Rebecca Belmore wins the 2016 Gershon Iskowitz Prize

Posted in Bordernews by Border Crossings on November 22 2016

“When the story of Canadian art gets told, it would be safe to bet both water and blood that her marking will end up being historic.” —Robert Enright on Rebecca Belmore, circa 2005

Montreal-based Indigenous artist Rebecca Belmore is the 2016 recipient of the Gershon Iskowitz Prize. Presented in partnership with the AGO, the $50,000 prize is handed out annually to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada. The AGO will include a solo exhibition for the artist within the coming two years as part of the prize.

Iskowitz Foundation president Thomas Bjarnason describes Belmore as one of the country’s most important visual artists, whose work crosses disciplines between film, installation and performance. “Rebecca is renowned for a consistently provocative interrogation of the status of our Indigenous peoples through work that tests the relationship of audience, artist and art,” he said in a statement.

When Rebecca Belmore represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2005, Border Crossings interviewed the artist, with particular emphasis on her project performance, Fountain. This interview, particularly relevant in its nod to water and the state of affairs surrounding it the world over, is online now. Read it here.

“One of the central concerns with Fountain, Rebecca Belmore’s performance-based video installation at the Canadian pavilion for the 2005 Venice Biennale, is water. Her recognition of its importance in our practice, political and imaginative lives is complex. “The power of water is something that we understand,” she says in the following interview, conducted the day before the vernissage opening at the Biennale. As Canadians, water is what we have in abundance, and what the world, including the United States, wants. Water is also a symbol for the rich cycle of life and death that frames human experience.” —from Robert Enright’s introduction to the interview

Much of Belmore’s work has been covered by the magazine over the course of many decades. Explore our INDEX for a small sampling.

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