Meet the 2018 Ottawa Arts Council Award Finalists

Thursday, April 26, 2018






The finalists for the Ottawa Arts Council Mid-Career Artist Award and the RBC Emerging Artist Award were announced at an intimate reception at Arts Court on April 25th, 2018.

2018 Arts Award Finalists

Pictured (l to r): Caspar vanBaal of Mann Lawyers LLP, Natasha Bakht, Pixie Cram, Anna Williams, Justin Duhaime, Margaret Chwialkowska, Whitney Lewis-Smith and Mike Belliveau of RBC

The Ottawa Arts Council Mid-Career Artist Award Finalists

Natasha BakhtNatasha Bakht

Natasha is an Indian contemporary dancer/choreographer. She has performed to critical acclaim internationally, dancing with Menaka Thakkar Dance Company in Toronto, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in England, Sinha Danse in Montreal, including works by Peggy Baker, Wayne McGregor and Yvonne Coutts. Bahkt’s choreography includes solos and group works commissioned by leading dance organizations. Her dances have garnered recognition including the KM Hunter Award, Dora nominations and inclusions in Ottawa Life’s Top 50 People in the City. Bakht has been described as “exquisite . . . supple, elastic and precise.” (Globe and Mail), “a brilliant diamond” (Dance Current) and a “powerhouse” (Hindustan Times).






Margaret ChwialkowskaMargaret Chwialkowska

Margaret Chwialkowska lives in Ottawa, where she works to capture the beauty and timeless grandeur of the Ottawa River and the mercurial moods of the Gatineau Hills. She paints alla prima, using palette knives and bold colours, in a loose, spontaneous style that allows the paint texture to evolve naturally. The goal of her painting is to capture the feeling of being overwhelmed by the power and beauty of nature. She is an internationally recognized award-winning artist, and her work has been exhibited across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Margaret was born and educated in Poland.






Pixie CramPixie Cram

Pixie Cram lives and works in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. She creates fiction and stop-animation on themes of nature, technology, and war. Her films have screened at festivals across North America and in Europe, and have aired on CBC TV. Recent commissions include a video portrait of Philip Monk, recipient of a Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts, and a hand-processed film for the 10th anniversary of the Toronto 8fest. Pixie was the 2017 Artist-in-residence at the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum. She is co-founder of the WindowsCollective, a group that creates and exhibits experimental works using film. In 2015, the Collective took their installations on a cross-Canada tour exhibiting from North Bay to Victoria. On top of her own art practice, she works as a freelance director, cinematographer and editor.





The RBC Emerging Artist Award Finalists

Justin DuhaimeJustin Duhaime

Justin Duhaime is a guitarist, educator and composer who has written more than 40 compositions, done over 150 live performances, published over 300 videos on YouTube, has over 12 years of teaching experience and has self-published an instructional book on guitar. Justin has eclectic performance experience in styles including manouche, rock, jazz, pop, blues, free, reggae, metal, punk, ska, fusion, Indian classical music, classical and contemporary music. Justin leads the group Gypsy Muse and is endorsed by DKguitars with The Black Sword. Justin is fluent in French and English, and teaches in both languages.







Whitney Lewis-SmithWhitney Lewis-Smith

Whitney Lewis-Smith is a large format photo-based artist. She studied Studio Arts at Concordia University focusing in drawing and sculpture. Whitney was awarded a residency at The Museum of Natural History in Puebla, Mexico where she worked with specimens that became a catalyst for her recent series discussing consumerism and humanity’s relationship with the environment. Whitney is a college instructor at The School Of Photographic Arts Ottawa. Her work has been acquired by collectors in Canada and abroad including Sophie and Justin Trudeau, SUMMA Art Fair Madrid, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and the Ottawa City’s Public Art collection.







Anna WilliamsAnna Williams

Born and based in Ottawa, Anna Williams studied sculpture and printmaking at Mount Allison University. Her artwork employs the animal and narrative to examine the construction of female identity and power relationships in contemporary society. With recent solo exhibitions in Canada and the US, William’s Canada House re-opens the Ottawa Art Gallery in April 2018. Her work has been purchased by the Canada Council Art Bank, the Government of Canada, the City of Ottawa, The Kamm Foundation, and Humber College, and is in numerous national and international private collections. Her large-scale public works are situated in Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal.






Reception Sponsor


RBC Royal Bank


Award Sponsors

City of OttawaGGFL Chartered AccouncantsMann LawyersRBC Emerging Artists Project