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A shock to the senses

MFA grad AN Soubiran’s HIV Home Remedy takes alumni association fine arts prize
June 14, 2016
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By Leslie Schacter

With his poignant textural and olfactory-assaulting entry, AN Soubiran, MFA 16, was awarded the 2016 Concordia University Alumni Association (CUAA) Fine Arts Prize for HIV Home Remedy.

The alumni association presented its annual $1,000 prize at the Faculty of Fine Arts Annual Graduating Students Exhibition vernissage on June 8, held jointly at Concordia’s VAV Gallery and FOFA Gallery.

After a brief note of congratulations from Rebecca Duclos, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, CUAA president Kim Fuller, BFA 96, presented the award to Soubiran for his multi-sensory chemistry experiment that mixes skunk gland extracts and tomato juice in a plastic sheet suspended by hooks.

HIV Home Remedy HIV Home Remedy, by AN Soubiran, MFA 16, won him the 2016 Concordia University Alumni Association (CUAA) Fine Arts Prize

“The jury appreciated it for its strong statement about a disease that could be considered by today’s standards as forgotten, but the stigma of living with HIV is still very real,” Fuller told the guests about Soubiran’s winning piece. “The artist has created an extreme experience through textural, sculptural and olfactory senses. You can’t not be affected by this piece.”

Soubiran, who is dedicated to creating works that bring attention to sexual health and awareness, was thankful to the jury for acknowledging his work, as difficult as it may be for the viewer, or smeller, to interact with.           

HIV Home Remedy, which was installed at the FOFA Gallery, was one of 25 different works of art created by bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students at the Annual Graduating Students Exhibition, reflecting the strength and dynamism of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

“With the wealth of talent to choose from and work ranging from installation to sculpture, painting to animation and multimedia to textiles, picking one winner is nearly impossible,” said Fuller. “This year we were lucky enough to award one grand prize and two runners-up.”

Telengut, Soubiran, André From left: Alisi Telengut, MFA 16, AN Soubiran, MFA 16, and Marilou André, MFA 16

The $500 prizes for honourable mention went to two previous CUAA Fine Arts Prize winners. Marilou André, MFA 16, was recognized for her sculptural work, Intervention de la ruelle Fabre, an urban fossil made by creating a concrete imprint of a pothole.

“For me, it’s a real honour to have been chosen for a CUAA Prize and to be a part of this exhibition,” she said. “The FOFA Gallery and VAV Gallery provide a window into the artistic practices and community that has been emerging from the fine arts program, and I’m really proud to be part of this community.”

Alisi Telengut, MFA 16, was honoured for her hand-painted animation, Nutag-Homeland, which tells the story of the fatal mass deportation of the Kalmyk people by the Soviet Union from 1943 to 1957.

Grand prize winner Soubiran expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to showcase his work and be part of a vibrant community. “It’s wonderful that the alumni association is able to have a voice and it is very encouraging as a graduating student that there is a community for us,” he said.

A fine arts graduate herself, for Fuller the CUAA Fine Arts Prize is close to her heart. “For the alumni association, it’s a great opportunity to support the artists and help the faculty shine in its own right,” she said.

“And for me, it’s that nod that can mean so much at a turning point in your life, when you’re transitioning from being a student to starting a career. I think that fine arts has a lot to offer to the larger alumni community, so the more we can step up and make that community even richer, the better we’ll all be for it.”

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