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Meet Concordia's 2 new Scotiabank Photography Award nominees

The $50,000 prize could be the university's fourth in 4 years
March 9, 2017
By Andy Murdoch

"Tout Embrasser," Photographie 2001-2015, by Raymonde April | Image courtesy of the artist "Tout Embrasser" (Photographie 2001-2015) by Raymonde April | Courtesy of the artist

Today, the jury for the 2017 Scotiabank Photography Award announced its shortlist.

Two of the three nominees are Concordians: graduate Donigan Cumming (MFA 85) and Raymonde April, professor of photography and former chair of Studio Arts.

Canada's largest peer-reviewed contemporary art prize, the Scotiabank Photography Award was founded in 2010. It is conferred annually to someone who "strives to invent, influence and redefine the reception of art in ways that will endure."

The third artist in the running is Shelley Niro. Her work is currently on display at Concordia's Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery as part of Sovereign Acts II.

Raymonde April

Raymonde April, who is currently curating a public art exhibition called Outre-vie / Afterlife for the FOCUS Photography Festival in Mumbai, is ecstatic.

“I feel so lucky, and honoured, and blessed,” she says. “It’s such a happy coincidence that our Afterlife show opens tonight. We will celebrate both!” 

April received the Order of Canada in 2010. The award recognized her contribution to the country’s evolution of documentary photography, in particular her incorporation of self-portraiture and details from daily life.

April’s works, which include publications and films, have been featured in national and international exhibits and acquired by prominent museums. Constantly on the lookout for new artistic avenues, April co-founded one of Canada’s first artist-run centres, La Chambre Blanche.

In 2003, she received the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas, which is the highest distinction accorded by the Government of Quebec to an artist working in the visual arts.

Video still from "Out of Kerr’s Suitcase" (2016) by Donigan Cumming | Courtesy of the artist Video still from "Out of Kerr’s Suitcase" (2016) by Donigan Cumming | Courtesy of the artist

Donigan Cumming

Concordia alumnus Donigan Cumming uses photography, video, painting, drawing, sound and text in multimedia artworks and installations.

"When I got the call yesterday, I was genuinely surprised," Cumming says. "It's a big prize, and a complex one to jury. I was happy to make the shortlist!"

His photographs and videos are grounded in issues of representation and test the boundaries between truth and fiction. They address themes of memory and mourning, the aging body, economic disparity, visual taboos and empathetic engagement.

Widely exhibited in Europe, Asia and North America, Cumming’s work is recognized internationally for its forthright and compassionate representation of humanity and its forgotten members.

What’s on the line

The winner of the Scotiabank Photography Award receives a cash prize of $50,000; a solo exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre; a primary exhibition at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival; and a book of their work published and distributed worldwide by German art book publisher Gerhard Steidl.

The shortlist was selected by a panel of leading curators, photographers, artists, gallery directors, art writers, professors and critics, including Wanda Nanibush, who curated Sovereign Acts II at Concordia's Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, and Heather Igloliorte, assistant professor in the Department of Art History.

In 2016, the prize went to alumna Suzy Lake (MFA 83), marking a third consecutive triumph for Concordians. Angela Grauerholz won in 2015; she was preceded by Mark Ruwedel in 2014.

The winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Photography Award will be announced on May 9. Find out more about studying photography at Concordia.


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