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Finalists for the 2017 Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts

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Finalists for the 2017 Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts

Artist Award

The Artist Award recognizes an individual artist in any professional arts practice. This includes (but is not limited to): craft, dance, music, opera, theatre, visual and media arts, literature and cultural industries, such as book and magazine publishing, digital media, film, television and sound recording.

Candidates for the Artist Award must be professional artists and residents of Ontario.

d'bi young anitafrika - Queensville

d'bi young anitafrika is a dub poet, author, educator, and the founding artistic director of the Watah Theatre. She has been recognized as a Poet of Honour (Canadian Spoken Word Festival), a YWCA Toronto Woman of Distinction, and a three-time Dora Mavor Moore award‑winning playwright and performer. d'bi was born and raised in Jamaica and came to Canada in 1993. She has produced five books, seven dub albums and seven plays. Her most recent theatrical appearance was as Lady in Red in Soulpepper's production of for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. d'bi recently received a New Chapter grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to produce Lukumi, an Afro-futurist Dub-Opera.

IAIN BAXTER& - Windsor

IAIN BAXTER& is a pioneering visual artist, and one of Canada's first conceptual artists. For six decades, he has worked in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, installation and photography. He has also had a long teaching career, and inspired Vancouver School artists such as Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham and Stan Douglas. IAIN is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a winner of the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Charmaine Headley - Toronto

Charmaine Headley is the co-founder of COBA (Collective Of Black Artists) and a champion of Africanist dance. She draws on the traditions of this genre, both physically and metaphorically, to speak in a contemporary voice. Advocacy permeates Charmaine's work, as she uses her choreographic voice and the power of stories to address socio-political and cultural inequity. A graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Charmaine also holds a diploma in Gerontology and a Master's in Dance Ethnology, all of which she has drawn on to create a movement‑based program for seniors.

David Lickley - Sudbury

David Lickley is a documentary filmmaker with over 40 science and nature documentaries to his credit. He has directed five IMAX-format films for Science North in Sudbury, including Gold Fever (1999), Bears (2001), Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees (2002) and Mysteries of the Great Lakes (2008). In 2011, he directed Born to be Wild 3D (produced by Warner Bros. and IMAX) and co-directed and wrote Wildfires! A Firefighting Adventure in 4D. Most recently, he established Lickley Productions, directed Wonders of the Arctic 3D (2014), and began developing Jane Goodall's Reasons for Hope.

Kent Monkman - Demorestville

Kent Monkman is a Canadian artist of Cree ancestry who works with a variety of media, including painting, film/video, performance and installation. He has held solo exhibitions at museums such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Toronto, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. In addition, Kent's work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Denver Art Museum, Museum London, the Glenbow Museum, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Claudia Moore - Toronto

Claudia Moore - performer, curator and Artistic Director of MOonhORsE Dance Theatre - has been a force on the Canadian dance scene since the late 1970s. She founded MOonhORsE in 1996 as a home for her performance projects, and continues to pursue her passion as an interpreter in commissioned works by acclaimed creators. Claudia curates Older & Reckless, a performance series that celebrates mature dance artists and their life-long commitment to physical expression. She also leads movement workshops for people of all ages. Past awards include the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts and a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Choreography.

The Arts Organization Award

The Arts Organization Award is given to a not-for-profit or commercial Ontario arts organization involved in the production and/or distribution of artistic work by professional artists.

Debajehmujig Storytellers - Wikwemikong

Debajehmujig Storytellers, one of Canada's foremost Indigenous creation companies, is recognized by their community as the modern-day expression of a long line of storytelling tradition. ("Debajehmujig" is the Anishnaabek word for "storytellers" or the "keepers of the stories.") The organization is based at the Debajehmujig Creation Centre, which is equipped with a black box studio, recording studio, media lab, animation and editing lab, carpentry shop, costume shop and more. Debajehmuijg Storytellers is dedicated to sharing and educating on Anishnaabek language, culture and heritage through original creative expression, with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. It aims to improve the lives of Canada's Indigenous peoples - in their own words, "It is our responsibility to become the best ancestors that we can."

Hillside Festival - Guelph

Now in its 34th year, the Hillside Festival aims to create unity through art. It presents two annual festivals - one in summer and one in winter - featuring Indigenous, indie and world music, as well as children's entertainment, environmental learning, and healthy food, for audiences that number in the thousands. They also offer year-round programming at local schools and camps, including educational workshops, songwriting courses and Indigenous circles, to support their vision to create a better world. Hillside has long advanced Indigenous voices and cultures, promoted health and wellness, and championed eco-conscious measures to better care for the land.

International Festival of Authors - Toronto

The International Festival of Authors (IFOA) brings together internationally renowned authors, distinctive new writers, and the finest Canadian literary voices in a forum that celebrates books and writing. IFOA has grown remarkably since its beginning in 1974, when 18 authors (including Irving Layton, Michael Ondaatje and Tom Robbins) read over six nights. In the years since, it has featured over 9,000 published authors from more than 100 countries, including 22 Nobel laureates.

Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto - Toronto

The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) is an artist-run organization that facilitates excellence in the moving image through media arts education and production resources. Founded in 1981 by a small collective, it has grown to become one of the foremost centres of its kind globally. LIFT offers support and encouragement for independent filmmakers and artists by providing affordable access to production, post-production and exhibition equipment; professional and creative development; workshops and courses; commissioning and exhibitions; artist residencies; and a variety of other services.

Theatre Centre - Toronto

The Theatre Centre is a nationally recognized live arts incubator that serves as a research and development hub for the cultural sector. It is unique within the landscape of contemporary live performance in Toronto and across Canada in its focus on long-term support for cross-disciplinary artistic work. The Theatre Centre provides space, subsidies and mentorship to nurture new work development by the next generation of artistic leaders. It also fosters a culture of innovation by embracing risk and giving artists the opportunity to explore, devise and test.

Young People's Theatre - Toronto

Now celebrating 51 years, Young People's Theatre (YPT) is the oldest professional theatre company in Toronto, and the largest national producer and presenter of theatre for young audiences. Placing learning at the centre of everything they do, YPT has staged many important plays that form the canon of work for youth in our country. Its Education & Participation Department offers young people opportunities to develop their whole being. YPT strives to make a positive, lasting impact on the emotional, social, and intellectual development of young people -- giving them the chance to grow into the unique and wonderful people they were born to be.

Emerging Artist Finalists

The Emerging Artist is selected by the winning artist as part of the award program. The emerging artist must be a professional artist involved in Ontario's arts and culture community. 

Nicolas de Cosson - Windsor

Nicolas de Cosson is an integrated media artist, creating projection-based sculptural pieces designed to support time-based digital constructions. His work focuses on animating skin-like or membrane-like projection surfaces, which can give the effect of objects possessing an inner life, highlighting concepts of boundary and skin. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Lethbridge and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Windsor.

Emily Law - Toronto

Emily Law is a dancer-choreographer active in the contemporary and street dance communities. A graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and the Etobicoke School of the Arts, she also has extensive training in House dancing and Waacking. Emily Law has worked with notable choreographers and companies such as Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, The Dietrich Group and The Chimera Project. She has been nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore awards and a Gemini Award, and she recently represented Canada in the Jeux de la Francophonie in Abidjan with Mix Mix Dance Collective.

Ryan Mariotti - Sudbury

Ryan Mariotti is a cinematographer, drone pilot and travel photographer. He first became interested in video-making as a hobby, and after he obtained his Earth Sciences degree from Trent University, his interest grew into an active career. Ryan has over 20 credits on feature films and TV shows, has shot numerous short films and music videos, and is now diving into the world of documentaries. His work has aired on CBC, the Discovery channel and the History channel.

Brian Rideout - Toronto

Brian Rideout is a visual artist working in representational painting.  His work investigates contemporary images, sourced from print and online for their historical and artistic relevance.  He is interested in art as a document, a decoration, an ideological accessory and as a technological or functional support.

Shakeil Rollock - Toronto

Shakeil Rollock is a dance artist, choreographer, director, and instructor. He began dancing at age 17, beginning in urban styles, then training in classical techniques, and graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Shakeil has worked with many acclaimed Toronto choreographers and has toured internationally to Jamaica and the United Kingdom. His dance collective, Impromptu Movements, performs throughout the Greater Toronto Area, and he also lectures at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Sashoya Simpson - Toronto

Sashoya Simpson (also known as Sashoya Shoya Oya) is a Jamaican-born oral storyteller, writer and theatre performer. She is the founding artistic director of The Walking Griot, a Toronto-based storytellers' guild, where she recently facilitated a folklore theatre program funded by ArtReach and the Toronto Arts Council. Her plays and poetry have appeared in two Black Solo anthologies and the From The Root Zine. Her play Black MOon will have its world premiere in June 2018. She is an alumna of Obsidian Theatre's Playwrights' Unit and graduate of Watah Theatre School.

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