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Haida Nation artist and hereditary chief James Hart wins $100K Audain Prize

Master carver of Audain Art Museum’s Dance Screen honoured at Vancouver luncheon
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James Hart (left) takes part in the inaugural ceremony for The Dance Screen (The Scream Too) along with Michael Audain, founder of the Audain Art Museum, in 2018.

Haida Nation master carver and Eagle Clan hereditary chief James Hart is this year’s winner of the Audain Prize and $100,000.

Hart, the creator of The Dance Screen (The Scream Too), the centrepiece of the Audain Art Museum’s permanent collection, was honoured at a luncheon Monday, Nov. 8 at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.

“It is a real honour to make this award to one of B.C.’s greatest living artists—Jim Hart,” said Michael Audain, chairman of the Audain Foundation, in a release. “Mr. Hart is a carver in a long line of Haida artists: master carver and Hart’s ancestor Charles Edenshaw, Bill Reid, and Robert Davidson with whom Hart apprenticed with in 1978.

“The Audain Foundation wants to see our leading artists become better known. British Columbia has many internationally renowned visual artists who are not as widely recognized in our own province as they should be.”

Awarded to British Colombia’s most distinguished visual artists, the Audain Prize was created in 2004, and over the years has been handed out to a who’s who of the B.C. art world. Past recipients include: Ann Kipling; Edward J. Hughes; Eric Metcalfe; Gordon Smith; Jeff Wall, Liz Magor, Robert Davidson, Rodney Graham, Marian Penner Bancroft, Takao Tanabe; Gathie Falk; Fred Herzog; Michael Morris; Paul Wong; Carole Itter; Susan Point; and Stan Douglas.

The Audain Foundation also announced the recipients of its annual $7,500 travel grants for students in university-level visual arts programs. This year’s recipients are: Pip Dryden of the University of British Columbia Okanagan; Carly Greene of the University of Victoria; Erick Jantzen of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design; Homa Khosravi of Simon Fraser University; and Romi Kim of the University of British Columbia.

The awards come on the heels of Audain’s $100-million donation to the Vancouver Art Gallery—billed as the largest ever donation to a Canadian art gallery—for the construction of a new building planned for Larwill Park in Downtown Vancouver.