Seven mid-career artists receive $15,000 each from the Canada Council for the Arts

Martin Messier, Sewing Machine Orchestra (photo: Alexis Bellavance)
Martin Messier, Sewing Machine Orchestra (Photo : Alexis Bellavance)

Ottawa, May 7, 2014 – The 2014 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Prizes, worth a total of $105,000, are awarded to artists in the seven disciplines funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. This year’s recipients are:

Biographical notes below.

Download images of the winners and their work.


“The Canada Council supports artists at different stages of their career and the Victor Martyn Lynch‑Staunton Prize recognizes a turning point for these artists,” said Canada Council Director and CEO Robert Sirman. “We honour their accomplishments to date and support their next steps in producing outstanding work and expanding the reach of Canadian creativity.”

About the award

The Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton awards, worth $15,000 each, recognize outstanding
mid-career artists in the seven disciplines funded by the Canada Council: dance, inter-arts, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts and writing and publishing. The prizes were created in 1967 using funds from a generous bequest made by the late Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton to the Canada Council. The winners were chosen from the pool of applicants from the Grants to Professional Artists programs during the 2013‑14 fiscal year.

Olivier Choinière (Theatre)

Olvier Choinière (photo: Eugene Holtz)Olivier Choinière was discovered with Le bain des raines (1998), a finalist in the Governor General’s Literary Awards, followed by Autodafé (1999), directed by André Brassard. Venise-en-Québec (2006) and Nom de domaine (2013) were also GG finalists. Félicité, created in 2007, was presented at the Royal Court Theatre of London. The English version, Bliss, has since been staged in Canada, Scotland, Australia and Switzerland. MOMMY (2013) won four awards at the Cochons d'or gala and was a finalist for the Michel-Tremblay Award. Olivier Choinière directed 50 actors in Chante avec moi (2010), a play that won an AQCT Award and was presented at the NAC and the FTA. It will open Théâtre du Trident’s 2014-2015 season in Quebec City.


Martin Messier (Media Arts)

Martin Messier (photo: Jocelyn Michel)Martin Messier explores the relationship between sound and material, objects or bodies, and specializes in sound performances. He gives voice to everyday objects, invented machines and bodies in movement. In his performance installations, including La chambre des machines and Sewing Machine Orchestra, he seeks to magnify these entities and reinvent their function. In choreographic works such as Hit and Fall, Derrière le Rideau and Soak, there is a desire to reverse the hierarchical relationship between music and dance in order to make sound the driver of the movement. Presented in more than twenty countries, his works have won several honours including a mention in the 2010 Prix Ars Electronica, a nomination in the 2012 Prix Opus and a 2013 Award for short experimental film at the Lausanne Underground Film Festival.

Kevin Anthony Ormsby (Dance)

Kevin Anthony Ormsby (photo: Christopher Cushman)Artistic Director of KasheDance, Kevin Anthony Ormsby works as a dance teacher, choreographer, movement coach and arts marketing consultant. He danced with Garth Fagan Dance (N.Y.), Ballet Creole and in works by Marie Josée Chartier, Allison Cummings, Ron K. Brown, Menaka Thakkar, Mark Morris and Bill T. Jones. As the Project Coordinator for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), he delivers programming in professional and organizational development. Ormsby is a published author in Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Gonna Come by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and is a Board Member of Prologue to the Performing Arts, Nia Centre for the Arts and now sits on Toronto Arts Council’s Dance Committee.

André Ristic (Music)

André Ristic (photo : Isabelle Françaix)André Ristic studied mathematics at the Université du Québec à Montréal and completed his musical studies at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, where he received instruction in composition and piano. As a music theorist, his interests include the mathematical representation of sound and programming models, as well as the musical applications of signal theory and the analytical study of musical manuscripts. His numerous recognitions include the Canada Council for the Arts Jules Léger Prize (2000), the Prix Opus for Composer of the Year awarded by the Conseil québécois de la musique (2001) and the SOCAN award for chamber music (2001). He is a member of Piano Faculty at the Institut Jacques-Dalcroze in Brussels, Belgium, where he currently resides.

Alain Veilleux (Inter-Arts)

Alain Veilleux (photo: David Cannon)Alain Veilleux is the founding president of La Centaurée, laboratoire de cirque équestre and Clowns sans frontières (Quebec section). He is also a founding member and administrator of Corporacion el Circo del Mundo-Chile and administrator of En Piste. He has directed productions in Canada and around the world in countries such as France, Spain, Brasil, Chili, Ethiopia and Japan with various circuses including Les Studios de Cirque de Marseille, Intrepida Trupe, Luna Caballera and the Cirque du Soleil. His international recognitions include the Bronze medal at the China WuQiao International Circus Festival, the silver medal and at the Festival de cirque La piste aux espoirs in Tournai, Belgium, and the International Circus Festival of Verona, Italy. 

Hajra Waheed (Visual Arts)

Hajra Waheed (photo: Nick Bostwick Photography)Hajra Waheed's work seeks to address personal, national and cultural identity formation in relation to political history, popular imagination and the broad impact of colonial power globally. Her mixed media practice consists of on-going bodies of work that continue to amass a growing personal archive – one in response to all those seemingly lost amongst rapid regional development and/or political strife. Over the last decade, Waheed has participated in exhibitions worldwide, most recently including Collages: Gesture & Fragments, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2014), Sea Change, Experimenter, Kolkata (2013), (In) the First Circle, Antoni Tapies Foundation, Barcelona and Lines of Control, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, N.Y. (2012). Her works can be found in a number of permanent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the British Museum, London, the Burger Collection, Zurich and Devi Art Foundation, Delhi. She lives and works in Montreal.

Robert Anthony Wright (Writing and Publishing) 

Robert Anthony Wright (photo: courtesy of Robert Anthony Wright)Canadian historian, author and screenwriter Robert Anthony Wright writes and speaks on a broad range of contemporary issues, from popular music and the plight of youth to Canadian politics and diplomacy. He is the recipient of numerous research and publishing honours, including the Lela Common Prize for Canadian History for his national bestseller Three Nights in Havana (2007). Other publications include Hip and Trivial: Youth Culture, Book Publishing, and the Greying of Canadian Nationalism (2001), Virtual Sovereignty: Nationalism, Culture and the Canadian Question (2004), Our Place in the Sun: Canada and Cuba in the Castro Era (2009) and Our Man in Tehran (2011). His new book, The Night Canada Stood Still, will be published by HarperCollins Canada later this year. He lives in Toronto.

General information

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national arts funder. Its grants and payments to artists and arts organizations contribute to a vibrant arts scene in Canada. Its awards celebrate creativity by recognizing exceptional Canadians in the arts, humanities and sciences. The Canada Council Art Bank is a national collection of over 17,000 Canadian contemporary artworks – all accessible to the public through rental, loan and outreach programs. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO operates within the Canada Council.


Media Contacts:           

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Heather McAfee: 1-800-263-5588 or 613-566-4414, ext. 4166