Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts honour 8 of Canada’s best

Edward Burtynsky, Colorado River Delta #2, Near San Filipe, Baja, Mexico, 2011

Edward Burtynsky, Colorado River Delta #2, Near San Filipe, Baja, Mexico, 2011, chromogenic print, 1.52 m x 2.03 m, on loan to the US Embassy in Ottawa. ©Edward Burtynsky

Ottawa, March 7, 2016 – The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the winners of the 2016 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. The awards carry a $25,000 cash prize and recognize outstanding career achievement. They are funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, and include categories for artistic achievement in visual and media arts, fine craft (Saidye Bronfman Award) and outstanding contribution. The awards ceremony and a presentation of the medallions by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada will take place at Rideau Hall on March 23, 2016.

The 2016 winners are: 

How Canadians can learn more about this year’s winners and their work:

  • Watch short films on each of the winners, directed by award-winning Canadian filmmakers and commissioned by the Canada Council in partnership with the Independent Media Arts Alliance. The films are available on online and at film festivals throughout the year. Travellers on Air Canada will also be able to view them on the company’s in-flight entertainment system from April 1 to May 31, 2016.
  • Visit the National Gallery of Canada from March 24 to September 5, 2016, where the 2016 #GGArts exhibition – organized by NGC Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, Rhiannon Vogl – will feature selected works by this year’s winners. The #GGArts vernissage will take place on Thursday, March 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Meet the GGAVMA-winner Philip Hoffman and view his films in their original 16mm format at a special screening at Arts Court Theatre on March 22. Presented in partnership with the Canadian Film Institute.


“These artists have achieved an exceptional level of mastery of their art forms, to the point where they influence the way we Canadians understand our world and its challenges,” said Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council. “They participate with passion and creativity in some of the most pressing debates of our times, including discussions on sustainable development, the environment, identity and gender.”

“The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts celebrate Canada’s leading artists and most dedicated supporters of the arts,” said Governor General David Johnston. “Each laureate has a unique visual language that enriches our culture and strengthens our nation. These awards highlight Canada’s long tradition of recognizing and encouraging talent, creativity and dedication.”

About the Canada Council
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national public arts funder. We champion and invest in artistic excellence so that Canadians may enjoy and participate in a rich cultural life. In 2014-15 we allocated $155.1 million dollars towards artistic creation and innovation through our grants, prizes and payments. We also conduct research, convene activities and work with partners to advance the sector and help embed the arts more deeply in communities across the country. We are responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future for Canadians. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts. 


Media contacts:       

Canada Council for the Arts
Ashley Tardif-Bennett: 1-800-263-5588 or 613-566-4414, ext. 6030

To arrange interviews with the winners:

Genesis PR
Geneviève Blouin: 514-887-8187 

To attend the media preview of the National Gallery exhibition on March 23 at 10 am:

National Gallery of Canada
Josée-Britanie Mallet: 613-990-6835

To attend the Rideau Hall Ceremony on March 23 at 6 pm: 

Rideau Hall Press Office
Julie Rocheleau: 613-998-7280