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'This extremely generous fellowship has launched the careers of 10 fine arts graduates'

Concordia’s Madeleine Mayo and UQAM’s Céline Huyghebaert are the 10th annual Bronfman Fellowships in Contemporary Art winners
April 12, 2019
By Faculty of Fine Arts and UQAM

Céline Huyghebaert, Claudine Bronfman, Stephen Bronfman and Madeleine Mayo. Céline Huyghebaert, Claudine Bronfman, Stephen Bronfman and Madeleine Mayo.

Two emerging contemporary artists will benefit from substantial support to continue their research-creation work in the arts.

Madeleine Mayo (MFA 18) of Concordia and Céline Huyghebaert of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) are the 2019 recipients of the prestigious Fellowships in Contemporary Art from the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation.

Worth $60,500 each, the fellowships provide laureates with the recognition and support they need to refine their work and further their creative research at a turning point in their career paths — when they move out of academia and into the professional community.

Every year, two graduate students in media arts or visual arts, one from Concordia and the other from UQAM, are awarded the fellowships.

“This is the 10th year that we are recognizing the remarkable work done by Montreal’s contemporary artists,” explains Claudine Bronfman, co-chair of the foundation.

“We are proud to be able to support homegrown talents and help them make the transition to the next important stage of their careers.”

About the artists

Madeleine Mayo is an interdisciplinary artist who works with paint, sculpture and installations. Tilting between the abstract and the figurative, her works express a certain sensuality and an imagination that can be mythical at times.

She tries to question moralistic prejudices in a playful way with humour and open-mindedness, providing a stimulating, inventive vision full of contradictions and imperfections.

Mayo holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD University and an MFA from Concordia. She lives and works in Montreal.

In her acceptance speech, Mayo spoke of the excitement she felt applying to Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts and how far she’s come since then.

“It’s so much more now, all these years later. Eric Simon, Shelley Reeves, MJ Thompson, Julie Johnston, Maureen Kennedy: you have really made my experience here so wonderful,” she said.

“Thank you for being such bold and exciting people, such great artists and such poetic weirdos. I value and appreciate your insight into my practice and life.”

Artist and author Céline Huyghebaert has been living in Montreal for more than 15 years. She has a doctorate in the study and practice of arts from UQAM, where she also earned a master’s degree in literature.

She uses a broad range of techniques in her practice: writing, traditional and digital printing processes, photography, collage and sound, along with research tools like archival collections, interviews and investigations, to create narrative universes inspired by the silent intervals in our history.

That research goes along with a specific interest in text exposure practices that lead her to reflect on the relationship between text and images, materials, walls, pages, screens or space. She works most commonly with books and the tension they can create with space when they are published and publicized against various exposure backgrounds.

'A platform of support for professionalization'

After several years of study, the two emerging artists will leave university and step into another kind of life as practising, professional artists.

“Claudine and Stephen know what this transition means and they have created a platform of support for professionalization that is absolutely unique in the city,” says Rebecca Duclos, dean of Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

“In Madeleine’s artist statement, she writes of cultivating a courageous spirit to face the unknown. This fellowship can give that courage an extra boost so that other things can be cultivated during this time: loving networks, devoted colleagues, critical and curatorial relationships,” she says.

“Maddy and Céline, we need your courage and your bravery; your deep feeling, your inspiration and your imagination.”

The 10th Bronfman Fellowships in Contemporary Art event holds a particular significance for Jean-Christian Pleau, dean of UQAM’s Faculty of Fine Arts, because it coincides with UQAM’s 50th anniversary.

“Our partnership with Claudine and Stephen Bronfman over the past decade has had an extraordinary effect,” says Pleau.

“This extremely generous fellowship has launched the careers of 10 graduates from our programs. We all know how important that moment of transition is: from being a student to becoming a professional artist. We really hope this kind of sustaining action will continue for the long haul, and we fully intend to work with the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Foundation in meeting that goal.”

Previous winners

To date, 20 exceptional artists have been awarded the fellowship. The previous 18 winners are:

Find out more about Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

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