Manu Forti

… Strathbutler artists will henceforth receive symbolic recognition of their achievement with this iconic object …

4-Strathbutler Knife - Brigitte Clavette

Manu Forti – Brigitte Clavette

In 2015, the Board of Directors of the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation invited submissions from New Brunswick artists/artisans for the creation of an iconic presentation piece to be used as the symbol of the foundation’s signature Strathbutler Award. Brigitte Clavette’s design was selected by a panel of Strathbutler artists. Louise Imbeault, Chair of the Board, congratulated the winner of the SHMF design completion, Brigitte Clavette. “Ms. Clavette, a Strathbutler recipient herself, proposed a design that embodies the ideals of the award and honors the legacy of Sheila Mackay, the founder of the award”

Since 1991, the Strathbutler Award has been given in recognition of excellence in the visual arts of New Brunswick. Artists of distinction from a wide range of visual arts disciplines have been recognized for their artistic legacies and for their significant contributions to the cultural landscape of New Brunswick. In addition to the $25,000 award, all Strathbutler artists will henceforth receive symbolic recognition of their achievement with this iconic object. The new presentation piece was unveiled at the 2015 Strathbutler Gala.

Louise Imbeault, chair of the SHMF, noted that feedback from recent public consultations reinforced respect and appreciation for the Strathbutler Award within the province. “We would like to offer a tangible mark of respect to all past and future Strathbutler artists.

Artist Statement: Brigitte Clavette

Manu Forti: strong, sturdy, brave, resolute hand. Such is the motto of the Mackay clan. I wasn’t surprised at this discovery. My memories of Sheila are of a woman with these qualities. I loved her larger than average presence, her wit, her candour, her laugh. I feel strongly that Sheila should be represented in this award. It would be a shame, if over time, the person whose vision and generosity made so much possible for so many of us, be forgotten in an abstract concept. I wish to honour Sheila through this design, using the knife found in her family’s crest.

The knife is a bold object to represent an award. It is both a utilitarian and symbolic object. I have made it with non ferrous metals, copper and sterling silver, therefore the blade is not dangerously sharp, but defined enough to be used to open letters or to use for other light work. It symbolizes the dedication to artistic excellence embodied in this award.