Mercedes Webb is the first-place winner of the 2019 Canadian Art Writing Prize. Webb, whose entry looked at the work of artist Ts̱ēmā Igharas, will be commissioned to write a feature story for a future issue of Canadian Art, and will also receive a $3,000 award.
The two runners-up for the 2019 prize are emerging artist and writer Anj Fermor, and curator and writer Missy LeBlanc. Each will receive a $1,000 award and will be commissioned to write a feature story for canadianart.ca.
The Canadian Art Writing Prize, now in its 10th year, is an annual juried prize designed to encourage new writers on contemporary art. For eligibility, writers must be 18 years of age or older and cannot have published more than three pieces in national or international magazines. This year’s submissions were reviewed by a jury consisting of curator and writer Nasrin Himada, writer and artist Sam Cotter and Canadian Art managing editor Tess Edmonson.
The jurors supplied these comments on the winner and runners-up:
“Through rigorous research and astute prose, Mercedes Webb’s conceptualization of Ts̱ēmā Igharas’s practice and its teachings of potlatch methodology expresses art’s transformative effects—its impact on how we might approach our relations to land and material considering the harmful practices of extractive industries. By taking up the tensions that Igharas’s work confronts in the exhibition ‘Black Gold,’ Webb brings attention to how artmaking and production, through both process and result, can be acts of revitalization, decolonization and care. Reading Webb’s piece reminded me of art writing and its powers: that it can be informative, generative, thoughtful and contextual. Webb lets us sit with the questions and possibilities that art inspires.” —Nasrin Himada