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Canadian and Indian Photographers Compete for The Grange Prize

TORONTO.- Two Canadian and two Indian photographers will have the opportunity to win The Grange Prize, Canada’s largest cash prize for photography and the only major Canadian art prize whose winner is chosen by the public. Each year, The Grange Prize works with an international partner country to honour the best in international contemporary photography. India is the partner country for the 2011 Grange Prize, and presenting partners Aeroplan and the Art Gallery of Ontario will work with the New Delhi-based Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) to organize a Grange Prize exhibition in India later this year.

A nominating jury of Canadian and Indian curatorial experts will meet later this year to determine the shortlist. This year’s jurors are:

Wayne Baerwaldt, director and curator of exhibitions at the Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary. He previously served as the director of Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg and The Power Plant, Toronto.

Michelle Jacques, a curator, writer and educator based in Toronto. She currently holds the position of acting curator of Canadian art at the AGO, where her curatorial projects have included At Work (2010); Sarah Anne Johnson: House on Fire (2009), and the ongoing exhibition series Toronto Now.

Gayatri Sinha, an art critic and curator based in New Delhi. She has curated extensively in India and abroad and has lectured on Indian art internationally, including at the Tate Modern, the Tate Britain, the Japan Foundation, Tokyo and the Asian Art Museum, Singapore.

Sunil Gupta, a photographer, writer and curator who was born in India and lives in New Delhi and London, UK. He is Visiting Professor of Photography at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, a co-editor of Camerawork Delhi and a member of Nigah, a queer collective in New Delhi.

The shortlist will be announced at the AGO on August 30, 2011, the same date that public voting begins and an exhibition of works by the shortlisted artists opens at the Gallery. Members of the public can vote onsite or online to determine the winner, who will be announced on November 2, 2011 at a public celebration hosted at the AGO.

Each of the four shortlisted artists will participate in a ten-day residency: the Canadian nominees will travel to India, and the Indian artists will visit Canada. In addition to the $50,000 awarded to the winner, the three remaining shortlisted artists receive $5,000 each toward the creation of new work, bringing the total amount of cash granted to photographic artists to $65,000.

“The AGO is a strong advocate for innovative and diverse contemporary photographers working both in Canada and abroad, and we’re looking forward to extending our institutional focus on outstanding artwork from India with the 2011 Grange Prize,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO. “We’re pleased to once again partner with Aeroplan to foster this essential cultural exchange and showcase the work of four fine artists.”

”We’re very proud to work with the AGO on The Grange Prize to help promote photography across the world,” said Vince Timpano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aeroplan Canada. “Now in its fourth year, The Grange Prize was developed to recognize the best in Canadian and international contemporary photography and I think the public will be very inspired by the incredible work from this year’s selected artists.”

Aeroplan and the AGO will work with FICA to mount a concurrent exhibition of works by the shortlisted artists in India during the voting period. “FICA is delighted to be collaborating with the prestigious Grange Prize,” says Roshini Vadehra, director of the Vadehra Art Gallery and the head of fundraising at FICA. “This will be a unique and great opportunity for Indian photographers to dialogue with photographers in Canada, and have their work viewed by a huge, new audience.”

The Grange Prize, now in its fourth year, was awarded to Canadian artist Kristan Horton in 2010, when the partner country was the U.S., Mexican photographer Marco Antonio Cruz won in 2009, and Winnipeg-based artist Sarah Anne Johnson in 2008, when the partner country was China.

The AGO is currently showcasing more than 200 works spanning nearly 300 years of India’s cultural history with its exhibition Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts. The 2011 Grange Prize broadens the AGO’s conversation about Indian art and artists to include artists working today and coincides with The Year of India in Canada, a year-long festival of Indian arts and culture in Canada, designated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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