Four international artists are on the shortlist for the 2017 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize. This prize offers $50,000 to the winner, who is selected by public vote, and $3000 to the other three artists. The exhibition of the shortlisted artists work will open on September 6 at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. The public may vote at the exhibition anytime after it opens or online starting September 13. This year’s finalists are Liz Johnson Artur (Ghana/Russia), Raymond Boisjoly (Haida Nation/Canada), Hank Willis Thomas (USA), and Taisuke Koyama (Japan).
Liz Johnson Artur (b. 1964) is a Russian-Ghanaian photographer based in London. For the last 28 years, Johnson Artur has been working on a photographic representation of people of African descent, capturing compelling nuances of blackness and highlighting family, love and friendships. Her monograph with Bierke Verlag was included in the New York Times’ Best Photo Books 2016 list. Johnson Artur works as a photojournalist and editorial photographer for various fashion magazines and record labels all over the world. She received her Master of Arts in Photography from the Royal College of Art in London and has taught at the London College of Communication.
Raymond Boisjoly (b. 1981) is an Indigenous artist of Haida and Québécois descent who lives and works in Vancouver. He has exhibited extensively across Canada and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions. Boisjoly investigates the ways images, objects, materials and language continue to define Indigenous art and artists, with particular attention to colonial contexts. In 2016, he was a recipient of the VIVA Award, presented by the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts in Vancouver, and is one of five artists shortlisted for the 2017 Sobey Art Award. Boisjoly is an assistant professor of Interdisciplinary Studio in the Department of Visual Art and Material Practice at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery.
Taisuke Koyama (b. 1978) is a Japanese artist who explores the possibility of image making in the digital age. His abstract photographs and moving images employ experimental production methods to investigate the relationship between organic processes and phenomena and the technologies that facilitate their visual capture. He has exhibited extensively in Europe and Asia including Generated Images at the Daiwa Foundation Japan House Gallery, London, 2016 and at international art festivals: Aichi Trienniale (2016), Seotuchi Trienniale (2013), and Daegu Photo Biennale (2012). In 2010, he was selected as part of the annual roster of Foam Talent for Foam Magazine. Monographs of his work include VESSEL – XYZXY (RRose Editions + taisuke koyama projects, 2017) and RAINBOW VARIATIONS (artbeat publishers + Kodoji Press, 2015). Koyama currently lives and works in Amsterdam and is represented by G/P Gallery, Tokyo, Metronom, Italy and Sunday Gallery, Switzerland.
Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976) is a multidisciplinary contemporary African-American visual artist, photographer and arts educator, working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He has exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally including the International Center of Photography, Public Art Fund and The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. His work can be found in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture in 2008. He received a MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City and Goodman Gallery in South Africa.