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OCAD University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano is the 2021 recipient of the Crystal Award for Digital Trailblazer, an honour bestowed by Women in Film & Television Toronto (WIFT Toronto). The award recipients were announced on November 2, 2021.

The Crystal Awards recognize Canadian women who are leaders in the film, television and media industries, and celebrate excellence in creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership. Serrano joins Dr. Shirley Cheecho, Jennifer Holness, Anita Lee and Jane Tattersall who will receive their awards on March 8, 2022 at WIFT Toronto’s first in-person gala since 2019.

The Digital Trailblazer Award specifically recognizes a recipient’s innovations in Canada’s digital and interactive media industries.

Since its inception in 1988, more than 150 exceptional women have received Crystal Awards, which also recognize the commitment by recipients to mentoring the next generation of creators and industry leaders. Crystal Award winners have a minimum of 10 years of experience in the film industry and are selected by an independent jury of previous award recipients.

“It truly is an honour to be recognized by Women in Film & Television Toronto and to be among so many distinguished industry leaders and changemakers. WIFT is a critical organization that celebrates and propels the careers of women in media and I’m so pleased to be a part of their ecosystem,” said President Serrano.

Before joining OCAD U as President and Vice-Chancellor in July 2020, Serrano was the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) where she founded CFC Media Lab, the world-renowned and award-winning institute for interactive storytelling.

As CDO, she drove the digital evolution of the CFC, which resulted in its current form as a product and company accelerator and creative production house. In 2012, she launched Canada’s first digital entertainment accelerator IDEABOOST with founding partners Shaw Media, Corus Entertainment and Google.

Throughout her career, Serrano has directed the development of more than 140 digital media projects, mentored more than 70 start-ups and has received numerous awards from the digital media, film and theatre industries in Canada, United States and France.

The 2021 awards are sponsored by major multinational media and entertainment companies, Bell Media Inc., Entertainment One Ltd. and Company3.

This year’s jury included: Mary Bredin, creative development producer, Green Tiger Club Ltd.; Alison Duke, producer/director; and Beth Janson, CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

News Summary
The award recognizes a recipient’s innovations in Canada’s digital and interactive media industries.
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Portrait of President Ana Serrano with dark hair and a dark background.

Earlier this month, the 2020 RBC Newcomer Arts Awards were given out to 10 Toronto-based artists who hail from countries all over the globe. Fourth-year Sculpture & Installation student Helio Eudoro, a Brazilian-Canadian multi-media artist, is the recipient of one of those prizes, valued at $2,000.

The award is administered through the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network, and sponsored by RBC, and is given to skilled artists working in any discipline. The award is designed to help offset barriers faced by newcomer artists, such as access to resources, community and funding to create new work.

Through his photo-based multi-disciplinary work, Helio explores layers of visibility that cross dimensions such as gender, sexuality, the body, income, immigration, age and other forms of social and cultural exclusion. Winner of the Acquisition Prize of Salão de Arte de Ribeirão Preto in 2001 and granted the Grand Prix by the Salão do Paraná in 2003, Helio has appeared in major Brazilian art exhibitions such as Salão do Jovem Artista from the Mercosul Biennial Foundation, Salão da Bahia, Salão de Arte de Porto Alegre and Museu de Arte Contemporânea do Rio Grande do Sul. His works are in the collections of renowned museums and galleries in Brazil. Helio holds a Master’s degree in Business Marketing from the ESPM (Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing), Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Image: Invisible by the Law by Helio Eudoro (2019), digital photography.

News Summary
Fourth-year Sculpture & Installation student Helio Eudoro, a Brazilian-Canadian multi-media artist, is the recipient of a 2020 RBC Newcomer Award.
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Invisible by the Law by Helio Eudoro (2019), digital photography.

Installation view of Georgia Dickie: Agouti Sky at Oakville Galleries, 2019. Photo: Laura Findlay.

Two OCAD University graduates – Georgia Dickie and Tsēmā Igharas – are among the 25 recipients of the 2020 Sobey Art Award– one of most distinguished awards in contemporary Canadian art.

The winners, selected by a jury of Canadian and international curators and gallery directors, reflect the remarkable richness and range of contemporary art practices from Canada's five geographical regions.

“On behalf of the OCAD University, we congratulate Georgia and Tsēmā on receiving this prestigious award,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, president and vice-chancellor. “This award celebrates the exceptional work of these artists and highlights the important contribution of contemporary art within our society. The arts and creativity are beacons of hope in the current COVID-19 crisis.”

The $100,000 annual award is usually given to one established artist who is 40 years or younger and has exhibited work in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated.

However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes were made to this year’s award program so that each of the 25 artists on the jury-selected longlist will receive $25,000. The Sobey Art Foundation and National Gallery of Canada also announced it was cancelling the selection of a five artist shortlist, annual shortlist exhibition, final winner announcement gala and International Residencies Program.

“As is often the case with the work I make, the components are destined to be disassembled, re-entered into inventory and then discarded or reused following the exhibition,” explains Dickie who earned her BFA in Sculpture and Installation. “The very idea of context is put into question in my work. I try to push the boundaries of my material inventory, broadening what can be considered usable material. Nothing is off limits and anything will do.”

"I am truly honoured to be alongside 24 other artists who I share this prestigious award with. In a time of precarity and uncertainty, this award is a lifeline, a ray of light and an affirmation of the work that I (we) do and that our art matters," says Igharas. "It is a radical act of care by the Sobey Art Foundation and National Gallery of Canada to have the long listers recognized like this and change their structure to support as many artists as possible. It is truly a blessing to be included in that list."

Last year, OCAD U graduate Stephanie Comilang won the prestigious 2019 Sobey Art Award. 2019. The artist, representing the Ontario region, was awarded the contemporary art prize worth $100,000.

Meet the OCAD U winners

Georgia Dickie
Dickie earned her BFA in Sculpture and Installation from OCAD U in 2011. The Toronto-resident makes sculptural work out of found objects that she collects in her studio. Her process of reassembling these materials into new arrangements is based on a logic of eschewing and rebalancing their assigned functions. By staging these intricate assemblages, she not only reveals the inherent limitations of material value and meaning, but also imagines alternative potentials.

She has participated in solo and group exhibitions internationally including Oakville Galleries, Oakville (2019); Rolando Anselmi, Berlin (2018); Jeffrey Stark, New York (2017); Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2017); Cooper Cole (2017); Springsteen Gallery, Baltimore (2016); Art Museum of U of T, Toronto (2016); The Power Plant, Toronto (2013); and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2012). In February 2015, she was the Canada Council for the Arts artist in residence at Acme Studios in London, UK.

Tsēmā Igharas
Tsēmā Igharas is an interdisciplinary artist and a member of the Tahltan First Nation. She uses Potlatch methodology to create conceptual artwork and teachings influenced by her mentorship in Northwest Coast Formline Design at K’saan (2005-06), her studies in visual culture and time in the mountains.

She has a BA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2011) and graduated from the Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media and Design program at OCAD U showing her thesis work, LAND|MINE that connects materials to mine sites and bodies to the land.

She is currently a contributing member and representative for ReMatriate Collective. Igharas won the 2018 Emily Award for outstanding ECUAD alumni; has shown and performed in various places in Canada including 2016 and 2018 Montreal Contemporary Native Art Biennial; and internationally in Mexico, USA and Chile.


Georgia Dickie and Tsēmā Igharas will each receive $25,000, a change made in the program only for this year in light of COVID-19
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Installation view of Georgia Dickie: Agouti Sky at Oakville Galleries, 2019. Photo: Laura Findlay.

Please see the poster for full contest details. 

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