December 11 2020

Congratulations to Khadija Baker and Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Winners of the Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Cultural Diversity in Visual Arts Award

Montréal, December 11, 2020 – The Conseil des arts de Montréal is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Cultural Diversity in Visual Arts Award. This award is given out in conjunction with the City of Montreal’s Prix d'excellence en arts visuels program, in partnership with the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC). Consisting of a $10,000 cash prize, the award goes to an artist from a diverse cultural community or a visible minority who is over the age of 40 and has more than five years of professional practice in Québec to their credit. The artist must have previously exhibited or participated in exhibitions in their country of origin, whether in Québec or outside the province. The award recognizes a visual arts approach or production presented in Montreal in the media of painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, etching or mixed media. It supports the strategic goals of the Conseil des arts de Montréal, for which an inclusive arts scene is a priority.

In light of the impressive number and high quality of the artistic submissions received, the Conseil decided this year to award two purses rather than just one. We wish to congratulate the two winners, each of whom will receive a $10,000 cash prize: Khadija Baker, for her exemplary artistic approach and contribution to the development of her discipline, and Chun Hua Catherine Dong, for the exhibitions she has staged over the last three years.

The works of Khadija Baker, inspired by life experiences that spark strong emotions, are a testament to her involvement in the community while providing a frank and unequivocal platform for the rarely heard voices of Syrian women. The artist explores universal memory, the fragility of women’s bodies and social bonds through works imbued with a powerful presence.

Khadija Baker
Photo: OBORO

Behind Walls
Photo: Guy L'heureux

Chun Hua Catherine Dong has made a name for herself on the local and world stages thanks to her multifaceted exploration of immigration, funeral rites and the nature of identity, using a wide range of media to create works whose originality is rooted in her social and political consciousness and her philosophy of reconciliation.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong
Photo: Courtesy of the artist

I Have Been There 2018
Photo: Greg Sabo

The jury was also impressed by the artistic practice of two other finalists: Avy Loftus, for her batik technique—a medium for sharing and self-expression that she utilizes to promote harmonious coexistence—as well as her relationship with her Indonesian origins and the way she adapts her designs to Canadian realities, and Pavitra Wickramasinghe, for her inspiring and technically perfect works that explore migration, citizenship and the feeling of belonging.

This year’s jury included Sylvie François, Chair of the Conseil des arts de Montréal visual arts evaluation committee, Marie-Denise Douyon, an artist and cultural entrepreneur, Pierre Wilson, former director of the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, and curator Mariza Rosales Argonza.

The 2018 and 2019 Cultural Diversity in Visual Arts Awards were won respectively by Hua Jin, with an honourable mention going to Marie-Josée Gustave, and by Maria Ezcurra, with an honourable mention for Khosro Berhamandi.

About the Conseil des arts de Montréal
A dynamic partner of Montreal’s professional arts community, the Conseil des arts de Montréal identifies, supports and recognizes excellence in artistic creation, production and presentation. Through its transformative initiatives, it fosters the openness, exploration and sense of daring that are hallmarks of Montreal’s artistic landscape. Since 1956, the Conseil has played a decisive role in the development of “Montreal, Cultural Metropolis.”