Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Announces 2013 Short List

Jury selects four outstanding photographer finalists; public vote for
$50,000 Prize begins today

TORONTO, Aug. 27, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ – Aimia, a global leader in loyalty management, and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) announce the four artists who have been shortlisted for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, Canada’s leading international contemporary photography award. The
winner of the $50,000 Prize is chosen entirely by public vote, and
online voting opens today at and, for the first time, on the Prize’s Facebook page. Visitors to the AGO can also cast a vote inside the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2013 Exhibition, on view at the AGO from Sept. 11, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014.

The finalists are: Edgardo Aragón (Mexico), LaToya Ruby Frazier (U.S.A), Chino Otsuka (Japan/U.K) and Erin Shirreff (Canada). As a group, these four artists represent a snapshot of
current directions in photography and video, in which images are used
to build powerful, complex and often personal narratives.

  • Edgardo Aragón was born in Mexico, and his work invites reflection on the history of
    violence in his homeland. Deeply engaged with political and social
    histories of Oaxaca, the province where he was born and still lives,
    his video and photography often document performance and sculptural
    interventions against landscapes that appear at once serene and
    foreboding. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at
    institutions including Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo
    (MUAC), Mexico City; MoMA P.S.1, New York; and the Luckman Gallery, Los

  • LaToya Ruby Frazier was born and raised in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Her work is informed by
    late 19th- and early 20th-century modes of representation in
    documentary practice. She uses the conventions of social documentary
    and portraiture to expose untold stories of post-industrial decline in
    the United States, filtered through the experiences of her own family
    and community in Braddock. Her work has been shown at the Brooklyn
    Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; MoMA PS1; and the New
    Museum of Contemporary Art, among others. In 2012 Frazier was appointed
    critic in photography at Yale University.

  • Chino Otsuka was born in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to the U.K. at the age of 10 to
    attend school. Often mining her own autobiography, Otsuka uses
    photography and video to explore the fluid relationship between memory,
    time and photography. She has also published four books in Japan as a
    writer and published her first autobiographical book at the age of 15.
    Her works are found in public collections including National Media
    Museum, U.K., Wilson Centre for Photography, U.K., Los Angeles County
    Museum of Art, Huis Marseille Museum for Photography and Tokyo
    Metropolitan Museum of Photography. 

  • Erin Shirreff was born in 1975 in Kelowna, B.C., and now lives and works in New York.
    Her work interweaves photography, video and sculpture to extend and
    explore the act of looking, asking questions about the often
    paradoxical relationship between time and space and the image, and the
    impact of perception on the location of meaning. Recently her work has
    been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Gallery,
    Vancouver, B.C.; White Cube, London, U.K.; Agnes Etherington Art
    Centre, Kingston, Ont. Her work is also in the collections of the
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the
    Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.

A jury of three—made up of lead juror Elizabeth Smith, former AGO executive director of curatorial affairs and current
executive director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in New York; Urs Stahel, director, curator, and editor of Fotomuseum Winterthur; and artist Kader Attia—selected the four finalists from a long list of 14.

“The jurors were delighted with the strength and diversity of the
long-listed artists,” said Smith. “In choosing the four finalists, we
responded most to qualities that made the work fresh, powerful and
original in some way. We looked for strength, coherence and
consistency in the interplay of imagery and content and selected the
artists whose work made the most pronounced impact on all of us.” 

These artists will receive a fully funded six-week residency in Canada
next year, and their work will be exhibited at the AGO beginning Sept.11, 2013. A free public launch party will be held at the AGO that night, with
presentations by nominators and members of the jury about each of the
four artists. The following evening, Sept. 12, 2013 at 7 p.m., the four
artists will speak at a special panel event at the AGO alongside Smith; AGO associate curator of photography Sophie Hackett; and nominators Jennifer Blessing, senior curator of photography at The Guggenheim; and Helga Pakasaar, curator at Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver. Tickets to the event are available now.

The winner will receive $50,000 CDN and the three remaining finalists
will each receive a cash honorarium of $5,000 CDN. Online voting begins
today at and is open until 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2013. For the first time, voters can also make their choice via Facebook at Users who vote on Facebook can also enter for a chance to win a trip
to the winner announcement event on Nov. 7, 2013, at the AGO’s popular First Thursdays art party.

Previous winners of the Prize, formerly titled The Grange Prize, include
British photographer Jo Longhurst (2012), Gauri Gill of India (2011),
Canadian photographer Kristan Horton (2010), Marco Antonio Cruz of
Mexico (2009) and Canadian photographer Sarah Anne Johnson (2008).

For updates on the Prize, further details on the shortlisted artists and
additional information, please visit and follow @AimiaAGOPrize on Twitter.

“One of the approaches I use to process what is happening around me is
to use art as a tool for understanding the world.” – Edgardo Aragón

“Relentlessly documenting encounters with Grandma Ruby (b.1925-2009),
Mom (b.1959) and myself (b.1982) enables me to break unspoken
intergenerational cycles. We are wrestling with internalized life
experiences, perceptions of our-selves and familial personas developed
by sociopolitical baggage.” – LaToya Ruby Frazier

“The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m
embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time
becoming a tourist in my own history.” – Chino Otsuka

“Photographs work in two ways: they freeze a specific moment, but then
are carried forward in time and accrue these different meanings and
relationships. I think in some psychological sense that duality mimics
an experience I have of myself, my body – of being both in time and
somehow outside of it.” – Erin Shirreff

View videos of the finalists and continue the conversation at

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is Canada’s leading photography prize
and one of the largest arts and culture prize programs in the world.
The prize awards more than $85,000 directly to artists working in
photography each year, and is comprised of an annual exhibition at the
Art Gallery of Ontario, an online exhibition at, international artist residencies, public
programming, as well as an extensive national scholarship program.

Aimia, a global leader in loyalty management, has unique capabilities
and proven expertise in delivering proprietary loyalty services,
launching and managing coalition loyalty programs, creating value
through loyalty analytics and driving innovation in the emerging
digital and mobile spaces. In Canada, Aimia owns and operates Aeroplan,
Canada’s premier coalition loyalty program, as well as a proprietary
loyalty division that designs, launches and operates new client
programs. Aimia also offers world-class data analytics through its
Intelligent Shoppers Solutions suite of tools and has a minority
position in Cardlytics, a pioneer of transaction-driven marketing in
banking. For more information, please visit:

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the
vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African
art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul
masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002
Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian
and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative
architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in
2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural
achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a
gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire
city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning
visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering
great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers
engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and
adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about
eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy
tickets or memberships. 

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of
Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received
from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous
contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of Aimia, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program and Founding
Partner of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize.




For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:

Sam Shecter
Arts & Communications I 416.966.3421 x 206

Sabrina Bhangoo
Aimia I 647.329.5123

Andrea-Jo Wilson
Art Gallery of Ontario I 416.979.6660 x 406

Download PDF Version