ms. Hood resides in Toronto.

Shandi Mitchell Media arts

Shandi Mitchell lives near Halifax. A writer and director, she fuses image, word and sound to create dramatic narratives that reflect the hidden, inner experience of her characters. Her work has been described as visually poetic, emotionally resonant and sublimely crafted. Her screenplay for Baba's House won the Women in Film and Television Toronto KODAK Filmmaker Award and Script Award. Baba's House screened at numerous festivals and garnered awards at the Houston International WorldFest (Kodak Cinematography Award, Gold Jury Award); Yorkton Short Film Festival (Best Cinematography, Best Script, Best Drama); Atlantic Film Festival (Best Canadian Short, Best Art Direction); and earned two Gemini nominations. Her experimental short Tell Me screened at major festivals and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Ms. Mitchell is currently developing her first feature film, The Disappeared. She is also a fiction writer and her debut novel Under This Unbroken Sky will be published in August 2009 by Penguin Books (Canada), Weidenfeld and Nicolson (UK), and Harper Collins (US).

Michael Oesterle Music

Composer Michael Oesterle was born in Ulm, Germany, in 1968. He immigrated to Canada in 1982 and since 1996 has been living in Montreal. His works have been performed and commissioned by orchestras, ensembles and soloists throughout North America and Europe. His most recent commissions include new works for ASKO Ensemble (Amsterdam), the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Aventa Ensemble and Ensemble contemporain de Montral+ (ECM+).

He frequently collaborates with artists of other disciplines and has produced projects in dance, visual arts, film and theatre. He composed the music for cNOTE, a film by animator Christopher Hinton, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. cNOTE won the 2005 Genie award for best animated-short. In 1997 he co-founded the Montreal based Ensemble KORE, and between 2001 and 2004 he was composer-in-residence with l'Orchestre Mtropolitain du Grand Montral. To listen to his music, and to view his collaborative work, please visit his website at

General information

In addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts, the Canada Council for the Arts administers and awards many prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and health sciences, engineering, and arts management. These prizes and fellowships recognize the achievements of outstanding Canadian artists, scholars, and administrators. The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to raising public awareness and celebration of these exceptional people and organizations on both a national and international level.

Please visit our website ( for a complete listing of these awards.

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