David Fujino Pioneering Artist Award

David Fujino

The David Fujino Pioneering Artist Award is an award granted every two years to a Japanese Canadian artist.  David Fujino was a multidisciplinary sansei artist who wrote poetry in the form of concrete visual poetry; he was also an actor and a writer of reviews, interviews, and opinion pieces. Born in the internment camp of Greenwood, Fujino became a fixture of the Toronto Japanese Canadian community and arts scene. David died in 2017 and the prize was inaugurated in his memory.

The award represents an acknowledgment and honouring of a pioneering Japanese Canadian artist by the Japanese Canadian community. The selection of the artist is done by the Arts, Culture and Education committee who are familiar with the artistic contributions of Japanese Canadians in a wide array of artistic disciplines.

2017 NAJC David Fujino Pioneering Artist Award
Takao Tanabe
"Out of nothing, Takao created great beauty, which reflects an entire generation of Japanese Canadians," muses Terry Watada, a member of the committee that selected Mr. Tanabe as recipient of the inaugural NAJC David Fujino Pioneering Artist Award at this year's AGM in Ottawa.
Born on the west coast of Canada in 1926, Tanabe's education was cut short when racism, politics, and the tragic events of the Second World War impelled the forced dispersal of all Japanese Canadians from the coast, and exiled him first to Slocan then Lemon Creek, and finally to Winnipeg.  From 1946, a series of "sympathetic teachers", to quote Tanabe, made his art education possible.
Today his works are in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Glenbow Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Vancouver Art Gallery and many private collectors. He holds several honorary degrees as well as the Governor General's Award in Visual Arts and Media.
"He is the living one of the triumvirate of Nisei artists who were born in 1926 – Kazuo Nakamura, Roy Kiyooka, Takao Tanabe – who became CanArt famous, and set the bar high for succeeding generations of JC artists," says Bryce Kanbara. Noteworthy is the fact that Tak donated a limited edition fine art print to help fundraise for the cause of Redress and participated in the Redress Rally in Ottawa.