University of Victoria professor Sandra Meigs – known for her expressive, eclectic art primarily in the mediums of acrylic and oil and featuring large-scale works – was named as the winner of a 2015 Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts.
A professor with the University of Victoria’s Department of Visual Arts since 1993, Meigs has led a distinguished 35-year arts career beginning in Halifax, with exhibits in galleries across North America and in Europe. She is one of only eight winners announced by the Canada Council for the Arts.
“It’s such an honour to be recognized in this capacity for my career as an artist,” said Meigs, who believes that working in Victoria is one of the factors that set her work apart. “I like the sense of delight or freedom it gives me. I take what I do here and show it in Toronto and people always say, ‘Oh, that’s so fresh!’”
A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Artists, Meigs has maintained an active exhibition schedule since 1979, with over 40 solo and 60 group exhibitions in Canada’s most culturally relevant institutions. Her work has been collected by the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, The Banff Centre, the Canada Council Art Bank and the Musée d’art contemporain. The multiple award winner has also represented Canada in the Fifth Biennale of Sydney, Australia, in 1984.
“This award represents our country’s highest honour in our profession, and publicly recognizes a lifetime of achievement and contribution to this field of research,” said Paul Walde, chair of UVic’s Department of Visual Arts. “Throughout her career at UVic, Sandra has continued to distinguish herself and the department through her outstanding work as an artist and professor.”
“Just when you think you have a handle on how Meigs will next explore psychological or physical space, her passion and focus changes shape and direction,” added Dr. Lynne Van Luven, acting dean of UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts.
Meigs will be presented with a $25,000 cash prize and unique commemorative medallion by Gov. Gen. David Johnston at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on April 8 and will also participate in a special curated exhibit of 2015 winners at the National Gallery of Canada, running April 9 to Aug. 30.
Meigs is only the second UVic scholar to be awarded a Governor General’s Award for Visual Arts, alongside sculptor and professor emeritus Mowry Baden in 2006. She has also been a mentor for generations of artists, among them UVic alumni Patrick Howlett, Althea Thauberger and Marianne Nicholson—all of whom have work in major public collections.
2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. Created in 1999 by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Governor General of Canada, the awards celebrate Canada’s vibrant arts community and recognize remarkable careers in the visual and media arts.