Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kim Beamish named Artist of the Year

Artist of the Year Kim Beamish
By Helen Musa, convener of the Canberra Critics’ Circle.
THE 2018 “Canberra Citynews” Artist of the Year is Canberra producer, director and cinematographer, Kim Beamish, it was announced on November 13 at the ACT Arts Awards evening in the Canberra Museum & Gallery, hosted by the Canberra Critics’ Circle. 
His 2015 film The Tentmakers of Cairo, was the winner of two prestigious international awards and his latest film, Oyster, an intimate portrait of a small group of oyster farmers in Merimbula affected by climate change, has already been awarded and praised.
The first-ever film-maker to receive the award, now in its 28th year, Beamish was singled out by the Canberra Critics’ Circle judging panel for his observational style, which, the critics said, brought a much-needed human dimension to the news grabs we see on our TV screens.
Beamish received a cheque to the value of $1,000 from “Citynews” and a fine bowl designed by the late Canberra artist Robert Foster of F!NK Design.
Beamish’s 2015 documentary feature “The Tentmakers of Cairo”, turned the camera on a small community of traditional male tent embroiderers, and was shot in Cairo during the early stages of the Arab Spring. It won the US’s Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award   in 2015 and the El-Ray Award for narrative documentary excellence at the Barcelona Film Festival.
His most recent film is Oyster, a study of a family of oyster farmers in Merimbula, for which he was director, cinematographer and co-producer with veteran film-maker Pat Fiske. It has been seen at international film festivals in Canberra and Chesapeake, USA, River’s Edge in Kentucky and the Sydney Film Festival.

The ACT Arts Awards evening also featured the Critics’ Circle’s own awards:

Visual Arts
For his powerful and dynamic exhibition of screen-printed paintings titled “Modern Times”, which were influenced by his love of film and covers a later phase of his career spanning ten years. Held at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery.
Robert Boynes
Visual Arts
For the exhibition Celebration - Twenty years of Collecting Visual Art at Canberra Museum and Gallery, curated by Deborah Clark. The exhibition provided an intelligent survey of Canberra's visual art history and showcased the the gallery's thoughtful acquisition of key works by Canberra artists that will be a rich resource for Canberra in the years to come.
Deborah Clark
Visual Arts
For her very personal paintings created over a period of forty years, layering paint to build up fields of complex colour in which viewers are immersed, in the  exhibition, Active Seeing, at the Drill Hall Gallery.
Liz Coats
Visual Arts
For her exhibition 'heart-in-hand', honouring her mother's life, her family's Indigenous heritage and memories of life in and around Canberra in the 1950s and 1960s, at Canberra Contemporary Art Space.
Brenda L Croft
Visual Arts
For her elegant, evocative paintings that quietly protested the ACT Government’s displacement of public housing tenants from their homes in the inner north of Canberra, ‘Urban Instabilities’ at ANCA Gallery.
Katie Hayne
 Visual Arts
For her sensitive and insightful body of work in So Fine, Contemporary women artists make Australian history at the National Portrait Gallery.  Her exhibition included woven tapestries – one a self-portrait – and delicately painted slates, expressing her psychological and physical journeys between two countries.
Valerie Kirk
Visual Arts
For the sensitive, beautiful retrospective of his private drawing practice, revealing significant works that had been hidden for decades, and which contribute significantly to our understanding of the tragic consequences of the AIDS breakout in Australia, “Missing in Action” at the Drill Hall Gallery.
Peter Maloney
For a splendid year of music leadership, directing the vocal group Polifemy and the recorder ensemble Walking the Dog; performing with Block Sounds, Adhoc Baroque, Canberra Bach Ensemble, and Canberra Recorder & Early Music Society, and conducting Oriana Chorale and Polifemy in “Death & Redemption”
Robyn Mellor
For his vision in forming Alchemy Chorus in 2016 and building it into a performance choir of around 90 voices that brings together people living with dementia, and their carers and partners, along with volunteer musicians and other singers, swinging through a variety of well-known songs.
Brian Triglone
For outstanding orchestral achievement in ActewAGL Llewellyn Series – Four, featuring Ravel’s Bolero and the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, conveying a complete range of musical colour and emotions
Canberra Symphony Orchestra
Eloise Fisher
For outstanding musical achievement as soloist in a performance featuring Mozart’s “Clarinet Quintet in A major”, K.581 and Brahms' “Clarinet Quintet in B minor”, Op.115, playing with superb depth of tone and extraordinary dynamics
For her deeply emotional performance as soprano soloist with the National Capital Orchestra in Górecki’s (Goretski’s) “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, and her hilarious portrayal of Mandy in “Not the Messiah”, with the same orchestra
Louise Page
For an inspired and unique staged interpretation of Handel's Oratorio “Susanna”.
Handel in the Theatre
For introducing Canberra audiences to “The Weight of Light,” a spare and evocative piece with music by James Humberstone and libretto by Nigel Featherstone, that combines the performance rhythms of a song cycle with the force of theatre to tell the story of a returned soldier.
The Street Theatre and Goulburn Regional Conservatorium
For “Oyster.” In sensitive, observational style Beamish‘s film explores the lives and livelihoods, as the climate changes, of a family of oyster farmers in Merimbula.
Kim Beamish
Musical Theatre
For its outstanding production of Strictly Ballroom. Directed by Chris Baldock, this production was notable for its spectacular dance numbers, excellent costuming and overall production values, which enhanced by fine performances from the entire cast, successfully captured the satirical, larrikin mood of the piece.
Canberra Philharmonic Society
Musical Theatre
For her captivating performance as Fran in the Canberra Philharmonic Society’s production of Strictly Ballroom. Rogers lit up the stage for every moment of her carefully nuanced, confidently sung and danced performance.
Ylaria Rogers
 Musical Theatre
For her exceptional performance as Peggy Sawyer in Free Rain Theatre’s production of 42nd Street. She gave a particularly believable performance notable for brilliant dancing, charming and confident singing, and convincing acting.
Sophie Highmore

 Musical Theatre
For his outstanding performance as the Ogre, Shrek, in Free Rain Theatre’s production of Shrek – The Musical for which he created a totally believable, and at times, moving characterisation.
Max Gambale
Jacqui Malins
For her exquisite spoken word poetry work Cavorting with Time, performed with cellist Julia Horvath at the 2018 National Folk Festival; and for sustaining and developing Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry, which gives a voice to poets in their own languages.
For her historical novel, Book of Colours, published by HarperCollins, a moving and vividly detailed work about the human impulse towards creativity and connection.
Robyn Cadwallader
Chris Hammer
For Scrublands, his epic novel about crime beyond the suburban fringe, a superbly-written work of fiction in the emerging ‘rural noir’ genre, published by Allen & Unwin.
For his debut novel, City of Lies, published by Penguin, a fantasy fiction filled with believable political intrigues and highly original characters.
Sam Hawke
For “Unbreakable Threads: The true story of an Australian mother, a refugee boy and what it really means to be a family,” published by Allen and Unwin, an honest, harrowing but always eloquent account of a getting a Hazara boy out of a detention centre.
Emma Adams
For “No Country Woman: A memoir of not belonging,” published by Hachette, an intelligent conversational memoir about never knowing where you belong.
Zoya Patel
For the multi-media production Red, which drew together the work of four choreographers, including Lea, in a moving, courageous and dramatically coherent exploration of the medical condition of endometriosis.
Liz Lea
For Seamless, an innovative, well-considered and theatrically staged comment on the fashion industry, performed with wit and skill at the 2017 Floriade Fringe.
Alison Plevey and the Australian Dance Party
For their innovative choreography for the Canberra Philharmonic Society’s production of Strictly Ballroom. Their inventive interpretations of a number of traditional ballroom dance styles allowed the large ensemble of dancers to convince as champion ballroom dance contestants.
Emma Nikolic and Karen Brock
For her choreography for Free Rain Theatre Company’s production of 42nd Street. Her choreography for the spectacular production numbers successfully captured the authentic Broadway feel of the musical.
Michelle Heine
For The Maniac in Limbo Theatre/Honest Puck’s production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo, a performance of sustained comic excellence.
Hayden Splitt
For the impact and excellence of her portrayal of Patricia Highsmith in Joanna Murray Smith's Switzerland for Pigeonhole Theatre, a virulent and challenging character.
Karen Vickery
For a sustained and ultimately moving performance as Poprischchin Poprishkin in Gogol’s Diary of a Madman for The Street Theatre.
P J Williams
(Caroline Stacey to pick up) 
For the impact, truth, pathos and dignity of his performance as The Creature in Dr Frankenstein by Selma Dimitrijevic for Canberra Repertory.
Michael Sparks
For the excellence and intellectual depth of her set designs for The Street Theatre.
Imogen Keen