Awards and Exhibitions
On May 6, 2006, Maria Miranda Lawrence was awarded the Canadian national COPA Award Celebrating Outstanding Portuguese-Canadian Achievement in Arts and Culture.
The Copa Award presentation was held in Toronto, Ontario at the Royal Meridien-King Edward Hotel, included a fine dinner and musical entertainment by Suzana da Camara.(preparations above photo) This gala event celebrated 6 winners in the areas of Education and Academia, Vision, Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Arts and Culture. Maria Miranda Lawrence was the recipient of the "Arts & Culture" award for 2006. Nelly Furtado was also honored that year for her success in Music. The media covered the event on television and newspapers.
The COPA Awards were initiated to honour and celebrate Luso-Canadians active in a variety of fields and successful in mainstream Canadian society, and to inspire future generations.
Maria Miranda Lawrence (center)with Nelly Furtado, who won the Forca award and Filomena Carvalho, awarded for Vision. Paulino Nunes (actor) is on the left.
AN INVITATION TO THE AZORES 2005 by Maria Miranda Lawrence
One early morning I was woken up by a call from someone claiming to be from the Azores government, asking to confirm if I was the artist Maria Miranda Lawrence. He went on the explain they would like to invite me to attend a conference in the Azores all expenses paid, and for now all they needed to know was how my name read on the passport. I didn't even have a chance to put on my glasses, and felt a bit disoriented, could this be true, so random! I rummaged through my desk, and luckily my passport was there. He gave me the dates, and I explained I would be up north in Kitimat, at an opening of my first exhibition at the Kitimat Museum Art Gallery. The timing worked out perfectly, and I could fly directly from Kitimat, on route to the Azores.
The artist conference "Construir Cultura -Building Culture" held in S. Miguel, Azores on (July 6-11, 2005) brought several artists together from Brazil, the USA and Canada. There were poets, musicians, photographers and media and visual artists of Azorean descent. I was greeted at the airport, and before I was allowed to settle in my hotel room, I was taken to an art shop for to pick out the oil paints, canvas I needed to work on. All I was expected to bring was my own brushes. My five day nonstop adventure was soon to begin!
This event was hosted by the Azores "Comunidades" government. We were offered a tour of the island, were musically entertained, viewed film, art exhibitions and museums - all in the company of several talented participants -which was truly an unforgettable experience!
The participating artists were asked to each contribute artworks to be published. My contribution was the painting of two Azorean girls in the window, entitled "Um barco na linha do teus olhos" The original painting is now property of the government department. In 2008 - A limited edition book of collected works was released in hardcover, including an original collaboration of music on a CD. The painting is included in the book in a section with write up about my artwork.
The title of this painting: "... um barco na linha dos teus olhos" (...a boat in the horizon of your eyes) connects the image with the poem by Jose' Francisco Costa "Sina de Vespera"(The Eve of Destiny) It was the first of the idea that sparked work on the series The title of this painting: "... um barco na linha dos teus olhos" (...a boat in the horizon of your eyes) connects the image with the poem by Jose' Francisco Costa "Sina de Vespera"(The Eve of Destiny) It was the first of the idea that sparked work on the series " À JANELA - THE POETIC SOUL" connecting poetry to each image of the Window theme - used as a metaphor for the contrasts of Life.
The week at "Construir Cultura - Building Culture" cultural inspired me to create a unique project and book publication of my own " À JANELA - THE POETIC SOUL". I wanted to expand on the theme of the window and began communicating with the poets and singers I admired. I was delighted when so many talented individuals were onboard with the idea of my wanting to paint images and correspond it with their poetry. I applied for a grant, outlining the whole project, with the names of the singers, musicians and writers that would be collaborating with. The concept was awarded the top Azores government grant in 2011. My project included contributions of poetry and lyrics from celebrated writers and portraits of singers to illustrate the classical window theme. The Grant enabled my husband and I to travel and bring two crates of paintings with us to show the originals in Rosario, Lagoa for its first exhibition. Later I realized it had a profound personal meaning to me. It was the same place I took the photo of the two girls two years previously when I was also feeling emotional about not being able to return to the island for many years, and how I felt so connected to the island of my birth. When I looked at the image I had taken in my digital camera, I felt it was going to be a painting! It was the following year that I received the government invitation and celebrated as an artist and this was the image I painted for them.
The exhibition was carefully packed into two crates seen here, and travelled as luggage with Maria on the plane travel from Victoria.
Beautiful gallery at the Lagoa Municality, one section of it!
Lagoa Municipality Art gallery, in S. Miguel Azores
At the first exhibition opening (actor/singer songwriter) Zeca Medeiros to the left, (singer) Helena Oliveira, participants in the project, Teresa Tome (filmmaker)and Roberto Medeiros (local director and wonderful host)
In October 2012, Maria Miranda Lawrence celebrated the book release " À JANELA - THE POETIC SOUL" in form of a full concert, featuring Sara Marreiros and musicians, plus a poetry reading by paulo da costa. All her works paintings were on display next to the antique wooden white paned windows at the Fairfield United reception hall below the concert hall.
In February 2014, Maria Miranda Lawrence was invited for the second time to exhibit her artwork at the Kitimat Museum Art Gallery for one month. The first exhibition there was on the year she was invited to the Azores for the conference, where she flew directly from there to the Azores. This time was to show the entire collection of À JANELA - THE POETIC SOUL". The opening, on February 8, 2014 happened to be her mother's 90th birthday! Her three sisters, and families and friends were all there to celebrate the occasion. It was a festive and well attended opening to the show!
Public recognition for Maria Miranda's art began at age 13, when she won a poster contest to promote book reading, open to high school students in her hometown of Kitimat, B. C. Maria Miranda's illustrated the poster with the image of the world globe including various people around the outside of the earth representing her choice countries. She recalls including a drawing of a flamenco dancer, foreshadowing her future love for the music and dance of Spain. Unfortunately the original was not returned, and no photographs were taken of it, that we are aware of. She titled the poster "Around the world with books!"
In Grade twelve, Maria Miranda was awarded two scholarships which covered three years tuition at Kootenay School of Art in Nelson, B. C.
In 1983, following her move to Vancouver island in B.C., Maria and husband purchased their first home in Sooke. She noticed a contest the Sooke Mirror was advertising for the popular annual event, All Sookes Day. Her design was picked as the winner, a sepia toned pen and ink illustration of a climber she had photographed the year prior. With the cash prize award she purchased a studio drawing table and the image of her design was reproduced on an offset press to advertise the popular All Sooke Day. To the left is a photo of a copy of the poster, brown printed on blue.