Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award
Meet the winners of the 2023 Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award
The 2023 Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award (NGPA) artists explore the many challenges in contemporary representations of the body, identity, culture and history. Photographs and videos push the boundaries between cultural and natural delineations to imagine new possibilities of existence and relationships. As much as their images operate as critical statements on contemporary life, they also function to open dialogue and create community.
With great visual sophistication, care and curiosity, NGPA winners Hannah Doucet, Wynne Neilly and Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez demonstrate the continued power and significance of lens-based images to probe shared concerns and anxieties as they offer new insights into negotiating an image-saturated culture.
A selection of the artists’ work will be on view at the National Gallery of Canada from August 4, 2023 to January 7, 2024.
Supported by the Scotiabank Photography Program at the National Gallery of Canada.
Hannah Doucet’s photographs, videos and sculptures explore fantasy, illness, the body, anxiety and performativity. An artist, arts educator and cultural worker, Doucet has exhibited across Canada, with exhibitions at Neutral Ground (Regina) Duplex (Vancouver), PLATFORM (Winnipeg), The New Gallery (Calgary) and Gallery 44 (Toronto). Doucet was the inaugural winner of the 2017 PLATFORM photography award and was long listed for the 2019 New Generation Photography award. She is one of four founders of Blinkers, a project space based in Winnipeg, where she was a co-director until August 2021.
In her photographs, videos and installations, Doucet explores the social management of childhood illness through fantasy and wish fulfillment. Having undergone treatment for lymphoblastic lymphoma when she was eight years old, she revisits her wish trip to Disney World and the corporate messaging surrounding illness, sickness and living life “happily ever after.” Childhood experiences of illness are denied or reformulated through elaborate marketing strategies that place children in a performative setting saturated with toxic positivity. With her deconstructive approach, the artist reveals how the unimaginable – serious childhood illness – is managed for and by adults, leaving the child to negotiate their memories, desires and hopes in later years, on their own.
Wynne Neilly is a queer, trans identified, visual artist and award-winning photographer who explores and balances a fine art and commercial practice. Known for his portraits that investigate into and engage with the queer and trans identity, he received critical attention for his TIME Magazine’s monumental cover of Elliot Page in 2021. Currently based in Prince Edward County, ON, his work has been included in exhibitions internationally; including but not limited to: The Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives; Gallery TPW; Joseph Gross Gallery (Tucson); The Art Gallery of Burlington; International Center of Photography (New York); The Annenberg Space for Photography (Los Angeles); and Sørlandet Art Museum (Norway).
A queer, trans-identified artist, Neilly creates portraits of queer and trans subjects that emphasize community and acceptance, and the empowerment of individuality that results from the positive relationship choices. Neilly also photographs urban and natural landscapes which, like his portraits, underscore his meditative approach to image-making. The artist presents natural, urban and social worlds as if held in suspension. When exhibited alongside his portraits, these scenes invite viewers to ponder their interrelation and the various contexts in which human affairs find contention and solace.
Using materials such as archival photographs, found ephemeral images, magazine interviews and film/tv scripts, Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez overlays the recent past against the present, exploring how images can be still but in motion, historical yet continuously present. Based in Vancouver BC, Rodriguez has had solo exhibitions in Winnipeg, Mexico City, and Chicago. His work has been featured in Peripheral Review, Artforum, Musée Magazine and Hyperallergic. Rodriguez received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and in 2019 was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Rodriguez explores the shifting meaning of the photographic image as it moves through different times and contexts. Casting a queer lens on a box of photographs found in a Mexican bookstore, Rodriguez connects his past circumstances with those of an unknown photographer and his subjects. Images, replete with photographic codes of a conventional heterosexual lifestyle, mix with those of a young man and his male lovers in intimate settings. A video features two commentators who seek out clues about the person depicted. Ultimately, nothing can be deduced with certainty, an indication of how photographs assume agency not as decisive statements on reality, but through the connections they garner as objects of community and exchange.
The New Generation Photography Award recognizes outstanding photographic imagery by three emerging Canadian lens-based artists, age 35 and under.
Founded by the National Gallery of Canada in partnership with Scotiabank, the award was created to support the careers of young talented artists.
The 2023 NGPA jury was chaired by Andrea Kunard, Senior Curator of Photographs Collection at the National Gallery of Canada, and was composed of Deanna Bowen, artist and past winner of the Scotiabank Photography Award (2021), Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes, artist and past winner of the New Generation Photography Award (2022) and Bernard Lamarche, curator at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
The top three winners were selected from a long list that included the following other lens-based artists, whose important work also merits congratulations:
Mariana Munoz Gomez
Gabriel Esteban Molina
Annie France Noël
The three winners each receive a $10,000 prize. Their work will be featured in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto on April 27 – June 16, 2023, as well as in an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in the fall.