Canadian Art is pleased to announce Ashley Raghubir as the first-place winner of the 2020 Canadian Art Writing Prize. Raghubir, whose entry looked at the work of artist Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, 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 2020 prize are writer and art historian Hana Nikčević and emerging artist and writer Alexa Bunnell. Each will receive a $1,000 award and be commissioned to write a feature story for canadianart.ca.
The Canadian Art Writing Prize, now in its 11th 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 artist and writer Gelare Khoshgozaran; author of The Baudelaire Fractal Lisa Robertson; and Canadian Art senior editor-at-large Yaniya Lee.
The jurors supplied these comments on the winner and runners-up:
“Ashley Raghubir’s writing departs from the blue of painting to navigate water and air through their material and symbolic connections to Black diaspora breath. Framing Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s new and recent paintings as ‘a representation of thrivance,’ Raghubir posits care and protection as constants that define the past and future of Black diaspora life and kinship.” —Gelare Khoshgozaran
“Alexa Bunnell’s immediately engaging style shows the radical potential of fermentation. In a personal and playful tone, they discuss a set of collaborative works that encompass ‘modes of care that exist out of (hetero)normative time and capitalistic extractive designations of life.’ The text moves easily through multiple contexts, and imparts the urgency of different forms of queer solidarity.” —Yaniya Lee
“In prose at once sensual and precise, Nikčević’s text on Rebecca Belmore’s Biinjiya’iing Onji (From Inside) strongly commits itself to a nuanced presentation of the political, geological and cosmological contexts and repercussions of Belmore’s sculpture. This is writing that engages directly with the injustices of the present political economy for migrants, Indigenous peoples and refugees by mounting a clear, historical analysis, while insisting on the continuing urgency of acts of aesthetic resistance and refiguring.” —Lisa Robertson