Author: Stephen Weir | Date: 18 June 2021
The annual Scotiabank Photography Award offers the largest cash prize in Canada for photographers. This year Deanna Bowen took top honours. As winner of the Award she receives a $50,000 cash prize, a solo Primary Exhibition during the 2022 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and a published book of her work distributed worldwide by renowned art book publisher, Steidl.
The award comes a year after the 51-year old photographer was awarded a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
Bowen who lived and practiced in Toronto for over two decades recently moved to Montreal. She is known for multimedia, multidisciplinary artwork that explores racial prejudice and the history of black communities in Canada and the United States.
Her work often draws on her own family history, which she traces to ancestors who were enslaved in the pre-Civil War American south. Bowen is a descendant of Alabama and Kentucky Black pioneer families who made their way to Amber Valley and Campsite, Alberta.
“This win gives me the platform to be bigger in a place that really is all about shrinking things down and provides the opportunity to reach out to an international community, make connections with Black artists around the world,” Bowen said. “That’s a big factor in my efforts to help rewrite Canadian cultural history.”
Toronto’s Annie MacDonell, Montreal’s Dawit L. Petros and Six Nation’s Greg Staats, were also finalists for the 2021 Award and will each receive cash prizes