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Governor General's award winner owes a lot to Kelowna

Kelowna born artist Jayce Shalloum.
Image Credit:
March 06, 2014 - 11:58 AM

KELOWNA – A Vancouver artist who was born in Kelowna has been selected by a jury of his peers as one of eight Canadians to win a Governor General’s Award.

Jayce Salloum is a multimedia artist who works primarily in video. His work, often controversial, focuses on social critiques and how certain groups are marginalized in society.

Salloum found out he had won the award in October.

“I had to keep it quiet for a long time because there’s a lot of planning that goes into it and also the exhibition that accompanies it at the National Gallery," he says.

In the wake of 9/11, Salloum’s installation everything and nothing and other works from the ongoing videotape, untitled, 1999–ongoing” was not allowed to be displayed at the Museum of Civilization in Quebec.

“I don’t mind being called controversial,” he says. “It just means you’re provoking people to think.”

In 2005, his 30-minute film untitled part 4: terra (in)cognita was refused display at the Alternator Gallery by the city, which was paying for the show. The film looks at the effect European settlers had on the Westbank First Nation and at the time, Public Art Coordinator Sandra Kochan said the film didn’t fit with the celebratory nature of the show.

“The work is difficult a lot of the time,” he says. “Sometimes it’s marginal, it’s developing new forms and sometimes it’s difficult for some people to support and also demanding for viewers.”

Jayce Salloum currently lives and works in Vancouver. His art has appeared all over the country and features subjects from politically charged areas like Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon.

Salloum credits Kelowna for supporting his work for the 35 years he has been making films. The first grant he ever received was from the Kelowna and District Arts Council in 1975.

“A lot of support also came from The Alternator Gallery over the years,” he says. “This award is also recognition for the efforts of people like Portia Priegert and Jennifer Pickering and other curators I’ve worked with that have given me support.”

Salloum is currently editing a feature film based on footage he shot in Afghanistan and preparing for a show at the National Gallery of Canada in Ontario at the end of March.


Jayce Shalloums mixed media installation titled: the heart that has no love/pain/generosity is not a heart (fragments) , 2008-2010.
Jayce Shalloums mixed media installation titled: the heart that has no love/pain/generosity is not a heart (fragments) , 2008-2010.
Image Credit:



An excerpt from Jayce Salloum's 2005 film untitled part 4: terra (in)cognita.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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