Winnipeg artist wins $10K prize for work about rooming houses

Winnipegger Corrie Peters has won a $10,000 national award for an artwork that uses a representation of a door to explore power structures in our society.
Corrie Peters' award-winning work Building (All the rooming houses on my street have had their front door removed) won a prize from the Salt Spring Arts Council. (Supplied photo)

Winnipegger Corrie Peters has won a $10,000 prize for an artwork that uses a representation of a door to explore power structures in our society.

Peters' work was the first winner of the Joan McConnell Award for best in show from 809 entries in the Salt Spring National Art Prize. Peters will receive a $10,000 cash prize along with a $5,000 artist residency on Salt Spring Island for nearly a month.

"It's great, It's really exciting," Peters said. "I make art for an audience, so it's nice to have people know about it."

Her award-winning work is titled Building (All the rooming houses on my street have had their front door removed). The sculpture includes the door frame from her childhood home near Boissevain, Man., and a knitted piece made from sewing thread. 

The knitting took seven months to complete, Peters said.

Her work is meant to stimulate discussion about power and our individual role in power structures, she said. 
Winnipeg artist Corrie Peters won a $10,000 national award for her work Building (All the rooming houses on my street have had their front door removed). (CBC)

"My socially engaged practice can be understood as working to rebuild doors whose removal increases vulnerability and removes dignity," she wrote for the prize's website. "This piece is documentation of that process. It involves time to knit together the small threads that build relationships, questioning what anchors our current systems, which require rooming houses (and my role in them), and translating this fragile process back to a gallery."

Peters considers herself a "socially engaged artist" who admits she is part of the power imbalances in society.

"I'm involved in these systems; I live a comfortable life because some people don't," she said.

The Salt Spring award recognizes artworks that "show significant impact and depth of meaning, pushing boundaries and creating conversation, bringing context to cultural issues both local and global," the Salt Spring Arts Council website says.

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