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Photographer Sandra Semchuk receives Governor General’s Award

Posted on 2018-02-21 in Arts & Culture, Alumni

Photographer Sandra Semchuk (BFA'70) is one of the 2018 winners of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

Photographer and video artist Sandra Semchuk (BFA’70) is one of the 2018 winners of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

The awards, which were created by Canada’s governor general and the Canada Council for the Arts in 1999, recognize remarkable careers in the visual and media arts. Winners receive a medallion and $25,000.

In every tree breath
Sandra Semchuk (collaboration with Jerry DesVoignes), In every tree breath, 2015, film, 11 min 40 s

Born in 1948 in Meadow Lake, Sask., Semchuk studied structurist art with Eli Bornstein and co-founded the artist-run Photographers Gallery in Saskatoon. She is currently based in Vancouver, B.C., where she teaches at Emily Carr University.

Semchuk’s work has been informed by her identity as a Ukrainian Canadian woman who grew up on the Prairies as a child of Ukrainian immigrants. Her 15-year collaboration with her late husband, Rock Cree actor and orator James Nicholas, led to works that consider potential conciliations within the self and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

I am afraid of + what you fear
Sandra Semchuk, I am afraid of + what you fear, 2010-2012

Her work has been exhibited at galleries across Canada and abroad, including the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (Ottawa), the Center for Creative Photography (Tuscon, Ariz.), the Chapel Gallery (Battleford, Sask), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museu D’art Contemporani (Barcelona).

The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts honour up to seven artists per year for their artistic achievements and one person for her or his outstanding contribution to contemporary visual and/or media arts.

Self Portrait Galiano Island
Sandra Semchuk, Self-Portrait, Galiano Island, 1988

In addition to Semchuk, the other 2018 winners include visual and performance artist Adrian Stimson (MFA’06), curator/director Glenn Alteen, visual artist Bruce Eves, media artist Wyn Geleynse, visual artist Spring Hurlbut, media artist Midi Onodera and Regina, Sask.-based ceramic artist Jack Sures, who received the Saidye Bronfman Award.


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