he Nova Scotia Masterworks Award just dropped its 2022 shortlist. The largest cultural prize in the province, the Masterworks Award sees a jury of experts select the top art works in a swath of mediums—evaluating their originality, artistic maturity, impact, and contribution to Nova Scotia. From a shortlist, one piece of art stands to win the grand prize, a $22,000 purse (though all three finalists are guaranteed to walk away with $3000 each).
This year, a movie, illustrated book and painting are being held up as the best of the best.
The film in question is Shelley Thompson's feature debut Dawn Her Dad and the Tractor
, a story of a trans woman's attempt to reconnect with her rural family that wowed critics at the 2021 FIN Atlantic International Film Festival—and went on to score a wider theatrical release.
The painting is Nungki
, by artist Darcie Bernhardt. Bernhardt has been making a name for themselves for a couple years in the visual art scene in Halifax, having shown their work at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in a joint show with Sobey Art Award longlister Letitia Fraser. Best known for capturing memories of their upbringing in the Northwest Territories, Bernhardt's work is celebrated as an exciting expansion of portraiture, depicting Inuk peoples in moments of cultural significance and through an anti-oppressive, insider's lens.
Rounding out the ballot is Sydney Smith's Small in the City
, a children's book that follows a young child's explorations of their hometown on a snowy day. The first book both written and illustrated by Smith, it has an emotional resonance beyond its K-2 reading level—as proved by its 2019 Governor General award win.
The winner of the 2022 Masterworks Award will be announced on November 10, as part of the Creative Nova Scotia Awards Celebration. The ceremony will be held at Alderney Landing at 6:45pm.