THE 2015 Citynews Artist of the Year award has gone to dance artist Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, it was announced at the 25th ACT Arts Awards ceremony on Monday November 23 at the Canberra Museum and Gallery.
|Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, photoby Barbie Robinson
Ms. Dalman, who is currently teaching at an arts university in Taiwan, could not attend the ceremony, but her son, Andreas Dalman, spoke on her behalf and accepted a cheque to the value of $1,000, together with a fine porcelain bowl from the “After the Fire” series by Canberra ceramic artist Avi Amesbury.
A daring choreographer and pioneer of modern dance in this country, Ms. Dalman was described by one member of the Canberra Critics’ Circle judging panel as “the doyenne of Australian dance.” At 81 she is fully engaged in dancing and creating new works, often collaborating with Aboriginal and Taiwanese dance artists.Circle members unanimously supported the nomination of such an exemplary artist.
Founder in 1965 of the Australian Dance Theatre in Adelaide, Ms. Dalman made her home in the Canberra region 26 years ago, setting up an arts centre and the Mirramu Dance Company at her property on the shores of Lake George while also founding “Weereewa – a Festival of Lake George”.
Speaking by phone from Taipei, she said the news gave her pangs of home sickness,” adding, “I have always felt proud to be a part of Canberra's artistic and cultural community.”
The ACT Arts Awards evening, hosted by the Canberra Critics’ Circle, also featured the Circle’s own arts awards.
Among the more unusual awards was one to filmmakers Declan Shrubb, Christian Doran and Daniel Sanguineti, for their feature, Me and My Mates Vs the Zombie Apocalypse, which has achieved more than 30 screenings nationwide.
The 2015 Canberra Critics Circle is as follows:
Cris Kennedy Jane Freebury Kerry-Anne Cousins Meredith Hinchliffe Claire Capel-Stanley John Lombard Alanna Maclean Frank McKone Peter Wilkins Helen Musa Simone Penkethman Johnny Milner Len Power Michelle Potter Samara Purnell Bill Stephens Peter Wilkins Joe Woodward Clinton White Jessica Oliver Jennifer Gall Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak Ian McLean and Judith Crispin
The full citations for the 2015 Critics Circle Awards are as follows:
For her exhibition Table Tools at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre in September this year. The vessels, spoons, scoops, whisks are fully resolved, bringing the artist’s concept to fruition. The paring back of form and decoration creates simplicity of form. In particular, ‘ten bowls for ten days’ were outstanding.
For her exhibition Unfold/ Construct at Bilk Gallery in February this year. An exhibition of beautifully crafted and constructed jewellery that was sculptural in concept playing with shape, texture and colour in a sophisticated way showing contemporary jewellery that has integrity as art and is eminently wearable.
For his exhibition Canopy at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in July that was based on the artist’s engagement with the Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve and for his continuing contribution to the visual arts in Canberra through his exploration of all aspects of printmaking as well as his mentoring of aspiring artists.
For her singular and sophisticated investigation of the aesthetics, production, dissemination and consumption of print-media, culminating in the innovative and visually outstanding exhibition Death of a Broadsheet at Megalo Print Studio and Gallery, in May 2015.
For his dedicated and innovative efforts to foster experimental and multi-art practice in Canberra across a range of public platforms, including the collaborative arts events, Playful Sound at Gorman Arts Centre.
For his mystery documentary Maratus, an excellently-made film concerning the Peacock Spider (Maratus Volans), a garbage collector and a journey of self-discovery for a colourful citizen-scientist.
For the feature film Me and My Mates Vs the Zombie Apocalypse. Written and directed by Declan Shrubb, the film saw the use of a new and untested distribution platform, tugg.com, which crowd-sourced audiences and booked venues. This creative entrepreneurial team achieved more than 30 screenings around the country, including in every capital, for its very funny, quality film.
Declan Shrubb, Christian Doran and Daniel Sanguineti
For his spellbinding performance of his own brand of urban haiku for Poetry at the Gods in September 2015. Bullock, a master of this elusive poetry form, has also been noted for his poems on environmental, health and current affairs issues, published on Crikey's online health blog.
For The Anchoress, a compelling and haunting debut novel set in mediaeval England depicting a 17 year-old-girl who renounces the world.
For Goodbye Sweetheart, a powerful novel of love, loss, betrayal and the desire for understanding. Halligan’s superb writing about grief is clear-eyed yet compassionate.
For Crow Mellow, Julian Davies’ reinterpretation of Aldous Huxley’s satire Crome Yellow, in which the characters, illustrated by Phil Day, are transplanted into contemporary Australia.
Julian Davies & Phil Day
For stepping into Canberra Choral Society's 2015 performance of Handel's 'Hercules' at very short notice to perform the virtuosic lead role of Lichas, performing it from memory and demonstrating a fine understanding of Handel’s baroque-period music and harmonic language.
For its concert, This American Life in Wesley Uniting Church and for its tour de force performance of the 1742 version of Handel’s Messiah in St Paul’s Church Manuka, both performances signalling it will not take the easy way out.
Coro Chamber Music
For his original songs of ‘self-renewal’, often drawn from life in Canberra and Queanbeyan, evident in two LPs and one EP released in 2015 and featured in this singer-songwriter and guitar whiz kid’s August tour to Tokyo.
For her outstanding CD recording, Aubade and Nocturne, released in 2015, amazingly beautiful in every respect, providing a wonderful retrospective of her recent works and featuring many of Canberra’s finest professional musicians.
For his insightful portrayal of the character Albin in the musical La Cage Aux Folles for Supa Productions.
Ben O’Reilly (SUPA PRODUCTIONS’ GARRICK SMITH TO PICK UP)
for his outstanding performance as Dick in the musical High Fidelity for Phoenix Players.
Will Huang (HWANG)
For her outstanding performance as both the Bird woman and Miss Andrew in the Free Rain production of the musical Mary Poppins.
For her superbly realised choreography for Free Rain Theatre’s production of the musical Mary Poppins.
For outstanding technical achievement in lighting and sound for the arena production of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar for Peewee Productions.
For Walking and Falling at the National Portrait Gallery in conjunction with All That Fall— the Gallery’s contribution to the Anzac Centenary. With a small cast of three, this was impeccably performed, delivered huge emotional impact to audiences, made excellent use of a small range of props to suggest a range of situations and was choreographed to suit perfectly the confined space of the gallery’s foyer.
For her works Fortuity and L, with which she celebrated her 50th Anniversary as a trail blazer in the field of contemporary dance. Containing many of her signature pieces from her early career, along with recently choreographed works for her Mirramu Dance Company, these formed an important retrospective of Dalman’s contribution to Australian contemporary dance.
Elizabeth Cameron Dalman
For the impact and excellence of his play Scandalous Boy, which tackled the story of Emperor Hadrian and his lover Antinous in a way that communicated it clearly to a modern audience while maintaining a sense of the past.
To David Atfield
For the excellence and impact of her portrayal of Violet Weston in Free Rain Theatre’s August – Osage County.
To Karen Vickery
For her restrained and elegant direction of Tuesdays with Morrie.
To Liz Bradley
For his original, excellent and creative set for Canberra Repertory’s The Crucible.
To Michael Sparks
For her role as producer/director/dramaturg, with co-creator Louise Morris; for the conception, originality and execution of Anthology, a site-specific piece of theatre that brought the people and history of the lost Canberra suburb of Westlake to life.
By Helen Musa, Convener, Canberra Critics Circle.