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Surrey artist Anand among 3 in Canada awarded Hnatyshyn Foundation prize

‘Being acknowledged like this is pretty incredible, and it motivates me to keep working’
Artist Simranpreet Anand with her work at Vancouver Art Gallery, in the current “Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo” exhibit. (submitted photo)

Surrey-raised Simranpreet Anand is among three Canadian “emerging artist” award winners, as declared by Ontario’s The Hnatyshyn Foundation.

The organization’s William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Artists has been awarded to Anand along with Dan Cardinal McCartney and Oreka James, each given $5,000 and accolades that come with the national award.

Honoured are young emerging visual artists “whose practice shows potential and is deemed to have the determination and talent to contribute to the legacy of art in Canada,” explains a post on the foundation’s website (

A Sullivan Heights Secondary grad, Anand has worked at Surrey Art Gallery as an engagement facilitator with the Art Together program. Her work (“Blueprints for Tying a Dastaar”) is currently shown at Vancouver Art Gallery as part of the “Vancouver Special: Disorientations and Echo” exhibit, and also in Toronto at the ArtworxTO Bayview Village exhibition site.

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“It (the Hnatyshyn Foundation award) was really unexpected,” Anand said in a phone call from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she’s visiting. “It’s an honour to be acknowledged alongside the other artists given the award.

“Being a young artist can be daunting, and it’s precarious work,” Anand added. “Being acknowledged like this is pretty incredible, and it motivates me to keep working.”

A bio on her website says Anand’s art practice “interrogates the so-called neutral audience in multicultural society. To accomplish this, she uses materials — particularly textiles, language, performative gestures, and photographs —that resonate beyond the typical art gallery context.”

Her work often draws from “the histories of Punjab and the Punjabi diaspora and the ways in which they have been disrupted by colonialism and forced migration,” the bio adds. “The reclamation of cultural practice in her work interrogates colonial theft, cultural propaganda, and forces of global capitalism.”

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The Hnatyshyn Foundation’s 2021 visual arts awards were announced Sept. 29. Other awards were given to Isabelle Hayeur (the $25,000 Visual Arts Award, presented for “outstanding achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist”), and Heather Igloliorte (the $15,000 Award for Curatorial Excellence in contemporary art).

“The Hnatyshyn Foundation applauds these talented artists,” foundation president Gerda Hnatyshyn said in a news release, “and is grateful to donors William and Meredith Saunderson, in particular, for making the emerging artist awards possible. It is with their generous support that we are able to continue our mission of enriching the legacy of art in this country for the benefit of all Canadians.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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