In recognition of an exceptional career dedicated to the tireless promotion of Canadian visual arts, Carleton University’s Diana Nemiroff was awarded the 2012 Governor General Award in Visual and Media Arts for Outstanding Contribution at an event held at Rideau Hall.
Nemiroff was among eight recipients to be recognized by the Governor General David Johnston last night at a special ceremony. Each visual artist was feted for his or her groundbreaking work in Canada’s dynamic art scene. In addition to a $25,000 prize from the Canada Council, each winner received a special issue medallion sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mint.
“In my field, this is the most important award that I could win,’’ Nemiroff said after she learned she’d receive the honour. “And winning a specifically Canadian award that is considered to be the pinnacle of recognition makes it especially meaningful to me.”
Nemiroff, a pioneer in the field of contemporary Canadian art, won a lifetime achievement award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries in 2011 and was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada. She has made an enduring impact on the art landscape and curatorial practice in the country. Appointed as director of CUAG in 2005, she put the gallery on a stable financial footing, found more public funding to allow its curator to travel and do more writing, and has managed the process of digitizing the entire collection of 27,000 items.
Before joining Carleton, Nemiroff was a senior curator at the National Gallery of Canada. In her nomination letter, her successor Kitty Scott wrote: “Nemiroff is an extraordinary and deeply influential figure in the landscape of Canadian art and curatorial practice. She has made the importance of curatorial work visible and her intense respect for and engagement with artists, exceptional commitment to the advancement of understanding of contemporary visual arts in Canada, and continuing support as a curator, writer, educator, critic and advocate have made, and continue to make, a truly remarkable contribution to Canadian contemporary art.”
Nemiroff is set to retire from Carleton University in June but she does not plan to stop working. She wants to write more and will continue to work with artists.
“It’s time for me to be more selfish in a way,” she said. “Retirement isn’t about me disappearing, it’s about me taking time for my own reading and research. I will be more choosy about what I work on and hope to give back in an intellectual way.”
For more information:
613-520-2600 ext 8718
Photo credit: MCpl Dany Veillette, Rideau Hall
2012 Office of the Secretary to the Governor General of Canada