Friday, June 18, 2021

Deanna Bowen wins 2021 Scotiabank Photography Award

Eleven talented photographers were longlisted in the 11th annual Scotiabank Photography Award with interdisciplinary artist Deanna Bowen announced as the winner. In addition to photography she also works in sculpture, drawings, installations and performances addressing subjects such as race, migration and trauma. Ms. Bowen of Montreal, Quebec will receive prizes including $50,000, a solo exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre in next year's Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and a published book of her work. Deanna Bowen's “Frank”, 2019, Back-mounted inkjet prints on photo paper on plexiglass is pictured at top.
Deanna Bowen Headshot (CNW Group/Scotiabank)

“A well-deserved congratulations to Deanna, winner of the Scotiabank Photography Award, whose art tells an important story about our country and its history,” says Laura Curtis Ferrera, Chief Marketing Officer, Scotiabank. “At Scotiabank, we believe the arts enrich our communities and our society in significant ways. Through the Scotiabank Photography Award, we’re proud to help elevate the careers of some of Canada’s most accomplished and gifted artists, particularly during these challenging times.”

The prestigious Scotiabank Photography Award, started in 2010, is a peer-nominated and peer-reviewed award featuring the best of contemporary established Canadian photographers. The contest looks has six criteria such as excellence in both narrative and the art form along with a national profile and exhibition and publications , Nominations from industry experts that include curators, artists, gallery directors and others are reviewed by three expert Jurors (Sophie Hackett, Dr. Kenneth Montague and Brian Sholis), chaired by Edward Burtynsky, who select three finalists and the winner. The three finalists win $10,000 each (Annie MacDonell, Dawit L. Petros and Greg Staats).

“It is a great pleasure to recognize Deanna Bowen as the 2021 Scotiabank Photography Award winner. Deanna’s deeply personal connection to her art – in particular her photography – immerses the viewer in a brilliantly potent documentation of genealogy, race, and migration in Canada,” said Edward Burtynsky. “Her solo exhibition during the 2022 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival should not be missed.”

Deanna Bowen, Black Drones in the Hive, Chapter 2 – Abolition, Archival inkjet prints on photo paper with glazed black and natural frames, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid (CNW Group/Scotiabank)

Ms. Bowen has produced and has work published exploring the migrations of her family to "all-Black" towns in the U.S. as well as examining the Ku Klux Klan in both the U.S. and Canada, won many awards and a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Deanna is represented by the MKG127 Gallery.

From Scotiabank's interview with Ms. Bowen; "The seeds of Bowen’s current work were sown when her research led her to documents about the arrival in Edmonton of the first group of Black freemen from Oklahoma, and the subsequent signing of a petition by the Edmonton Board of Trade and city businessmen urging Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier to discourage African Americans from homesteading. Laurier obliged, signing an Order-in-Council prohibiting Black homesteaders.

“The many letters that were generated to support the petition insisted white people were getting agitated, and if the Canadian government didn’t intervene, they would resort to lynch mobs,” Bowen said, pointing to a history of hostility Canadians know little about."

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