Roloff Beny winners reflect excellence

Neysa Hale and Kasia Sosnowski, both BFA art majors, emerged from a highly competitive group of applications to earn the two Roloff Beny Awards.

Each will receive a $5,000 scholarship to develop their art projects after the Roloff Beny Awards Committee established their proposals to be the best of an outstanding collection of applications.

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Roloff Beny Award recipient Neysa Hale plans to travel to Williams Lake, B.C. to pursue her photo-arts project.

Hale, in her fourth year of study, plans to explore both a physical place and the social issues in Williams Lake, B.C. In her proposal Hale says, "My art practice focuses on social issues prevalent in society today revolving around social interactions and deviance labeling (negatively labeling those seen as deviant according to social norms). In exploring such issues, I aim to create an environment of contemplation and reflection that encourages one to stop and think about the implications. To do so, I use mixed media including textiles, video and photography, paying close attention to the overall composition and colour. I'm interested in Aboriginal and Caucasian relations in Williams Lake, B.C. There is a clear divide between the two groups where social barriers and skewed perspectives inhibit positive interaction. It is my desire to explore this divide through photography, research and observation to understand the situation and present it in a creative fashion. By travelling and documenting the Cariboo Wagon Road, I wish to open a discussion around the connection between the Cariboo Wagon Road and the Williams Lake Indian Bands to create a dialogue of the social by-pass that is occurring."

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Kasia Sosnowski will journey to Poland to complete her project.

Sosnowski, in her sixth year of study, has a personal proposal involving exploring her heritage with a beloved family member's camera as her guide. According to her proposal,

"I want to use my Dziadek's [grandfather's] Leica to explore the relationship between photography, memory and eternal return. By travelling to Poland, I hope to capture and celebrate the relationship that I had with my Dziadek and his relationship with Poland. I've been to Poland only once before and the connection I felt to the people and the place was immense. If we consider eternal return, I will be led by the intuition of my past selves to revisit sites and spaces I've seen infinite amounts of time. Perhaps by
using my Dziadek's camera, I will be led to the places he explored and loved. I will only use his film camera to document the trip. Thus, the entire experience will be filtered through his camera."

In 2005, the Roloff Beny Foundation endowed $860,000 to the Department of Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, to generate ongoing funding for student scholarships and infrastructure costs in traditional and digital photo-arts. In recognition of excellence in art instruction and research, the University of Lethbridge was one of five institutions across Canada selected for such an endowment. Since then, more than $70,000 in scholarships have been awarded to students in fine arts, providing research based travel opportunities in conjunction with their studies in photo-arts.

The Roloff Beny Foundation Photographic Awards in the Fine Arts is intended to provide outstanding Fine Arts students who have a concentrated interest in photo-arts with a travel opportunity in relation to their photographic activity. Any new or continuing students enrolled full-time in any BFA degree program who have a focused interest in photo-arts are eligible to apply for this competitive award.

This story first appeared in the April 2013 edition of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.