‘It’s a great honour’: $7,000 for undergraduate artist Catherine Canac-Marquis
“It is the greatest encouragement before starting my final year,” says photography major Catherine Canac-Marquis. “Winning the scholarship means a lot to me and it’s a great honour that my work was selected by the jury.”
Concordia studio arts student Canac-Marquis is one of three photographers who received the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Scholarship Program for 2016.
Each year, this program awards three $7,000 scholarships to undergraduate students who are entering their last year of study at one of the 16 Canadian academic partners. Additionally, the home institutions of the winning students each receive $1000 honorariums.
What the jury said
“On first viewing Catherine’s photographs I was immediately struck with the sophistication and maturity of her vision,” says jury member Dave Jordano, winner of last year’s Aimia | AGO Photography Prize. “The beautiful structure of her carefully rendered compositions, the ambient light and her sensitive colour palette are hallmarks of someone who has a confident and commanding grasp of their visual medium.”
The intent of her work, according to Jordano, amplifies and addresses issues of conservation, governance and environmental issues.
“It makes for important and relevant work that rests solidly on the foundation and traditions of fine art documentary photography.”
The winning project
Canac-Marquis’s submission project, The Keepers, is a documentary series about a private island and its two guardians of 38 years. Last summer, the artist spent a week on Île au Ruau, located in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.
“The island was once used to collect firewood, but it’s now a privately owned hunting ground. The series documents the geographical space, as well as the guardians’ intimate relationship with the island. My work addresses the notion of isolation. I am particularly interested in the concept of insularity,” says Canac-Marquis, whose work was printed online this year in Fotographia and Ain't Bad.
This summer, Canac-Marquis is back home in Quebec City creating a book from The Keeper series.
“I started this project in August 2015 and I’ve been supervised the whole time by my professor Raymonde April. The book feels like the logical next step,” says the artist.
How the scholarship works
The scholarships are awarded to students working in photography who have shown extraordinary potential throughout their undergraduate studies. For the purposes of the program, photography is defined broadly: submissions can include video, photo-based installation and other lens-based artwork.
Each academic partner institution forms a jury of three faculty members to review their students' submissions and select one finalist. The finalists are evaluated by the scholarship program jury, consisting of two representatives from the Art Gallery of Ontario and a previous winner of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize.