Eight artists were awarded the Governor General’s Awards on Wednesday, February 19, in recognition of their exceptional careers and contributions to the visual arts, media arts and fine craft in Canada. The recipient of the Saidye Bronfman Award in craft excellence was Baie Verte, New Brunswick’s Anna Torma.

Anna Torma is a visual artist working in textile. She was born in Tarnaörs, Hungary, in 1952 and graduated with a degree in Textile Art and Design from the Hungarian University of Applied Arts in 1979. She has been an exhibiting artist since then and has produced mainly large-scale hand-embroidered wall hangings and collages. Anna’s work draws inspiration from folk art, anatomical sketches, gardens and graffiti, methodically composing fantastical stories.

Anna has exhibited her work internationally and is represented in many public, private and corporate collections, including the Museum of Arts and Design, in New York City, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, in Halifax, and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, in Fredericton. She was a 2014 recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for High Achievement in Visual Arts. Anna immigrated to Canada in 1988 and has lived and worked in Baie Verte, New Brunswick, since 2002.

“Throughout her career, Anna Torma has drawn upon her life-changing experiences of emigration and conflicting responses to concepts of national identity, alongside a passion for documenting family and domestic life as an act of humility, love, and humour. Her congested surfaces are studies of the human body, erotic energy, and fantastic creatures; they are places of memory and of imagination. And they are expressions of the joyous act of making by hand—of coming to terms with the world through art.

Torma has dedicated her professional life to an astonishingly singular studio practice that has emerged from an early, deep understanding of embroidery traditions and their place in global, contemporary visual culture.”

Nominator: Textile Museum of Canada, Sarah Quinton, Curatorial Director

Anna Torma was recognized with New Brunswick’s Lieutenant Governor’s Award for High Achievement in the Arts in 2014. Nova Scotian artist Michael Fernandes was also recognized with the GG for Visual Arts.