Special art prize celebrates Canadian talent

April 19, 2013

By Hannah Yakobi

Photography by Danielle Waters

Only eight artists in the world were awarded the coveted 2013 Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence Prize this year. Winnipeg-born Daniel Barrow was one of them.

Each winner gets a unique opportunity to live and work at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. While surrounded by peaceful and inspiring landscapes, all artists stay in crofts for three months and seek inspiration in the pastoral setting of the Scottish Highlands. The program covers travel, living and art material expenses, and is valued at $20,000.

Some of the paintings by Daniel Barrow.

In Canada, it was the jury panel from OCAD University and Andy Fairgrieve, curator of the project, who chose Montréal-based Daniel Barrow as the recipient of this year’s award.

Barrow is a multimedia artist who works in video, film, print-making and drawing. However, he is best known for his use of antiquated technologies, his “registered projection” installations and his narrative overhead projection performances.

An important aspect of winning the prize is the social experience each winner receives.

“The art world is obviously very commercially ordered,” says Andy Fairgrieve.  “But this project is very much about the artists, because of the social relationships it establishes between them. It’s nice to have them all together in isolation too – they tend to mutually support and inspire each other.”

The Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence program has sponsored more than 84 artists since its inception in 2002.

“Every year, there are artists who represent something new in their field, something exciting or just something really inspiring,” said Beth-Anne Perry, brand manager of European whiskies at William Grant & Sons that oversees Glenfiddich. “This year, we had the largest number of people enter the competition with 150 entries. It was really difficult to choose the winner, but Daniel really embraces everything that we found to be pioneering.”

Barrow told FAJO at the award party that he was very excited about this opportunity.

“Most artists know about the residency experience, but people from other walks of life don’t necessarily understand it,” he said. “Many winners are in their 30s or 40s, and are really busy with their careers and social lives. Suddenly, they are divorced form it all and put on this little island with other artists from other places around the globe. No one knows each other, so we all drop our boundaries immediately and it’s a really special experience. Especially, because we all have art in common.”

The award party in Toronto

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