2019 Recipients

PHIL ANDERSON

Born in Ottawa. I was a Navy brat and moved frequently as a child including several years in London, England. I went to Trent University in Peterborough and Ryerson University in Toronto. I worked at the Toronto Star and in social services. 

Currently serving as Executive Director of Gallery 1313 (22 years) and Co-Publisher of artoronto.ca (8 years). I was a filmmaker for several years and put together film screenings with other filmmakers – for art festivals Round Up, Third Rail and with film collective Vision Edge. I worked with the camera crew on films as well in the union C.A.M.E.R.A.

I have also written for several publications and was a publisher of a community newspaper – the Toronto West Journal. I helped start another arts zine, Artery (23 Editions). 

I organized an annual fundraiser, the Fantasy Fashion Show (started in 1998) which brought fashion designers and artists together. I was a practicing artist exhibiting for many years and have curated or co-curated many exhibitions at Gallery 1313.

lo bil 

(she/her, queer, second-generation settler)

I work speculatively, aiming for non-repeatability to generate performances as sites of collective activation rather than trying to reveal an aesthetic to passive consumers. What happens is the aesthetic I am working on. These once-performed experiments are my best attempt to understand the strangeness of the world. 

I describe my oddly formed actions as ‘anti-objective' and ‘post-clown’ wherein I connect abstracted impulses to sublimated images that generate emotional or energetic flows in my body; allow the psychic space between performer and audience to direct the performance; create circumstances for failure to open up the potential for magic; let real and imagined worlds to coexist; speak thoughts transparently, letting speech affect movement and movement affect speech - hypothetically articulating injuries that were entrenched in states of dissociation and hidden in forms of respectable behaviour. 

Taking my practice into performance layers on inter-relational complications as I notice how my body responds while being seen by others. I hope to re-centre the priority of my performance work and aesthetic valuation to the activation of audience bodies. 

Exhibitions include: 7a*11d, Summerworks, ITINERANT and Duration & Dialogue Performance Art Festivals, HATCH/Harbourfront, Rhubarb!!!, Flowchart/ Dancemakers, Hemispheric Institute's Encuentro, Sick Theory Conference and Performance Philosophy Biennale 2019.

 

 

 

TANYA CHEEX

Tanya Cheex aka The Satanic Stripper, staged her first “strip show” at the age of eight in her neighbours’ backyard and hasn't put her clothes back on since! Tanya is instrumental in spear-heading the Burlesque Revival in North America. She is the founder and artistic director of Toronto troupe Skin Tight Outta Sight. Tanya is also the first inductee into The Canadian Burlesque Hall of Fame.

Tanya considers herself a theatrical provocateur and uses burlesque as a medium to challenge perceptions of beauty and desirability. Her revisionist acts include a tap-dancing parasitical twin and her fire tassel twirling Chimera to name a few.

She has taken off her clothes all across Canada and the USA, at The Calgary Stampede, in NYC, Hollywood, Las Vegas and even in the Mojave Desert! Currently producing two successful monthlies at The Bovine Sex Club (Pussy Whipped Wednesdays) with partner, Aviva the Mirage.

Tanya is honoured to be receiving this Acker Award.

ROCKY DOBEY

When I was 10 I moved from northern Manitoba to Toronto with my mother and siblings, and immediately started shining shoes on Yonge Street. I also started posting drawings on street poles, mimicking another shoeshine boy, my friend Ronny Boulter. We got excited when the first xerox machine appeared at the College Street library, and we could post up photocopies. We were marking our space I guess, and I just never stopped. Ronny died of a drug overdose in 1977 and my first memorial plaque was for him. (still up on a post. Queen & Lisgar)

Over the years I kept putting up art anonymously. I made plaques and copper-wrapped books, bolting them to poles. I put up large billboard-sized paintings on abandoned buildings (it was the 80s) with anti-gentrification, Indigenous rights, and anti-imperialist themes. I designed posters for different grassroots political groups and did etching illustrations for anti prison magazines.

The last 50 years went by in a blur of street art, posters and sculptures. I recently finished a memorial sculpture for the old Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital with help from Psychiatric Survivors. I am most proud of the drug-users memorial at Queen and Carlaw, when I walk by and see flowers laid in front; it reminds me of my boyhood friend, Ronny Boulter.

 

PETER DUDAR

Peter Dudar began his career as a painter at Toronto’s Carman Lamanna Gallery and transitioned into conceptual art. 

In 1972, he created the performance art partnership Missing Associates in collaboration with dancer/choreographer Lily Eng. Their partnership was a unique interdisciplinary hybrid. Missing Associates were prime movers of the first wave of Toronto performance art and experimental dance, a period of enhanced creativity and social dynamism. They showed coast to coast in North America. And at a time when Europe was split by a physical and cultural “iron curtain”, they performed prolifically on both sides of that divide—establishing a vital, ongoing presence for Canadian performance art internationally.

After Missing Associates, Dudar screened worldwide as a filmmaker. According to the American Film Festival, New York “Peter Dudar’s [1982] film DP is powerfully evocative. Many striking images and creative effects. The juxtaposition of words with related film clips is absolutely brilliant.” Images Festival awarded his 2011 film Starlings (at Nightfall) “in recognition of its arresting cinematic composition and elegant study of movement.” Dudar’s feature length documentary Bruce Eves In Polari (The Secret Gay Language) premiered several months ago at Toronto’s Power Plant Gallery. (Inspired by this film, a porn version is currently in the works.)

 

 

KRISTYN DUNNION

Kristyn Dunnion writes literary fiction, is a visual and performance artist, and played bass in the Toronto-based bands, Heavy Filth and Bone Donor. She has published five books including Tarry This Night and Mosh Pit. The Dirt Chronicles was a Lambda Literary Award finalist and American Library Association ‘Over the Rainbow’ selection. Now is the Time to Light Fires is her forthcoming story collection. Dunnion has completed artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Banff Centre, Hambidge Center, La Porte Peinte, France, and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland. She earned a B.A. in English from McGill University and an M.A. in English from the University of Guelph. An experienced arts educator, Dunnion facilitates innovative workshops for at-risk youth. Dunnion has worked as a housing advocate for psychiatric survivors and healthy food activist for community members experiencing poverty. Her desire—to be a positive force for social change—is integrated in all of her work. Dunnion, a proud vegan witch, challenges heteronormative gender representations, embracing the transformative power of the disruptive female/femme body. She lives in Toronto with one metalhead and two felines. 

Visit www.kristyndunnion.com IG @midnight_sister

 

 

STEVE GOOF

Born in 1958 less than a five minute streetcar ride from the market and hardened by ten years of shitty meaningless employment, Mr. Goof committed to the punk rock lifestyle as a founding member of the Back Alley Boys bicycle gang. On a dare three years later, he cofounded the Bunchofuckingoofs in response to the growing number of Nazi skinheads in the Toronto scene. For the next eight and a half years his place became home to the band, and clubhouse to their growing entourage. During the thirty six years since the dare, he did hundreds of shows across Canada with close to a thousand other bands, ran two municipal election campaigns and four licensed bars, participated in a hundred and a half feature films, television series, and documentaries, while releasing four full length recordings and songs on half a dozen compilations. Although the band was covered by many publications, often owning their covers, the story of the B.F.G.s was not believed by Rolling Stone or Vice mags and in the end it all prompted a coffee table book and the crushing of countless empty beer cans and assholes.

My largest artistic accomplishment was acquiring a Kensington property using four thousand dollars worth of empties for a deposit and totally renovating it with garbage from the curb over ten years.

 

 

GRANT HEAPS

My obsessions, textiles, the discarded, decay, the end of the world, personal adornment and environment, pop songs, myself and how I navigate this difficult world, drive my artwork slowly. My work is a meticulous and layered process, stubbornly doing what is needed to make what I envision exist. Pieces tend to be large and complicated, always with a nod towards the great outsiders. My artwork is mostly created from unwanted and discarded fabrics. I’ve shown in galleries around Toronto including The Textile Museum of Canada. When possible I open up my home on weekend afternoons as Me, Tiny Living Room Gallery. 

 

 

SHERRI LYN HIGGINS

Sherri Lyn Higgins, a.k.a. S. Higgins, is a multidisciplinary artist working in visual art, performance, and sound. She attended N.S.C.A.D. in Halifax before moving to Toronto at the end of the 80s. Under the banner of Recordism, much of her work has been in collaboration with her partner, W.A. Davison. In addition, she  has developed a significant body of solo work. Higgins' art is informed by post punk, surrealism, and witchcraft, and relies heavily on chance and collage techniques. She has been involved in the experimental music underground, is a founding member of the improvised music project Six Heads, has collaborated with Neoists, contributed to the small-gauge film scene, and was on the curating/steering committee for 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art. Higgins has performed with Nurse With Wound in San Francisco and presented sound work at the Whitney Biennial (2008). She has received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. Recently, her visual art has been in exhibitions in Montreal, Costa Rica, Atlanta GA, Isle of Wight (UK) and Paris. She has been written about in A Companion to Dada and Surrealism (Wiley-Blackwell, UK, 2016) and The International Encyclopedia Of Surrealism (Bloomsbury UK, 2018).

 

 

ESZTER JAGICA

Eszter Jagica studied Dramatic Literature and Modern Languages at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, and received her M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto, Canada where she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. entitled: Aesthetics of Subversion: From Heiner Mueller to Contemporary Performance Art. She has been living in Toronto for the past two decades. Besides her academic pursuits, she has been a long-time collaborator of Istvan Kantor, a Hungarian/ Canadian multimedia artist. She worked as a theatre director and a performance artist for the past fifteen years, performed in many major local galleries, acted in video productions, curated exhibitions in Canada and Europe. She has also been actively collaborating with Serbian and Hungarian artists, poets, and academics in Eastern Europe where she lives part of the year.

 

 

HELEN LEE

Helen Lee is a Seoul-born, Toronto-based independent filmmaker. Her dramatic and experimental works explore intersectionalities of place, identity, gender and sexuality. After a lengthy hiatus in the homeland, she is again indulging a lifelong obsession of creating cinematic intercultural encounters, reconstructing and repositioning the diasporic subaltern from margin to centre, among other consternations of the mother tongue-- now bolstered by secret powers of homemade doenjang and maesil. Helen is a graduate of University of Toronto (BA), New York University (MA), Whitney Independent Study Program, Canadian Film Centre and, soon, York University (MFA). She has taught at Korea National University of Arts as Visiting Professor, Yonsei University's Underwood International College, and OCAD University, in his former incarnation as Ontario College of Art. Films include PARIS TO PYONGYANG (2020), INTO SUCH ASSEMBLY (2019), HERS AT LAST (2008), THE ART OF WOO (2001), SUBROSA (2000), PREY (1995), MY NIAGARA (1992), SALLY’S BEAUTY SPOT (1990).

 

 

MOSA McNEILLY

McNeilly spins her livelihood as an artist, educator, and editor, holding it down as a single parent. In her arts practice, working through installation, encaustic mixed media, and performance, she centers the Black female subject at intersections of memory, memorialization, and hybrid iconographies, riffing on Black radical imagination, Middle Passage memory, and the Sacred. 

McNeilly grounds her work in histories of diasporic African freedom movements and cultural reclamation. As one of the artists in the historical 1989 exhibition, Black Wimmin: When & Where We Enter, and a member of the DAWA Collective, she is currently coordinating an exhibition marking this event. She was the manuscript editor in the 2017 OAAG award-winning AGO publication, Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum. Since the 1980s, she has shown, performed, and presented internationally in galleries, theatres, conferences, and festivals. As an independent Black cultural worker, and partnering with Inner City Angels and Coco Collective, McNeilly delivers hundreds of programs reaching thousands of learners.

An initiated Sacred Leader, with teachings from African and Indigenous Elders, and a graduate of OCAD and Toronto Dance Theatre with studies at Parsons School of Design and Royal Conservatory of Music, McNeilly holds an MES from York University.

mosamcneilly.com

 

 

JEARLD FREDERICK MOLDENHAUER

Born August 9, 1946 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. BSc. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University, Jan. 1969. Immigrated to Canada upon graduation.

Founder of several early gay liberation organizations, including a pre-Stonewall student group at Cornell in May, 1968. In Canada he founded the first gay student organization at the University of Toronto in autumn of 1969 - for which he was promptly fired from his Research Assistant’s position in the Physiology Dept.

In 1971 he founded “The Body Politic, A Journal for Gay Liberation”. It became the most important publication for building a political gay community in Canada.   

Jearld started selling gay literature out of a knapsack in 1970. Named “Glad Day” after William Blake’s watercolor, Glad Day Bookshop grew over the decades. In 1979 a second shop opened in Boston. Glad Day Toronto is now the world’s oldest surviving gay & lesbian bookshop.

Jearld is both a gay radical and internationalist with a vision of transforming human sexuality into totally different ways of being. Glad Day spent a decade fighting censorship in Canada involving four separate court battles.

 

 

JOHN PORTER

John Porter has been a filmmaker, performer, photographer and writer in Toronto since 1968. He has made 300 films, mostly super 8, and performed 100 solo shows internationally. He studied Film and Photography at Ryerson University, has received several government arts grants, taught many filmmaking workshops, and spoken in many university film classes.

He has been actively involved with several artist-run centres in Toronto since 1978, including serving many years on Boards of Directors, such as at The Funnel, Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, Pleasure Dome, CineCycle, and A Space. He has co-organized dozens of Monthly Open Film Screenings, and he made and projected super 8 films with Toronto band Fifth Column throughout the 1980s. 

His continuing community activism includes photographing, writing and publishing reports and histories of local alternative film activity, including a book of his "documentary portrait" photos of film artists covering 40 years, published by the8fest in 2015. And for the last 14 years he has been daily updating his website super8porter.ca with upcoming events. He advocates film projection, $100 film budgets using super 8 film and other analog formats, and resisting the dominance of the film industry and the Ontario Government's Film Review Board and Film Classification Act.

 

 

THOM SOKOLOSKI

Thom Sokoloski is a multi-disciplinary artist. He trained and worked in New York City and Paris in the 70’s (LaMama ETC in NYC/Paris, L'Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Polish Lab Theatre, Edward Hawkins Dance, Open Theatre and NOW Theatre). Returning to Canada, he co-founded The Theatre Centre, the Native Theatre School and Autumn Leaf Performance. Besides creating original performance works, he directed, produced and toured theatre and/or opera by Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett, Shakespeare, R. Murray Schafer, Claude Vivier, Rainer Wiens, Jean Piché, Alain Thibault, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Gavin Bryars, Wende Bartley, Christopher Butterfield, etc. Presenters/partners included the COC, Tapestry Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Opéra de Lyon, Festival de Liège, Musica Festival (Strasbourg), Sound Symposium (NFLD), Holland Festival (Amsterdam) WorldStage Festival (Toronto) and The Banff Centre. Since 2006, he has pursued an integration of performance and image-based ideas into site-specific public art installations commissioned by Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, Art Toronto, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Open House New York, Galerie du Nouvel Ontario, Art Spin, Burlington Public Art Lab, National Capital Commission, Nuit North and Socrates Sculpture Park. www.thomsokoloski.com 

 

 

MIKI TOMA

Photography is my life & my love.

I was born 29 of April 1946, in Belgrade, Serbia, and came to Canada 08 of July 1973. I studied music theory and practical piano at early stage of my life. At age 14, I started publishing cartoons and drawings in a student magazine and local news papers. I had my first exhibition at the age of 17. From 1966-68, I spent two years of private study with established artist/sculptor Vida Jocic. In 1978 I studied photography at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto. 

As a photographer, I am primarily interested in documenting events and people who are contributing to the social and cultural fabric. Through my photographs I have documented Gala Openings, Theater Performances, Festivals, Awards, Celebrities, Social Events, Alternative Lifestyles, Streets Events, etc. In my photographs I have collaborated with this synergy to preserve and document material for future observers. I am now accepting photo-digital technology as my new medium of expression.

 

 

JULIE VOYCE

Narrative Biography

‘There is a ready slipstream called “What If.....”

Each fingertip has a mind of its own.

These eyeballs are tethered to my skull with long sinewy leashes. I constantly stumble along behind them, never quite catching up.’

 

 

 

 

CAROLYN WHITE

Carolyn White is an artist and art director who has been active in the Toronto art scene since the early 1980’s while still a student at OCAD. Her first exhibitions were of sculpture at YYZ and Mercer Union. A founding member of Toronto’s Cold City Gallery, Mercer Union’s Project Room and the women’s design collective Studio Villa Villa, she later exhibited at the S.L. Simpson Gallery on Queen Street W. until the gallery closed in the late 90’s. Here she presented many installations incorporating both photography and sculpture. She was the graphic designer and an editor of Impulse Magazine throughout the 1980’s where her sensibility was prevalent in both the look and the editorial direction of the periodical and responsible for the magazine’s numerous international design awards. A sought after designer within the art and cultural community as well as savvy corporate clientele, she is able to bridge the gap between art and design, text and imagery with a visual intelligence that is rare. Recently she was the graphic designer of Impulse Archaeology, University of Toronto Press, 2007, and Impulse Interviews 1978-1990, 2018. Carolyn is currently one of the editors and graphic designers for the micropublisher Impulseb. Her contribution to the cultural scene of Toronto has been one of criticality, dedication and continuation.

 

 

CLAUDE WITTMANN

“whenever i accept to construct a narrative about myself, i get filled with a settler's dark breath.

i live as a transman with an invisible disability. my sources of income are the (stressful) Ontario Disability Support Program, the joy of bicycle mechanics and projects done in the art container. These projects started in 2003, in the butoh community and then evolved in the Toronto performance art, music improvisation and radio/sound art communities. I have performed, curated, researched, taught, and coached. i am thankful to all the individuals, and art organizations whom I worked with, including FADO, the 7a-11d International Performance Art Festival, VIVA!, New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA), Cripping the Arts, and to Adriana Disman who wrote about my work in More Caught in the Act: an Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (+ a transman). i hold a PhD in molecular genetics and an MA in the history and philosophy of science. what now? i see that my past performance work failed my own values by staging ephemeral and individual coping mechanisms that only contributed to our neoliberal system. is it politically tenable to continue by choosing to fail?"

Photo Credit Gallery 1313

Photo Credit Dahlia Katz

Photo Credit David Hawe

Photo Credit Naomi Campbell

Photo Credit Selfie

Photo Credit Tanja Tiziana

Photo Credit Miki Toma

Photo Credit John Sissydude Webster

Photo Credit William Davison

Photo Credit Biljana Ustic

Photo Credit Selfie

Photo Credit Selfie

Photo Credit Paul Jenkins

Photo Credit Paul Lamothe

Photo Credit Luis Mara

Photo Credit Selfie

Photo Credit Selfie

Photo Credit Zoe Cezar-White

Photo Credit Selfie

 © 2018 thom sokoloski + istvan kantor

Acker Awards
Toronto
 
Deviation is the norm!
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