The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts awards were created in 1999 by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Governor General of Canada. Since then, the awards have celebrated the vibrant arts community in Canada and recognized remarkable careers in the visual and media arts.
Up to eight awards are distributed every year: six awards recognize artistic achievements, one award recognizes an exceptional fine craft artist (Saidye Bronfman Award) and one award recognizes an outstanding contribution to contemporary visual arts, media arts or fine crafts. The winners receive a medallion and a cash prize of $25,000 each.
The GGArts awards are part of the Canada Council’s suite of prizes recognizing artistic merit and outstanding contribution to the arts.
Saidye Bronfman Award
Celebrating exceptional fine craft
artists since 1977
The Saidye Bronfman Award (originally created in 1977) joined the prestigious family of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts in 2007. The award gives Canada’s outstanding craft artists national recognition alongside their peers in the visual and media arts.
The Canadian Museum of History is a valuable, long-standing partner that acquires a work or a series of works from the winning artist for its collection every year.
GGArts winners are selected by independent peer assessment committees.
The peers who adjudicated the 2023 awards are:
Artistic Achievement Award and Outstanding Contribution Award
- Rémi Belliveau, Visual Artist and Musician (Memramcook, New Brunswick)
- Karen Chapman, Writer, Director, Storyteller, Smallaxx Motion Pictures (Scarborough, Ontario)
- Brenda Draney, Visual Artist (Edmonton, Alberta)
- Aude Moreau, Visual Artist (Montréal, Quebec)
- Reid Shier, Executive Director, The Polygon Gallery (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Saidye Bronfman Award
- Maegen Black, Associate Dean, New Brunswick College of Craft & Design (Fredericton, New Brunswick)
- Laurent Craste, Ceramic Artist and Visual Artist (Saint-Damien, Quebec)
- Naoko Takenouchi, Glass Artist (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Celebrating the winners
The Canada Council for the Arts is grateful to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General for their continued engagement and ongoing support of the award ceremony. The ceremony is a unique opportunity for winners to be celebrated by their peers and members of the arts community from across the country.
All the winners receive special-edition medallions produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.
The bronze medallions are 75 mm (three inches) in diameter and bear the emblem of a maple tree flanked by two crowned lion’s heads. The maple is the symbol used to represent the Canada Council. The lions represent the vice-regal emblem of the Governor General; their crowns represent Canada; and their number, the two disciplines recognized by the award. The motto, “Excellentiae in artibus causa” [for excellence in the arts] adorns the face of the medallion, while “Canada Council for the Arts” is engraved on the edge. The name of the award, the year it is awarded, and the name of the winner are engraved on the back of the medallions.
The Canada Council for the Arts is grateful to partner with the National Gallery of Canada to celebrate the winners of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. The Gallery shines a light on the work of these outstanding artists through a series of activities and initiatives. An exhibition featuring the works of the winners of these outstanding artists will be held at the Gallery in the fall of 2023.
GGArts Take Flight!
Video portraits of the winners will be available on Air Canada’s domestic flights from June 1st to November 30th, 2023.