The award includes a $50,000 cash prize, a solo exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre during the 2017 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, and a book of the winner’s work to be published and distributed worldwide by Steidl.
“Suzy Lake’s pioneering, long-term photographic exploration in the arena of performative, feminist and self-identification themes places her firmly in the vanguard of Canadian greats” said artist Edward Burtynsky, chair of the Scotiabank Photography Award jury, in a release.
“Her influence has spread throughout several generations of artists, both nationally and internationally,” Burtynsky added. “We look forward to collaborating with Suzy to create a great book and exhibit in the coming year.”
Lake began her art practice in 1968 after moving to Montreal from her birthplace, Detroit, following the social and political unrest of the 1960s. Lake was among the first female artists in Canada to adopt performance, video and photography to explore the politics of gender, the body and identity.
In 1972, Lake formed Véhicule Art Inc. with 12 other artists to establish one of the first artist-run centres in Canada. She moved to Toronto in 1978 where she became a co-founder of the Toronto Photographers Workshop. Lake taught for 40 years in Montreal, Toronto and most recently as head of the University of Guelph photo department. Lake currently lives and makes work in Toronto.
The Scotiabank Photography Award is designed to provide support to a mid- to late-career artist and strives to accelerate their career as he or she reaches for the next level of national and international recognition.
Members of the 2016 jury included artist and NSCAD professor Robert Bean, art historian and Canadian Cultural Centre deputy director Catherine Bédard, and critic and University of Guelph professor Robert Enright.
Previous winners of the award include Angela Grauerholz (2015), Mark Ruwedel (2014), Stan Douglas (2013), Arnaud Maggs (2012) and Lynne Cohen (2011).