By Amanda Jeffs
Halifax’s Nova Scotia College of Art and Design professor Jan Peacock has been named the winner of the 2012 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. The announcement was made February 28th in Toronto where both her work and her many contributions to contemporary Canadian art were recognized by the Canada Council for the Arts.
“Well I’m still not sure what it means to me,” says Peacock. “It’s a terrific honour. It’s pretty profound and overwhelming. My inbox is full of messages from former students, and people that I haven’t seen for years and years. My life is flashing before my eyes.”
Along with the $25,000 award given by the Canada Council, the winners each received a special issue medallion which is sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mint. In March, the 2012 award winners will be visiting parliament and an exhibition will be displayed at the National Gallery of Canada located in Ottawa.
With recent NSCAD budgetary concerns, Peacock hopes the award will raise the spirits of the students and staff. “I kind of expected it to have a fairly positive effect,” says Peacock. “But I’m actually getting emails from colleagues of mine who thank me for winning the award.”
Her work has been exhibited throughout Canada, as well as around the world. Peacock’s work can be found in countries such as France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Poland.
Peacock’s creative mind is developed through her ongoing dedication to the creative world. “Art is the absolute centre of my life, and it always has been,” says Peacock.
After being introduced to professional art during her secondary school years, Peacocks perspective immediately changed. “Once I got to university I figured out really quickly that it’s a defining agent in our culture,” says Peacock.
“I think that we don’t hear as much about it as we do music, and perhaps theatre and literature. But I think the visual artists in this country play a huge role in defining the character in our culture.”