The Writing on the Wall: The Work of Joane Cardinal-Schubert | 2019 Melva J. Dwyer Award winner / lauréat du prix Melva J. Dwyer

Joane Cardinal-Schubert Title Honored with the ARLIS/NA 2019 Melva J. Dwyer Award

The Writing on the Wall: The work of Joane Cardinal-Schubert, the first comprehensive examination of the artist’s life and work, was presented with the 28th annual Melva J. Dwyer Award at the The Art Libraries Society of North America’s (ARLIS/NA) annual conference. The book was published in 2017 by University of Calgary Press and edited by Lindsey Sharman.

The Writing on the Wall was selected from among 10 Canadian art and architecture titles nominated for the 2019 award.

Published almost 10 years after the artist’s death, this book not only commemorates her life’s achievements as an artist – it shows how her art practice, personal experience,  and professional background as author and administrator were all entwined. Contributing author David Garneau describes Cardinal-Schubert as “an empathetic witness driven by a sense of justice. She was fuelled by her convictions, energized by art’s ability to inform and transform, and centred by cultural knowledge and community.” Chapters by contributors of indigenous and settler descent examine the work of an artist deeply concerned with Canadian colonial history. Scholarly chapters are integrated with other, more novel contributions, such as a piece by the artist’s widower and an interview with the artist herself, resulting in a volume that skillfully blends storytelling, art historical analysis, and personal narratives.

Cardinal-Schubert contributed a great deal to her local communities, and despite her success as an artist, she was under-recognized during her life by the mainstream art world. This work provides critical insight into her life and work as well as the individuals and institutions with whom she worked. This compilation deserves recognition for disseminating Cardinal-Schubert’s story to a wider scholarly audience.

Honorable mention was given to Laurent Amiot: Canadian Master Silversmith, by René Villeneuve, published in 2018 by the National Gallery of Canada.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was presented by Suzanne Rackover, Melva J. Dwyer Award Sub-Committee Chair. Jury members of the 2019 ARLIS/NA Melva J. Dwyer Award Sub-Committee were Carly Diab, John Latour, and Lelland Reed.

The Melva J. Dwyer Award was established in recognition of the contribution made to the field of art librarianship by Melva Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts Library, University of British Columbia. It is given to the creators of exceptional reference or research tools relating to Canadian art and architecture. Dwyer was a champion of the arts and of art librarianship who mentored a generation of ARLIS/NA colleagues.


Laurent Amiot: Canadian Master SilversmithHonourable Mention
Author: René Villeneuve
Publisher: National Gallery of Canada, 2018

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Sketches from an Unquiet Country: Canadian Graphic Satire, 1840-1940
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Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018

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