OCAD University will formally install Salah Bachir, president of Cineplex Media, as Chancellor at the university’s convocation ceremonies at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on June 9, 2017.
The university will also award Bachir an honorary doctorate alongside three other outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to Canadian culture, art and design: architect Harriet Burdett-Moulton, artist Kent Monkman and Ada Slaight, one of Canada’s leading philanthropists.
OCAD U celebrates these honorary degree recipients for their contribution to Indigenous knowledge and culture in their creative fields, for their passionate belief in the importance of visual arts and for their spirit of philanthropy in the cultural sector and beyond.
A successful entrepreneur, publisher and media executive, Bachir is a passionate patron of the arts whose diverse art collection features many works of Canadian artists, both emerging and established. He is a strong supporter of numerous cultural events, organizations and programs.
“Salah Bachir is a wonderful addition to the OCAD University community as our new Chancellor, taking on the important role of the university’s chief ambassador,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Not only does he have a passion for art and phenomenal success in the field of digital media, his personal values of diversity, equity and inclusion are deeply embedded in our DNA, which makes him the perfect fit for this role.”
OCAD University celebrates the graduation of almost 800 of its students this year. The university’s 22 medal winners in their respective programs will receive their awards, and faculty members will be honoured for their contributions with teaching awards.
The new Chancellor will be installed during the first ceremony at 10:30 a.m. which will recognize graduands from the Faculty of Design with Bachir and Burdett-Moulton receiving their honorary doctorates. The second ceremony, at 3:30 p.m., will honour graduands from the Faculty of Art, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Graduate Studies. Monkman and Slaight will receive their honorary doctorates at the afternoon ceremony.
OCAD University’s Board of Governors is pleased to award the title of Chancellor Emerita/us to past chancellors Rosalie Sharp, the Honourable James K. Bartleman and Catherine (Kiki) Delaney to pay tribute to their ongoing support of the university.
“The title honours and celebrates these past Chancellors and their work with OCAD University, and it acknowledges their ongoing relationship with the institution. From time to time we will call upon them for their sage advice and counsel to the university,” said Dr. John Semple, Chair, OCAD University Board of Governors.
Salah Bachir, CM, is an entrepreneur, magazine publisher, and the president of Cineplex Media. He is also one of Canada’s most influential philanthropists and patrons of art.
After five years in the publishing industry, Bachir began the trade publication Premiere to serve the needs of the burgeoning video distribution and retail sectors. In 1999, Bachir launched Famous magazine, distributed as an in-house movie theatre publication. Now called Cineplex Magazine, its circulation and readership are among the highest of any in Canada.
Bachir has lent his extensive collection of art for exhibition to major Canadian institutions, and donated important works to the National Gallery of Canada, The London Regional Gallery, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, Rideau Hall and the Canadiana Fund. In addition, he has provided extensive financial support to galleries, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Oakville Galleries, and numerous Canadian university galleries.
Bachir has been a long-time supporter and patron of the LGBTQ community, sponsoring Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, the We’re Funny That Way comedy festival, the Inside Out film and video festival and The 519 community centre.
Health care is another of Bachir’s signature issues. He has helped raise millions for HIV/AIDS research and Toronto-area hospitals, including a $2.5 million donation to build a new dialysis unit at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. He is also a tireless voice for patients.
Harriet Burdett-Moulton is a Métis architect with primarily Inuit & Montagnais roots. She was born in Cartwright, Labrador and was raised “in a nomadic family deeply tied to seasonal hunting and the fishing cycle of the region.”
Formerly a school teacher, she returned to university to complete her architecture degree (1972-1976). Burdett-Moulton lived in Iqaluit where she worked for the government of the Northwest Territories and eventually relocated to Nunavut. With her husband, a mechanical engineer, they established the first architectural and engineering firm in the Eastern Arctic. In 2017, Burdett-Moulton became a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
Ms. Burdett-Moulton has not only conducted a successful career in a traditionally male-dominated profession, but also applied her knowledge to “respond with ingenuity” to the needs of the Arctic communities with whom she shared her understanding of the land. One of Burdett-Moulton’s main strengths is her ability to understand and interpret First Nations culture in her designs, while adapting them to the extreme climactic conditions and the transportation restrictions of this remote region. The years spent in the Territories taught her how to truly listen to the Inuit and this put an end to the prevailing model that encouraged a “design for” rather than “design with” the communities. Her most elaborate project was the planning of the new Innu town of Natuashish, Labrador, that involved an extensive seven-year consultation process whose scope reached beyond public engagement,placing the importance on community decision making.
Kent Monkman is well-known for his provocative reinterpretations of romantic North American landscapes. Themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience - the complexities of historic and contemporary Native American experience - are explored in a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation.
His glamorous diva alter-ego Miss Chief appears in much of his work as an agent provocateur, trickster, and supernatural being, who reverses the colonial gaze, upending received notions of history and indigenous people. With Miss Chief at centre stage, Monkman has created memorable site-specific performances at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, The Royal Ontario Museum, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Compton Verney, and most recently at the Denver Art Museum. His award-winning short film and video works have been screened at various national and international festivals, including the 2007 and 2008 Berlinale, and the 2007 and 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. His second national touring solo exhibition, Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience will visit museums across Canada until 2020.
Monkman has been awarded the Egale Leadership Award (2012), the Indspire Award (2014), the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award (2014), and the Bonham Centre Award (2017).
His work has been exhibited internationally and is widely represented in the collections of major Museums in Canada and the United States. He is represented by Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain in Montreal and Toronto, Trépanier Baer in Calgary and Peters Projects in Santa Fe.
Ada Slaight (née Mitchell) is one of Canada’s leading philanthropists. For many decades, Ada Slaight’s generous gifts to organizations in Toronto and elsewhere have supported education, arts and culture, social services, and healthcare.
Theatre – and the performing arts in general – is one of Ada Slaight’s enduring passions. Organizations that have greatly benefitted from her generous and thoughtful philanthropic support and volunteer commitment include: OCAD University, Young People’s Theatre, National Theatre School of Canada, Soulpepper, Toronto Artscape, Royal Ontario Museum, Evergreen Brick Works, Vital Toronto Fund, National Ballet of Canada, VIBE Arts, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Harbour Island Day Nursery in the Bahamas.
From 1990 to 1998, Slaight served with distinction on the Board of Governors of the Shaw Festival in the roles of Governor, National Governor and Honorary Governor. Partly in recognition of her many contributions to the Shaw Festival, in 2009, the Academy at the Shaw Festival was re-named the Slaight Family Academy (the repertory theatre’s professional training, play development, publishing and public education wing).
A long-time supporter and advocate for OCAD University, Slaight served as a highly engaged and effective member of the volunteer fundraising cabinet for the “Ideas Need Space” capital campaign that resulted in the iconic Sharp Centre for Design. Recent benefaction to OCAD U has created the Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Painting and Print Media, the Ada Slaight Entrance Scholarships, the Ada Slaight Studios, and the Ada Slaight Galleries.