AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize Exhibition opens September 9, 2015

Four international artists shortlisted for $50,000 prize; Voting begins in person Sept. 9 and online Sept. 15

August 28, 2015 (Toronto, ON) — The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, Canada’s most significant prize for photography, announces the opening of its 2015 exhibition on Sept. 9, 2015 at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Featuring over 35 works by this year’s shortlisted artists — Dave Jordano, Annette Kelm, Owen Kydd and Hito Steyerl — the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2015 Exhibition is curated by lead juror Adelina Vlas, the AGO’s associate curator of contemporary art.

Established in 2007, the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize was the first major art prize to allow the public to choose its winner. The Prize has a total annual value of $130,000 with $50,000 awarded to the winner, $5,000 awarded to each of the other shortlisted artists and $25,000 supporting a national scholarship program for students studying photography at select institutions across Canada. The remainder funds six-week residencies for all four short-listed artists in partnership with cultural institutions across Canada.

Voting for the 2015 winner begins in person at the AGO upon the exhibition’s opening on Sept. 9, 2015 and on the Prize’s website on Sept. 15, 2015, and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2015. Members of the public are invited to vote only once for the artist whose work most appeals to them. The winner, who will be announced at the AGO on Dec. 1, 2015, receives C$50,000. 

Highlights of this year’s exhibition, which can also be viewed online at as of Sept. 15, 2015, include the international debut of new works by Berlin-based Annette Kelm and Canadian Owen Kydd. Germany’s Hito Steyerl will present her multi-media installation How not to be seen (2013). Detroit native Dave Jordano presents excerpts from his documentary photo series Detroit – Unbroken Down (2012). Once inside the exhibition, visitors will have the opportunity to hear statements about each artist from each finalist’s designated advocate before casting their vote. The advocates, new this year to the prize, will help give voice to the artists and introduce their personal perspectives on these individual practices. Advocating on behalf Owen Kydd is fashion designer Jeremy LaingSrimoyee Mitra, curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Windsor will advocate for Hito Steyerl. Acclaimed children's author Kyo Mclear will speak on behalf of Annette Kelm, and American artist and 2013 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize finalist LaToya Ruby Frazier will advocate on behalf of Dave Jordano.  

“This year’s shortlist presents artists whose approaches to photography are very unique,” said Adelina Vlas, the AGO’s associate curator of contemporary art. “Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity not only to see compelling images, but to consider the distinct ways in which leading contemporary artists are producing them using lens-based media. We are very excited to bring these works and these artists to Toronto, and to be widening the prize’s imprint through the introduction of advocates.”

A jury of three experts selected the four finalists from a long list of 27 artists who each showed extraordinary potential. Headed by Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Ontario, the jury included Deputy Director and Senior Curator of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto João Ribas and acclaimed Paris-based artist Mohamed Bourouissa.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, the AGO is hosting a panel discussion on Sept. 9, 2015 featuring all four shortlisted artists in conversation with exhibition curator Adelina Vlas. Tickets to this event are free, subject to availability and can be booked online at Following the discussion, members of the public are invited to attend a free reception in Walker Court and be amongst the first to cast their vote in the exhibition.

Previous winners of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize include American Lisa Oppenheim (2014), Canada’s Erin Shirreff (2013), Britain’s Jo Longhurst (2012), Gauri Gill of India (2011), Canadian Kristan Horton (2010), Marco Antonio Cruz of Mexico (2009) and Canadian Sarah Anne Johnson (2008).

For updates on the Prize, further details on the shortlisted artists and additional information, please visit and follow @AimiaAGOPrize on Twitter.

View video interviews with the finalists and continue the conversation at


Aimia, a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company, has adopted two fundamental principles of loyalty, trust and reciprocity, as the pillars of its global social purpose — to create mutually beneficial partnerships that leave a lasting impact in our communities. As an enthusiastic patron of the arts, Aimia supports many Canadian and International arts and culture initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. Aimia has supported several Canadian cultural organizations including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Canada Institute, Business for the Arts, Canadian Art Foundation, the National Gallery of Canada, Luminato Festival, the Walrus Foundation and Canada's presentation at the International Art and Architecture Venice Biennale since 2006. Aimia is proud to engage in a dialogue around the arts through the Aimia l AGO Photography Prize and scholarship program, and through their office art installations in Montreal and Toronto. Visit Aimia at to learn more.

With a collection of more than 90,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002, Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more.

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of Aimia, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program and Founding Partner of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


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For media inquiries, images or interview requests please contact:

Rachael Collier,Citizen PR
[email protected] I 416 306 6641

Sabrina Bhangoo, Aimia
[email protected] I 647.329.5123

Caitlin Coull, Art Gallery of Ontario
[email protected] I 416.979.6660 x 364

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