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2 Concordians are longlisted for the 2019 New Generation Photography Award

MFA students Zinnia Naqvi and Matthew Brooks join 21 other hopefuls in the running for one of three $10,000 prizes
February 21, 2019
Zinnia Naqvi and Matthew Brooks. | Photos by Sonia Bazar and Matthew Brooks

Concordia Faculty of Fine Arts grad students Matthew Brooks and Zinnia Naqvi — have made the longlist for the 2019 New Generation Photography Award.

Scotiabank and the Canadian Photography Institute at the National Gallery of Canada introduced the award last year as a way to support the careers of artists 30 and under.

Of the 23 longlisted artists, three will be selected by a jury of experts to receive a $10,000 prize. Their work will appear in a group exhibition at the Gladstone Hotel during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto from May 1 until June 9, and at the Canadian Photography Institute PhotoLab in Ottawa in September.

The winners will be announced on April 3.

"The New Generation Photography Award provides a marvelous opportunity to review some of the best and most exciting imagery being produced by an up-and-coming generation of artists," says Andrea Kunard, associate curator of the Canadian Photography Institute. 

'Concordia is a great place to experiment'

How does it feel to make the longlist? For two Concordians to make the longlist?

Zinnia Naqvi: It feels great to have our work recognized at such an early stage in our careers. It's a huge national platform and it's really amazing to see the different kinds of work that is being produced across the country.

It's nice to see many colleagues and classmates that are also being recognized for their tremendous work.

Matthew Brooks: It's a really strong list of candidates from across Canada so I am honoured to be included along with Zinnia Naqvi who is a very talented member of my MFA cohort and a good friend.

We have one of the strongest photography programs in Canada so I'm glad that Concordia is well represented on the longlist.

Left: Self-portrait in the Garden, 2017 and Nani in the Garden (2), 1948, by Zinnia Naqvi. Right: Laundromat (for Hopper), 2018, by Matthew Brooks. Self-portrait in the Garden, 2017, by Zinnia Naqvi. | Laundromat (for Hopper), 2018, by Matthew Brooks.

What’s going on in that Photography unit at Studio Arts and the Post Image Cluster? The students and alumni who come out of it seem to do extraordinarily well. Can you speak to the atmosphere at Concordia and how it’s helped you or nurtured you as an artist?

ZN: I think for me, having access to such amazing facilities not only in the photo department but in many of the departments has created a really fruitful place to grow my practice. I've been able to experiment in my photo practice by playing with installation and printing on many different kinds of surfaces.

There are so many people with precise expertise in photography that you can have access to help in many areas. I've spent a lot of my time here in the Post Image lab and I really enjoy the working environment there.

At the same time, all around you at Concordia other people are working in such incredible varied disciplines that it also feeds into the way you look at and develop your practice. You can get access to facilities and expertise in mediums that you have never worked in before, so it's also a great place to experiment.

MB: We are lucky at Concordia to have a strong combination of wonderful faculty members, exceptional facilities and a dynamic community of photo-based artists. All of that combined gives graduate students the space to develop very strong work which circulates nationally and internationally.

In my case, I was also lucky enough to receive the Lande Award in Photography and the Roloff Beny Fellowship in Photography, both of which have made my work possible, along with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec — Société et culture (FRQSC), for which I am very grateful.


Find out more about Concordia's Department of Studio Arts in the Faculty of Fine Arts.

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