The following students were selected by internal juries at their respective institutions as finalists for the 2016 – 17 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Scholarship Program:

Jean Borbridge

Jean Borbridge is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours at the University of Manitoba. Her practice primarily focuses on photography and painting. Her interest in documentary photography began when she took a semester off of school to live and volunteer in Monrovia, Liberia in 2016. Her work often depicts spaces that carry identity, history, and memory that live within and beyond their boundaries. Her fascination in photography has grown from her practice as a painter, as she is drawn to spaces that are layered both physically and conceptually. In her series, The Poetics of Liberia Monrovia, she documented abandoned former colonial buildings that still remain guarded long after their desertion. Her series acts as a reminder of the history of colonialism, war and the current political climate of the region. Her work has been shown at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and most recently a site-specific installation at the national historic site, The Forks, in conjunction with LandMarks2017.

(University of Manitoba)

Benoît Brousseau

Benoît Brousseau was born in Outaouais and has lived in Montreal since 1997. He is currently completing a BFA in Visual and Media Arts at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Although he works primarily with photography and video, his work often takes the form of installations which integrate other mediums such as sound and text. Experimenting with various techniques, surfaces and photographic materials from one project to the next is integral to Brousseau’s practice. His work often explores themes like the effect of time on identity, death, physical and psychological pain, the search for identity, and the memory of places, people and things. The various existential traces he examines form the conceptual basis of each series.

He has recently exhibited locally at Cégep du Vieux Montréal, at UQAM’s CDEx gallery, at Place des Arts, and as part of Montreal’s 375th birthday. As a finalist of the inter-university photography contest, one of his images will be part of a travelling exhibition in 2017-2018.

(Université du Québec à Montréal)

Sarah Hernandez

Sarah Hernandez, born in Toronto, Ontario, is currently working towards completing her final year of undergraduate studies in Studio Art at the University of Guelph. She was raised in a family that has culturally influenced her upbringing. Spirituality and superstition have large roles in her everyday life since childhood. She has been raised to believe in ghosts, mediums, rituals involving the spirits of the afterlife, the mythical santeros of Caracas, prayer, apparitions, the meaning of nightmares and the power of dreams. She uses photography to project these beliefs into snippets of time, integrating them into the world and capturing such beliefs, grabbing a hold of the essence of an other-worldly place. Ultimately Sarah's work is a contemporary reflection of cross-culturalism that is non-conventional and represents a cultural metamorphosis of beliefs from childhood to present day.

(University of Guelph)

Maisha Marshall-Ende

Maisha Marshall-Ende is an Ethiopian-Canadian photographer and videographer. She is entering her fourth year at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University in Toronto. Her work explores black culture in contemporary society, focusing on black women. She draws inspiration from her own life, noticing the daily challenges and experiences unique to women of colour. Her understanding of race has been shaped by growing up in Ethiopia. In her experience, black Canadians that have grown up within a racially-charged and subtly oppressive system can become almost numb to it. As she moved to Canada as an adult, she already had expectations about how a black woman should be able to operate in the world. Thus, the sudden changes around her were a shock to the system. Now she uses her artwork as a tool to better understand racism and as a platform to ensure that it is addressed.

(OCAD University)

Maria Merheb

Maria Merheb, born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1997, emigrated with her family to Ottawa in 2013. She is currently completing a BFA in photography at the University of Ottawa. Her practice consists of both discovery and exploration in a specific moment in time. We could think of her work as a psycho-geography, which suspends time and place. Her subtle use of added colour and montaged elements bring the viewer into the rich experience and mental landscape of a new Canadian who has a great deal to say to all of us. She is also the recipient of the 2017 Louise Perry Scholarship.

(University of Ottawa)

Brigitte Patenaude

Brigitte Patenaude, born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1991, is a photo-based artist working with elements of sculpture, installation, and performance. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Fascinated with objects and their ability to reference place and memory, Patenaude creates still lifes that draw on formal qualities of line, colour, and form. By highlighting low-grade and often neglected everyday objects and materials, her still lifes subvert the traditions of its genre. The human presence in Patenaude’s material-driven imagery calls up the tense yet playful interaction between the animate and the inanimate. Conventions are questioned as the objects are stripped of their perfunctory use value. A parallel to human emotion is made. Patenaude sees objects, and the way we choose to interact with them, as a way into larger ideas around purpose, adapting, and belonging.

(Emily Carr University of Art + Design)

Huimei (Olivia) Qiu

Huimei Qiu, born in Shenzhen, China, is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Visual Art with a minor in commerce at the University of British Columbia. Through her work, she experiments with a wide range of art mediums, focusing on film and digital photography. She is involved in the UBC Film Society and as a crew member, she collaborated and helped produce a short, independent film: There’s Room For One More. Her latest work combines mixed media to juxtapose real, personal spaces with the projected, online material. This ties into global socio-economic issues and events, and by using space, both personal and artificial created, she raises awareness of privileged and unprivileged lifestyles. In her piece, photography was used as tool to zoom in the reality of the world beyond our computer screens.

(University of British Columbia)

Anna Semenoff

Anna Semenoff studies sculpture at the Alberta College of Art and Design; her material practice is primarily comprised of video and light based installation. Her work is motivated behind concepts derived from the field of Phenomenology – a theoretical framework pertaining to structures and mechanics of experience, recognizing systems of being. Video projection is employed as a medium, curated to function in tandem with its corporeal surroundings. Visual imagery is implemented as a vehicle of representation – an apparatus; the internal mechanism occupied within a larger framework, as a fabricated template, an offer to consider ways of seeing. The art becomes a secondary source: a lense of responsibility placed in the hands of the spectator, prompting awareness to expose the pre-existing climate. Simultaneously manipulating, and depending on mimicry, the arranged networks of isolated engagements will echo as the product of the individual.

(Alberta College of Art and Design)

Angeline Simon

Angeline Simon was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993, and is currently completing the BFA Art Studio program at the University of Lethbridge. Her work has been presented in both public and private institutions, including a group exhibition at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge. Presented with the opportunity of a dark room, analogue photography became a central role in her practice as she primarily works with medium format. Engaging with notions of psychological space, her interest lies in creating work that manipulates perception and explores relationships between subject and environment. As a descendant of European and Asian ancestry, her work also focuses on constructing narratives that are influenced by these different cultures.

(University of Lethbridge)

Simon Solis

Simon Solis was born in Chile and raised in Toronto. He is completing his degree in the Department of Visual Art and Art History at York University. His photographic work examines museological practices of curatorial narratives and cultural preservation. Over the past year Simon has interned as a photographer at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection through the Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage program and has contributed written work to the Family Camera Network exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. These experiences inform his photographic investigations into themes of heritage, power, and identity within the constructs of art. By reinterpreting notions of the institutionalized art object, he explores concepts of cultural inheritance and isolation, authenticity and reproduction, and presence and absence. Solis references archival systems and the photographic techniques implemented within them to investigate the interweaving relationship between museum, object, and spectator.

(York University)

Audrey Yip

Audrey Yip currently studies Art and Art History at the University of Toronto, Mississauga and Sheridan College. She specializes in photography and sound art. Her work investigates notions of physical, visual, mental and audible space and the elements that function to produce the atmospheres or moods that accompany them. After years of intensive dance training throughout elementary and high school, her sensory response to music became the instinctive motive to creating perceptible experiences rather that flat art objects for her viewers and listeners. By intermingling multiple media and pushing them to their ontological limits she discovered that they could, together, compose an experience that could stimulate more than one sense.

(University of Toronto)

Kyle Zurevinski

Kyle Zurevinski is a twenty-two year-old visual artist from Saskatoon, SK currently completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan. He specializes in photography and new media and has expanded his understanding of traditional photography uses and methods into more abstract and conceptual realms, which are often in combination with older or uncommon forms of technology such as instant film. His work focuses on viewing subjects in a way that often isolates certain features and puts others into the spotlight. His passion and practice in photography has been focused on using shape and abstraction as a tool to provoke emotion and thought through the image as a whole. His latest series “still space” has recently been exhibited at the University of Saskatchewan’s own “Gordon Snelgrove Gallery” as his first solo exhibition. These images show a progression of his practice and properly depict his current artistic process.

(University of Saskatchewan)