Culture Counts winners announced in Oshawa

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Published June 29, 2023 at 4:35 pm

Innovation and Creative Champion Award winners Anushka and Arushi Bhattacharjee

A multi-instrumentalist, composer and visual artist; an award-winning artist who has presented her work locally and across the country; and two sisters and published authors who wouldn’t be able to vote if you added their ages together are this year’s Oshawa Culture Counts Award winners.

“Culture Counts is an integral part of the Oshawa creative community,” said Mayor Dan Carter, who congratulated the winners for their “significant creative and cultural achievements” within the community. “On behalf of City Council, I am honoured to introduce this year’s Culture Counts Award winners – we celebrate you and your contributions.”

Launched in November 2017, the program’s goal is to celebrate and honour the creative and cultural achievements of the community. The Professional Artist, Emerging Artist and Innovation and Creation Champion Awards were formally presented by City Council to winners at the June 26, Council meeting.

Anushka and Arushi Bhattacharjee – 10 and seven years old, respectively – were named this year’s Innovation and Creation Champion Award winners, an award that honours individuals, collectives and/or organizations in the creative and cultural industries who have created or enhanced an event, product, program or partnership in the past year.

Anushka’s love of reading and the pandemic’s impact on library hours led to her becoming a young author. When she was unable to borrow books from the library during the pandemic she decided to write her own story so she would be able to read it and published her first book, My Magic Mirror, at eight. The book won the Readers’ Favorite Gold Award.

Inspired by her sister, Arushi started writing her own book when she was just five. Her book, T-Rex Trouble!!! is a first place Firebird Book Award winner.

The Bhattacharjee sisters hope to inspire many young readers to become authors. They visit local schools, including Alexander Graham Bell, Claremont and Stephen G. Saywell, and have one-on-one sessions with other children to help them in their writing process. The sisters donate part of the sales to charitable organizations like Durham Children’s Aid Association.

Artist Diana Nadia Lawryshyn received the Emerging Artist Award, which recognizes emerging artists between the ages of 12 to 30 who are in the early stages of their careers. The award encompasses all arts disciplines, recognizing those that are skilled and determined to advance their artistic capabilities and leverage these skills to inspire and enrich the lives of fellow citizens.

Lawryshyn is a Ukrainian-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist who blends traditional and modern technological methods in creating her musical and visual art. Her music uses thoughtful arrangement of sound to tell a story full of imagery and her visual artwork focuses on cultural iconography, visual cryptography and magnifying perceptions of the ordinary.

Lawryshyn also produces a unique style of visual art by utilizing many techniques including surrealism, abstraction and texture. A Queen’s University grad (music, education and visual art), she was awarded the Maurice Dubin Prize in Composition and is continuing her studies at the University of Toronto.

Her works have been featured in exhibitions at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Whitby’s Station Gallery and Kingston’s Storefront Gallery. She is also an active volunteer with the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Oshawa and has donated prints to raise money for Ukraine.

Emerging Artist Award winner Diana Lawryshyn

The Professional Artist Award recipient is local artist Susan Campbell. The award recognizes an established artist of any arts discipline who has demonstrated creativity, originality, professional maturity and artistic leadership in the community.

Campbell is an Oshawa-based interdisciplinary artist who obtained a Masters of Fine Arts in Art, Media and Design from Ontario College of Art & Design after studies in design and digital media in Ireland. She now teaches at the Toronto school as well as at Durham College.

Her artwork investigates signs and patterns of urban intensification as played out on development sites, parking lots and sidewalks. Her art frequently explores physical mapping practices as a means to interpret and reflect on the design dynamics found within the urban landscape, confronting issues brought about by the intensification of urban development.

Campbell has exhibited across Canada and internationally, including at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Cambridge Galleries and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa. She has also received numerous grants, including from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Professional Artist Award winner Susan Campbell

“Congratulations to this year’s award winners. Your work inspires all ages and reminds everyone that pursuing your passion can enrich an entire community,” said Councillor Bob Chapman.

To learn more about the Oshawa Culture Counts Awards and the Community Legends Award, visit Oshawa.ca/CultureCountsAwards.

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