Religion and the Arts Award
Deadline: February 1
The AAR award in Religion and the Arts is presented annually to an artist, performer, critic, curator, or scholar who has made a recent significant contribution to the understanding of the relations among the arts and religions, both for the academy and for a broader public.
The Religion and the Arts Award Jury accepts nominations from AAR members, though nominees need not be AAR members. Nominations must include a supporting letter (no more than 1,000 words), and any relevant supporting materials (images, DVDs, books, catalogs, etc.). Please, no self-nominations.
To be considered for the annual award, nominations must be made by February 1 and sent to Brent Plate, Dept. of Religious Studies, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323. Electronic submissions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The jury for the Religion and the Arts Award includes Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Norman Girardot, Mia Mochizuki, Christopher Parr, Sally Promey, and is chaired by Brent Plate. The Award will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion. The award recipient also will be featured at a Special Topics Forum.
Cotter, a 2009 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, is one of the most prominent art critics in the United States. He has been a staff art critic for The New York Times since 1998. Cotter's work has consistently called attention to religion and its roles in artistic production across time, space, and multiple religious traditions.
Snyder is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, essayist, and environmental activist. He has published eighteen books, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. Snyder’s work and thinking has been featured in video specials on BBC and PBS, and in every major national print organ. A key member of the mid-twentieth century San Francisco Renaissance literary movement, Snyder is currently professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and lives in Northern California. He has spent ongoing time in Japan, undertaking extensive training in the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism.
Heller, the Executive Director of the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), New York City, has focused on building places of learning within museums. While working on a Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, she learned the workings of various museum departments through jobs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. After graduation, she focused her attention on establishing new places of learning through art, first at the Gallery at the American Bible Society and later as founding director of MOBIA. MOBIA was conceived as a learning museum, whose unique mission is illustrated by noteworthy exhibitions and publications.
Nawaz is the driving force behind Fundamentalist Films and the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, which debuted to large audiences and tremendous acclaim in 2007. Nawaz, born in Liverpool and raised in Toronto, had a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto in her hands when she realized that staying out of medical school would be her greatest contribution to Canada’s health care system. Unfazed, she coolly switched career plans and received a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism from Ryerson in 1992. Nawaz worked as a freelance writer/broadcaster with CBC radio, and in various capacities with CBC Newworld, CTV’s Canada AM, and CBC’s The National. She was an associate producer with a number of CBC radio programs, including Morningside, and her radio documentary The Changing Rituals of Death won first prize in the Radio Long Documentary category and the Chairman’s Award in Radio Production at the Ontario Telefest Awards. Bored with journalism, Nawaz took a summer film workshop at the Ontario College for Art and made BBQ Muslims, a short film that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 1996. Her next short film, Death Threat, also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1998. Other short film credits include Fred’s Burqa and Random Check. In 2005, Nawaz’s documentary entitled Me and the Mosque, a coproduction with the National Film Board and the CBC, was broadcast on CBC’s Rough Cuts.
|2008||Betye and Alison Saar
In multiple media, prints, collage, assemblage, sculpture, and installation, Betye Saar (b. 1926) and Alison Saar (b. 1956) push the boundaries and categories of art and religion. With works in the collections of the finest arts institutions and museums, the two have been hailed as "conjure women of the arts." Each one practices a synthetic art, creating material shape for persistent spiritual and cultural questions of identity, ethnicity, race, religion, and gender. Betye Saar's Liberation of Aunt Jemima (1972) has acquired virtual iconic status. The shrines and altars she creates explore mysticism and vodou as well as racial and sexual politics. Alison Saar's installations, objects, and sculptures pursue relations among spiritualities in African cultural diaspora. Each one of these women might be justifiably hailed as an insider artist for persuasively, creatively bringing personal encounters with visionary, vernacular, and "outsider" arts of many cultures to public attention.
A pioneering video artist whose internationally exhibited work explores universal human experiences--birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness--and has its roots in religious traditions including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism.