The Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation’s juried award program is designed to celebrate artistic achievement and to support artists in their continuing creative journey. Based on the recommendation of an independent jury, two New Brunswick artists will receive a 2020 Marie Hélène Allain Fellowship Award. Yalda Borzog and Marjolaine Bourgeois both work in mixed media to express deeply felt life’s experiences. In selecting the 2020 Fellowships, the jury acknowledged the career achievements of both artists and supported Fellowship projects proposed by them as a focus for creative growth.
The jury was challenged by the richness and depth of Yalda Bozorg’s project titled “Change”. In her application she described the “intangible change” that victims of domestic abuse felt through “losing their personality” or “becoming unrecognizable”. Through experimentation and manipulation of her clay and plaster sculptures, coupled with the introduction of metal enamels and addition of shards and flowers, there is a significant change to the surface. Ultimately her experimentation adds an element life and hope to the work. Her creation of ten sculptures telling ten stories opens the viewer to the visual metaphors of abuse by giving them a permanent voice. The jury was in agreement that the raw power of this work deserved to be recognized with a Marie Hélène Allain Fellowship Award.
Se Goberger de la rivière Chocolat proposed by artist Marjolaine Bourgeois is both a critical and poetic journey to uncover the rich historical and geographical dimensions of the Petitcodiac River. Known for the impressive tidal bore that occurs twice daily, the ”Chocolate River’s” fragile ecosystem contains within it the legacy of the First Peoples and the experience of the Acadian settlers. The Marie Hélène Allain Fellowship Award will provide support that will allow the artist to conduct research through archives and primary source materials as well as introduce sound to an already expansive vocabulary that includes textiles, printmaking photography, and ceramics. The artist will follow a personal process of exploration, discovery and creation important to the development of the contemporary reality of New Brunswick.
The Board of Directors is grateful to jurors Marie Maltais, Paul Mathieson and Dan Steeves for a fulsome review of all 2020 candidates. Their contribution to the foundation’s impartial jury process is invaluable. The Marie Hélène Allain Fellowship Award is named in honor of Strathbutler artist and former foundation director Marie Hélène Allain whose passionate support for professional artists resulted in expanding the Awards Program.