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News / March 21, 2018

Three Artists Shortlisted for $50K Scotiabank Photography Award

The peer-reviewed award aims to recognize the achievements of established mid-to-late-career photo-based artists.
A still from New York–based Canadian artist Moyra Davey’s work <em>Hemlock Forest</em> (2016). A still from New York–based Canadian artist Moyra Davey’s work Hemlock Forest (2016).

This morning, three Canadian artists were announced as being shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Photography Award.

They are: New York-based artist Moyra Davey, Toronto-based Haudenosaunee artist Greg Staats and Vancouver-based artist Stephen Waddell.

The award winner, to be announced on May 8, will receive a $50,000 cash prize, an exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre during the 2019 Contact Photography Festival, and a book of their work published by Steidl. Overall, the award aims to recognize the achievements of established mid-to-late-career photo-based artists.

Davey, born in Toronto in 1958, is known for photo- and video-based works (often shot in her New York home) that address family, friends, philosophy and personal narratives. Her work has been exhibited at Documenta 14, the Guggenheim and the Met, among other venues, and she is also editor of the landmark Mother Reader anthology.

Staats, born in Brantford in 1963, is renowned for, as the Art Gallery of Ontario articulates it, “photography, performance, video installation, and sculpture” that currently aims at “reconnecting with a traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) restorative aesthetic.” For his installation at last year’s Capture Photo Festival in Vancouver, untitled (objects of reciprocal thinking), Staats brought “together images and objects from personal and community archives that offer intellectual and aesthetic interpretation of body and ceremony.”

Waddell, born in 1968 in Vancouver, started out as a painter but has more recently become known for varied bodies of work in photography. While his breakthrough works were colour images of urban spaces and people in those spaces, his acclaimed 2016 exhibition “Dark Matter Atlas” at the Vancouver Art Gallery featured huge black-and-white prints of underground caverns in the United States, Canada and Lebanon.

The award is peer-reviewed. This year’s jurors include artist Edward Burtynsky (jury chair), writer/curator Candice Hopkins, Vox artistic director Marie-Josée Jean, and artist Mark Lewis.

“These artists and their bodies of work are representative of the excellence and diversity of Canadian contemporary photography—powerful, fascinating and uniquely impactful,” said Burtynsky in a release.

Past winners of the prize include Shelley Niro, Suzy Lake, Mark Ruwedel, Stan Douglas and Lynne Cohen.

Greg Staats, Kanien'kehá:ka (b. Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory) is a Toronto-based artist whose works combine language, mnemonics and the natural world as an ongoing process of conceptualising a Haudenosaunee restorative aesthetic to define the multiplicity of relationships with trauma and renewal. For 'Song of the Open Road' Staats’ installation 'untitled (objects of reciprocal thinking)' (2014) (detail above, photograph by SITE photography) brings together images and objects from personal and community archives that offer intellectual and aesthetic interpretation of body and ceremony. 'Song of the Open Road' Vikky Alexander, Robert Arndt, Gerard Byrne, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, Kelly Jazvac, Kelly Lycan, Niamh O’Malley, Dawit L. Petros, Greg Staats and Lisa Tan Presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival, 2017 Until June 18, 2017 Contemporary Art Gallery and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada line. #photography #capturefest @capturephotofest #gregstaats

A post shared by Contemporary Art Gallery (@cagvancouver) on Apr 15, 2017 at 12:10am PDT

This post was updated on March 21, 2018, with more information about each of the nominated artists.

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is news and special sections editor at Canadian Art. A graduate of NSCAD University and McGill University, she has also written for the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail. She welcomes tips, corrections and comments anytime at leah@canadianart.ca.