Ufuk Gueray Congratulations to an amazing artist!

Not about ceramics today!  But a great celebration, indeed.

I met Ufuk and his partner, Erica Mendritzki, about six or seven years ago right after they had graduated from Guelph.  They were hired to teach as sessionals at the School of Art.  Over the years it was my pleasure to watch them accumulate exhibitions and win awards all the while giving the portfolio workshops to high school students hoping to be accepted into the first year class at SOA.

This year Ufuk has had his work recognized by major awards both from the Manitoba Arts Council and the Canada Council.

From MAC, he received a $5000 A-Level Individual Art Grant, then $12 500 for the MAC’s Brooklyn Visual Arts Residency, and a $950 travel grant. He was also selected for their Major Arts Grant giving him an annual total of 35,000 in funding from our province.

The Canada Council awarded him an Explore and Create: Concept to Realization valued at 50,000$ over a period of two years.

The project that he is working on is intriguing.  It is called Atilla’s Mirror Shop and is about his late uncle’s mirror shop in Izmir, Turkey.  He will work on that project during his time at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in Brooklyn.

Here’s a link to the ISCP page: https://iscp-nyc.org/resident/ufuk-gueray  if you are interested.

Winnipeg has some amazing individuals and it has been fabulous watching this young man find his artistic legs, so to speak.  It was my pleasure to have been able to work with him and Erica during the time I was Associate Director.  Now it is just nice to have them as good friends!

Well done, Ufuk!  And well deserved.

Give it Up for Joo Young Han, one of the Manitoba Arts Council’s Major Award winners. Well done!

Joo Young (Grace) Han is one of those extremely talented young women, a rising star in Canadian ceramics.  Raised in South Korea, Han graduated with her BFA from Dankook University where she studied traditional Korean ceramics.  There she watched the master potter, Joon Hoon Park, while making hundreds of Korean tea bowls, sambal, a day.  For seven years, Han worked to perfect her ceramic skills including the making of the large jars for fermented vegetables, the Onngi.  In 2011, Han moved to the Canadian prairies.  The image above is a still from an upcoming CBC special on Han.  In 2016, Han graduated with an MFA from the School of Art, University of Manitoba.  There, for two years, she worked tirelessly in her studio asking herself many, many questions.  Am I Korean?  Am I Canadian?  Where is my voice?  Her thesis exhibition focused on those binaries as does the photo above.

The Manitoba Arts Council recognized Han’s artistic excellence by awarding her their major grant of $30,000 this past week.  It is rare for a ceramic artist to achieve such recognition so early in their career.  MAC  not the only one, however!  Han will be part of the Banff’s Centre’s Clay Revival Residency from June 3-July 7 and she will also have a solo exhibition at Medalta.  Well done, Grace.

For a more detailed discussion of Han’s struggle with her identity and the male world of Korean ceramics, see my article in the current issue of New Ceramics, ‘Joo Young Han.  One Path, Two Identities, pp 13-15 (2/18).