Fine arts talent livens up the summer

York’s talented Fine Arts faculty members have a busy summer ahead of them with a full slate of performances and exhibitions on the way. Here’s a roundup of some of their accomplishments and what’s upcoming:

Visual Arts Professor Emeritus Tim Whiten (right) has been short-listed for the prestigious 2008 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts recognizing outstanding achievement in professional arts practice. The winning artist will receive $35,000 and will select a new or emerging artist to receive a prize of $15,000. The remaining finalists will each receive $2,000. Whiten’s new solo exhibition, titled Up, Down, In-Between, opens at the Olga Korper Gallery this Thurs. June 5 with a reception 6-9pm. The show will be on view until July 31.

Department of Dance adjunct Professor Menaka Thakkar (left) recently won a national Excellence in Multiculturalism Celebration Award for Arts and Education presented by the Enriching My Canada & Yours (EMCY) Awards Foundation. The award, given for the first time this year, recognizes individuals fighting racism, creating inclusive work places and stimulating dialogue and action on making Canada a nation open to the diversity of the human condition. It searches out those who demonstrate vision, leadership, innovation, achievement and impact in cultural diversity.

Film student Pouyan Jafarazedah’s short film Morning Will Come was one of 13 finalists for the TIFF Student Film Festival Awards held May 21 at the Cumberland Cinema in Yorkville. While the film did not win an award, Professor Barbara Evans said, “it was a thrill to see it up on the big screen and it got great feedback from the audience and teachers from other film schools and colleges.”

Soprano Vania Chan (right), who is set to graduate with a BFA from the Music Department this month, has won the City of Brandon Award at the 2008 Eckhardt-Gramatté Music Competition. Now in its 31st year, the E-gré Competition as it is commonly known, is a prestigious national event focusing on contemporary music and exceptional performance. It champions Canadian music and is open only to Canadian musicians between the ages of 18 and 30 (35 for voice). Chan received the $1,000 prize for best performance of the 2007 commissioned work Involuntary Love Songs by Vancouver composer Jocelyn Morlock.

Film Professor Ali Kazimi (left) has an award-winning documentary Continuous Journey that was recently featured in two Toronto-based Asian Heritage Month events: CBC Film Screenings on May 30 and the first Reel Asian Spring Showcase held May 23-25 in the Price Family Cinema at York. Continuous Journey investigates the infamous Komagata Maru incident of 1914, when a vessel with 376 immigrants from British India became the first ship carrying migrants to be turned away by Canada.

Music Professor Trichy Sankaran (right) is performing in the annual Muhtadi International Drum Festival June 7 at 5 pm at Queen’s Park. The two-day festival features many groups including York music instructor Rick Lazar’s Samba Squad. On June 8, Sankaran appears with pianist-guitarist-composer Egberto Gismonti in An Evening with Egberto Gismonti. The concert is part of the third annual Art of Jazz Celebration in Toronto’s Distillery Historic District

Fine Arts Dean Phillip Silver’s latest stage project is set design for the Toronto premiere of Wendy Wasserstein’s Broadway hit, The Sisters Rosensweig. The play is produced by the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, directed by Jim Warrenand stars Linda Kash, Sarah Dodd and York alumna Rosemary Dunsmore (BA Theatre ’73). This captivating look at three uncommon women and their quest for love, self-definition and fulfillment runs June 7 to 21 at the Jane Mallett Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts.

Dance Professor Carol Anderson (left) will read from her new book Unfold a Portrait of Peggy Baker at a June 9 launch event hosted by publisher Danse Collection Dance in Ottawa during the Canada Dance Festival at the Arts Court Studio. Illustrated with 120 photographs, Anderson’s book is a tribute to a performer and choreographer recognized internationally as one of the leading dance artists of her generation.

Professor Holly Small (right), director of the new MFA program in dance, is one of the subjects of the project "Toronto’s Mille Femmes" by French photographer Pierre Maraval. The project is a visual tribute to 1,000 creative women from Toronto, drawn from all artistic fields and media, celebrating their achievements and the creative character and diversity of this city. Each woman chosen for the show was asked to select three protegées to participate. Small chose three York alumni: Rebecca Mendoza (BFA ’00), Shannon Elliott (MA ’08) and Paramita Nath (MA ’07). The resulting mosaic of 1,000 portraits will be displayed as part of the 2008 Luminato – Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity at Allan Lambert Galleria, Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place) in Toronto, from June 9 to June 15.

Visual Arts Professor Michel Daigneault recently completed an invitational residency at Toronto’s Open Studio. His year-long residency culminated in an exhibition of a series of mono prints that were on view in the Open Studio gallery May 1 – 24. Daigneault is also participating in the Manif d’Art Quebec City Contemporary Art Biennial. His collaborative exhibition with Stephen Schofield, called Jusqu’au bout des le vres is on display at the GM 840 gallery until June 15.

Visual arts Professor Jennifer Fisher and her Display Cult colleague Jim Drobnick have co-curated Odor Limits, an exhibition that explores the potential of smell in aesthetic experience. Because of the sense of smell’s inherent subjectivity and intimacy, these olfactory artworks generate thought-provoking insights into cultural difference, spirituality, and the philosophy of the body. The four artists included in this exhibition [Oswaldo Maciá (London), Jenny Marketou (Athens/New York), Chrysanne Stathacos (Toronto/New York), Clara Ursitti (Glasgow)] have each demonstrated a long-term commitment to investigating the nature of scent and have pioneered its use in installation, performance, video and relational artworks. The exhibition is running at the Esther M. Klein Art Gallery in Philadelphia until June 29.