David Harper and Cathy Busby win art awards

On Friday night at Visual Arts Nova Scotia’s fundraiser, artist and Coast cover animal David Harper received the first-ever Mayor’s Emerging Artist Award. Just like on reality TV shows, Harper kept the news to himself until the big night, even though he was “really happy” to receive the honour. Currently artist-in-residence at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, where he’s working on an ambitious piece that involves the taxidermy of a life-size racing horse (out of cow hide), Harper has a new trophy for his mantle---made out of Nova Scotia crystal, of course---which apparently Peter Kelly picked out himself. “I might make a movie about my trophy,” Harper jokes, still in awe of the “physical object. Or maybe encase it inside my sculpture.” That night, Cathy Busby also received a huge honour as VANS’ 2008 Outstanding Artist of the Year Award, which “celebrates a visual artist who has enjoyed an exceptional year, with much artistic growth, at least one exhibition and critical recognition.” Over the past year, Busby’s passport has been stamped numerous times: her collection of north end Halifax posters appeared at Toronto’s Art Metropole and the updated version of Sorry, an exploration of public apologies, was shown during the Sydney Biennale. As part of her residency at the Pickled Art Centre in Beijing, she collected and documented English-language messages found on t-shirts (“Rage Against Unavoidable Obligations,” “Be What You Want”), and created wall-stencils similar in style to Chinese Cultural Revolution propaganda. So it wasn’t any surprise that Busby, along with Garry Neill Kennedy, also had another exhibition opening at Pickled on Friday. Busby emailed me photos of the installations from Beijing. Check them out:

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