2014 Lieutenant-Governor's Award for High Achievement in English Language Literary Arts
"Although I have always been a scribbler, I didn't turn to poetry in a serious way until I was in my forties. Having completed an academic book that had taken the better part of a decade, I turned to poetry with a vengeance, writing and publishing over 40 poems in journals in the span of a few years. It was, perhaps, a reaction to the years of archival research or the academic voice I had been using. I needed to move closer to the world."
The youngest of eleven children, Compton grew up on a busy PEI farm where a balance between order and freedom prevailed. "I am indebted to my parents and siblings for that blend of orderliness and liberty. A poem, it seems to me, manifests a similar combination of absolute imaginative freedom and formality."
Poetry has taught her "to be awake in the world, to be noticing." In her latest, prize-winning volume of poems, Alongside, she has tried to find a new way of talking about beauty "that is neither the high-mindedness of the philosopher of aesthetics nor the vacuity of advertisements…there must be a way…to talk about the beauty of the human body, of nature, and of books themselves that gets at the visceral, fleeting, and transforming effect beauty has on us." For Compton, the most gratifying engagement with audience manifests itself through people. It is "that individual response, and not the reviews or academic essays" that matters.
The author of four collections of poetry, scholarly books and essays, Compton won the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 2005 for Processional. A former teacher and Writer-in-Residence at UNB Saint John, she developed and directed the acclaimed Lorenzo Reading Series.
2014 Lieutenant-Governor's Award for High Achievement in Performing Arts
"My first ballet class was at 12 years old. My Grandmother convinced me to try ballet class for just one day. The atmosphere caught me in a magic circle – the physicality, the discipline, the relationship with music, and challenges, challenges, more challenges. That challenge captured me forever."
Dobrovolskiy grew up in a close-knit family in Kiev, Ukraine, surrounded by music and books. He graduated the Kiev National University for the Arts earning a BFA in the pedagogy of ballet dance and choreography. His professional dance career began with the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet for Children and Youth in Kiev, Ukraine. He has worked in Europe, South America and now, Atlantic Canada, where he co-founded Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada in 2001.
For Dobrovolskiy, his art does not exist without collaboration. "My creative process is fuelled through music, theatrical expression and movement; together with the dances we engage in a process of construction and deconstruction…a combined evolution." A break-through moment in Dobrovolskiy's career came when he saw Boris Eifman's ballet –theatre work, Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. He hopes his work engages people to come back for more; that the work sparks discussion and resonates with a growing community. "Creation is a journey of art- the more I create, the more I need to create."
Dobrovolskiy believes that art is about community, and that the theatre is a place of sharing, discovery and discussion. After showings of Ghosts of Violence, he notes, "I was profoundly impacted by many survivors of abuse who came up following the performance to talk about their own lives and what they saw on the stage, how they felt, the moments of connection, their feelings. As a choreographer, this is the greatest compliment for my work - the personal engagement in a community through art."
2014 Lieutenant-Governor's Award for High Achievement in Visual Arts
"Art-making is hard work. Artists need more endurance in life than usual, but the rewards of being a working professional artist are very great."
Raised on a farm in the Hungarian countryside, Anna Torma's father was an amateur painter and her mother and grandmothers worked with textiles — for practical reasons, out of necessity — but often it was also an access point for spiritual fulfilment. Song and storytelling were also strong elements in her childhood home.
In her youth, Torma was interested in natural sciences, literature and history – and first dreamed of becoming a scientist. In her twenties, she realized that art gave her more freedom, excitement, and satisfaction, and she graduated from the Hungarian University of Applied Arts in Budapest in 1979. Her early interest in science, literature and history often comes through in her work. She married an artist, started a family, and they immigrated to Canada in 1988. For fourteen years they lived in Hamilton Ontario, where Torma exhibited with the LaPai Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton, MOCCA Toronto and Textile Museum of Canada. Torma's work has been profiled in numerous publications including Bordercrossings, Selvedge, NY Arts Magazine, The Globe and Mail and National Post. In 2002 the family moved to New Brunswick to live in the community of Baie Verte so that they could enjoy the quiet life and devote time and energy to making art and building their garden.
As a visual artist, Torma collaborates often with curators, galleries, artist-run centres and museums. Anna Torma's work is in many private and public collections, including Richard Harris Private Collection, Department of Foreign Affairs Fine Art Collection, Museum of Craft and Design in New York, and the New Brunswick Art Bank. Exhibiting is the point at which artist meets audience, and for Torma, this is what gives her work the most meaning. She has several ongoing projects working with textiles and the making process itself, along with others that have conceptual and narrative focus.