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Sculptor Kensuke Todo is Canberra Critics' Circle Artist of the Year

Kyoto-born Canberra steel sculptor Kensuke Todo has been named the 2014 Artist of the Year. The announcement was made at the ACT Arts Awards ceremony on Tuesday at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. 

The 2011 Artist of the Year, Michael Le Grand, presented Todo with a cheque for $1000 and glass artist and 2013 CAPO Fellow Matthew Curtis presented him with a glass sculpture.  

"It was very surprising. It was just a very grateful feeling," Todo said.  He said he was pleased his work had been recognised in his adopted city. 

The 23-year-old Canberra Critics' Circle, which covers all the major art forms, hosted the awards.

"This is one occasion when the Critics' Circle was absolutely unanimous in picking Kensuke Todo, because he has really made a mark on Canberra," convenor Helen Musa said.

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One of Todo's sculptures, Rest, was recently purchased by the ACT Legislative Assembly and another is in the front garden of the Commonwealth Club. He had a survey exhibition at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery earlier this year. Todo's work ranges from abstract sculptures to more representative works and brings together Japanese and Western influences.

Musa said Todo came to Canberra from Japan as an exchange student in 1999 speaking very little English but went on to complete his masters degree and to settle in Canberra in 2003.

Todo said, "Canberra feels like my home town ... it's not too large, not too small."

He said the arts scene was active  and though it was not large,the members of the arts community supported each other.

Todo's  current work is for a show in Cowra.

The other 2014 Canberra Critics' Circle awards went to: visual artists Nicci Haynes, Janet DeBoos, Denise Higgins and Gary Smith, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Katy Mutton, Annika Harding, and artists Caroline Huf, Ellis Hutch, Blaide Lallemand and Genevieve Swifte of Relative Constructions; filmmaker Sotiris Dounoukos and the creators of the feature film Galore; dance artist James Batchelor; theatre artists Domenic Mico, The Street Theatre, Alison Plevey, Karla Conway and Emma Gibson;  musical theatre artists Jenna Roberts, Jim McMullen, Steve Walsh and Hanna Ley;  musicians Tate Sheridan, Beth Monzo and Ben Drysdale, Alan Hicks, Rowan Harvey Martin, Christopher Latham, Marcela Fiorillo, Larry Sitsky and Tobias Cole; and writers Nigel Featherstone, John Clanchy, Omar Musa and  "Biff" Ward.

The 2014 Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Peer Recognition Award went to recently retired ACT branch secretary Michael White for his many years of work supporting the theatre profession.

"It's been a particularly strong year in visual art and music," Musa said.

She was also pleased to see a couple of film awards, adding that a couple of strong films were released outside the judging period.

"We'll look to them next year."

For more information visit ccc-canberracriticscircle.blogspot.com.au.