Edward Burtynsky among 8 winners of Governor General's arts awards

TORONTO - Renowned Toronto photographer Edward Burtynsky is filled with hope these days as he continues his decades-long crusade to capture environmental issues in his work.

See Full Article

For one thing, he's just won a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, which he hopes will put a national spotlight on his environmental messages and on the importance of visual arts.

The 61-year-old, who was the subject of Jennifer Baichwal's acclaimed documentary "Manufactured Landscapes," is also encouraged by changes in government attitudes toward environmental issues.

"There's much to be hopeful for in that we've now had the COP 21 in Paris (which) has come out with a consensus to move forward with real targets, many of those to be determined yet but with a real purpose," Burtynsky said in a phone interview.

"Seeing our own government ... tackling with all the premiers some kind of a commitment to a real carbon tax or something that's going to have a profound shift in terms of a balance.

"And I just recently saw Al Gore give a talk at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference and saying that we've hit this interesting point where ... all of a sudden the cost of alternative energy is equal to or cheaper than conventional energy."

Burtynsky is one of eight winners of this year's Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts, administered and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Independent peer juries pick the winners, who each receive $25,000.

Burtynsky is using his prize money to establish a $5,000 annual grant with the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, where he's on the board. The grant will support a Canadian artist in the creation of a photobook, a tool that had "a huge effect" on his career, he said.

Other Governor General's honourees this year include Toronto curator Marnie Fleming, filmmaker Philip Hoffman of Mount Forest, Ont., and textile artist Jane Kidd of Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Media artist Mark Lewis of London also got the honour as did three visual artists: Wanda Koop of Winnipeg, Suzy Lake of Toronto and William (Bill) Vazan of Montreal.

"Burtynsky, and each of the 2016 GGArts winners personify an issue at the crux of public debate, whether that's on the environment, gender or identity," Simon Brault, director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, said in a statement.

"Their works move us as only the best art can. Burtynsky is a master of form with an impeccable commitment to aesthetics. At the same time, he challenges us, as citizens, to reconsider the future of our world, and our agency in shaping it."

Burtynsky, who hails from St. Catharines, Ont., started documenting our changing relationship to nature while doing landscape work from 1979 to '81.

He's since had his photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes displayed in more than 60 major museums around the world.

He co-founded the Scotiabank Photography Award and co-directed, with Baichwal, the 2013 documentary "Watermark."

The two are now working on a third film that has the working title "The Anthropocene." It looks at the what geologists believe is a new epoch caused by the impact humans are having on the planet.

"I think we now have the tools, the technology to make choices, to have an alternative, to have a decent life without destroying the habitats that support all life," said Burtynsky, who owns six hectares of forest two hours north of Toronto and uses carbon offsetting to minimize his imprint.

"The key thing is, can we get to those solutions fast enough? If we can get there fast enough, then I think we can avert the worst."

He added: "But I think the world is rapidly waking up that we can't keep going business as usual."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Maggie Roche of The Roches sister vocal trio dies at 65

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Maggie Roche, the folk-rock singer-songwriter who since the mid-1970s had performed and recorded as a trio and in pairs with her two sisters, has died. Roche died of cancer, according to a statement posted online Saturday by her sister and bandmate Suzzy Roche. Source
  • Boy George defends new first lady Melania Trump

    Entertainment CTV News
    PARIS -- Music maestro Boy George got political at Paris Fashion Week as Dior Homme went to the dark side, creating a hard, brooding fall-winter collection. Here are the highlights of Saturday's menswear shows. DIOR PULLS IN THE STARS, BOY GEORGE DEFENDS MELANIA Source
  • Spice Girls' Ginger gives birth to son

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Geri Horner has given birth to a son. The former Spice Girls star and husband Christian Horner announced the arrival of their first child together on Saturday morning. “Christian and I are delighted to announce our baby boy was born this morning weighing 7lbs 8oz,” the 44-year-old shared on the social media site, alongside a baby and a thumbs up emoji. Source
  • Trump feted by Tony Orlando, Jackie Evancho at inauguration

    Entertainment CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Donald and Melania Trump were feted at their inaugural balls by the Rockettes and by singer Tony Orlando, who sang his famous "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree." Meanwhile, earlier in the day, it was 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho who had the spotlight, singing the national anthem in a soft, solemn voice. Source
  • Selena Gomez and The Weeknd spotted at impromptu John Mayer gig

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Selena Gomez and The Weeknd went public with their new romance in Silver Lake, California on Thursday night when they were spotted at the Tenant of the Trees club. The couple was spotted hugging and kissing outside a Santa Monica, California restaurant earlier this month, but they played it low-key on Thursday and were rarely caught together during the night out. Source
  • Jennifer Aniston eager to return to TV

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jennifer Aniston is eager to return to TV, insisting she is ready to enter a new phase of her career. The actress starred on hit show Friends from 1994 to 2004, before becoming one of Hollywood’s top movie stars, but now the actress feels there is a lot of quality work on TV - and she is hoping to land a new show. Source
  • Jackie Evancho, Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform at inauguration, but A-listers gather at unofficial events

    Entertainment CBC News
    The new president called out "Great job, Jackie!" after 16-year-old Jackie Evancho delivered a soft-voiced rendition of the national anthem at Friday's swearing-in ceremony. INTERACTIVES | Donald Trump sworn in as president The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang America the Beautiful, and the Missouri State University Chorale sang Now We Belong, in a ceremony that featured decidedly less star power than in 2013. Source
  • Idina Menzel, Nia Long bring 'Beaches' remake to TV

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    PASADENA, Calif. — For Idina Menzel and Nia Long, director Garry Marshall’s 1988 melodrama “Beaches,” starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, is a four-hankie treat. So why do a remake? “Why not?” replied Long (“The Best Man Holiday”), pointing to the story’s timeless elements. Source
  • Rapper iLoveMakonnen comes out as gay

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rapper iLoveMakonnen has come out as gay on social media. The hip-hop star, who used to be signed to Drake’s OVO Sound record label, took to Twitter in the early hours of Friday morning to confirm long-running rumours he is homosexual. Source
  • Al Gore stays mum on Trump meeting, says 'it's not the last'

    Entertainment CBC News
    Former Vice President Al Gore said that while he wouldn't divulge specifics about his December conversation with Donald Trump, it wasn't "the last conversation." Speaking to a packed auditorium in Park City following the premiere of the climate change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which kicked off the 33rd Sundance Film Festival Thursday, Gore said that he's seen a lot of people who started out as climate deniers change over time. Source