Canadian Architect


Canadian photographer Erin Shirreff wins the prestigious 2013 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize

November 8, 2013
by Canadian Architect

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize has been awarded to Erin Shirreff of Canada. Revealed on the evening of November 7, 2013 at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Shirreff was selected by public vote to receive the $50,000 prize. A record number of votes – more than 25,000 – were cast during the 10-week voting period, which closed on November 5, 2013. Runners-up Edgardo Aragón (Mexico), LaToya Ruby Frazier (United States) and Chino Otsuka (Japan/United Kingdom) each receive a $5,000 stipend dedicated to the research, creation and production of new work. All four artists receive six- to eight-week fully funded residencies across Canada, to commence in early 2014.

Shirreff, who now lives and works in New York City, has gained recognition for her unique interweaving of photography, video and sculpture. Her work raises questions about the often-paradoxical relationship between time and space and the image. Recently, her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC; White Cube in London, UK; and Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ontario. Her work is also in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among others.

Voting began on August 27, 2013, at and on the Prize’s Facebook page. The public also had the opportunity to vote at the AGO inside the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2013 exhibition, on view at the AGO until January 5, 2014. 

The exhibition features two of Shirreff’s long-duration videos, Lake and Moon, both of which extend and explore the act of looking. Constructed from hundreds of individual photographs captured in her studio, these works collapse time and place as they fluctuate between natural and artificial effects, stillness and motion. Lake features an image of the Okanagan Valley, near Shirreff’s hometown of Kelowna, BC.

“There was an incredible amount of talent among this year’s shortlisted artists and we were thrilled to see the enormous response from the public, who voted by the thousands, in record numbers,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Director and CEO of the AGO. “In partnership with Aimia, the prize is truly innovative in its accessibility and broad support of Canadian and international contemporary photography.”

“We offer our sincerest congratulations to Erin Shirreff and all of the shortlisted artists,” said Vince Timpano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canada, Aimia. “Supporting the arts is a key pillar of Aimia’s social purpose, and through our partnership with the AGO, we are honoured to be able to recognize such talented contemporary photography artists here in Canada and around the world.”

Previous winners of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, formerly known as the Grange Prize, include Jo Longhurst of the UK (2012), Gauri Gill of India (2011), Canadian photographer Kristan Horton (2010), Marco Antonio Cruz of Mexico (2009) and Canadian photographer Sarah Anne Johnson (2008). For more information and updates about the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, please visit and follow @AimiaAGOPrize on Twitter.

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is Canada’s leading photography prize and one of the largest arts and culture prize programs in the world. The prize awards more than $85,000 directly to artists working in photography each year, and is comprised of an annual exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, an online exhibition at, international artist residencies, public programming, as well as an extensive national scholarship program.

still from erin shirreff's "moon"
still from erin shirreff's "moon"

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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