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Cutting-edge Photographers From Canada and Mexico Compete for $50,000 Grange Prize
Lynne Cohen (Canada, born 1944), Laboratory, 1999/2001, dye coupler print, edition of five; 122.5 x 153.0 cm, 48.25 x 60.25 in. Courtesy of Olga Korper Gallery © 2009 Lynne Cohen.

TORONTO.- Aeroplan and the Art Gallery of Ontario have selected four remarkable photographers from Canada and Mexico as their candidates for the 2009 Grange Prize. Starting today, the public can visit to vote for the artist they think should win the $50,000 prize: Marco Antonio Cruz from Mexico City, Lynne Cohen from Montreal, Federico Gama from Mexico City or Jin-me Yoon from Vancouver.

Now in its second year, The Grange Prize is a partnership between Aeroplan and the AGO that recognizes the best in Canadian and international contemporary photography. A joint curatorial panel of experts selects the candidates from Canada and one other country. The committee has chosen Mexico to participate in the 2009 competition. The $50,000 award is the largest of its kind in Canada, and is the only one selected entirely by the public.

This year, for the first time, the AGO will host a special exhibition of works by all the selected candidates from April 1 to June 26, while the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City will host its own exhibition between April 8 and May 24. A more comprehensive selection of works from each nominated artist can also be viewed at Members of the public can vote onsite at the exhibitions or online from now until May 20. The winner will be announced at a special ceremony at the AGO on May 26, 2009.

“The AGO is a strong advocate for the diverse and innovative photographers working today and The Grange Prize is a perfect example of this commitment,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “This prize gives up-and-coming photographers a stage to share their art with the world.”

“Aeroplan is thrilled to be presenting the Grange Prize with the AGO for a second year. The Mexican and Canadian artists who have been shortlisted are a talented group and we are pleased to be showcasing their inspiring work to help raise awareness of this important art form,” says Rupert Duchesne, President and CEO, Groupe Aeroplan Inc.

"The Mexico Tourism Board is excited to be a Supporting Sponsor of the Grange Prize. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase the best of Mexico not just as a tourist destination but as a hub for cultural activity," says Alfonso Sumano, Mexico Tourism Board Regional Director for Canada.

In addition to the prize, each candidate will participate in a residency at a local arts institution. International candidates for the award will be hosted by the AGO, while Canadian nominees will travel to Mexico. During their residencies the artists will explore a wide range of themes including Canada’s First Nations, Mexican immigration to Canada, uninhabited spaces and historic natural environments.

Last year, the inaugural Grange Prize was presented to Winnipeg artist Sarah Anne Johnson whose work will be featured in a solo exhibition at the AGO later this year.

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