2018 Nominees

The 2018 Scotiabank Photography Award Nominees represent the result of an annual Canada-wide search for excellence. The Scotiabank Photography Award is peer-reviewed at every stage of the nomination and adjudication process and nominees must meet eligibility criteria.


Moyra Davey

Over the past three decades, Moyra Davey (b. 1958 Toronto, Canada) has built an extraordinary and increasingly influential body of work comprised of photographs, writings, and video. As opposed to a current predilection for large-scale, digitally manipulated photographs, her seemingly modest works reclaim a practice of photography grown out of contingency and accident. Her camera often turns towards the unseen or the overlooked, as her subjects include dust, books, records, coins, empty whiskey bottles, coffee cups, gravestones, and people writing on the subway. Her practice presents a wide-ranging model of engagement with the world: a reflection on possibilities of producing and consuming, on writing and reading, on novelty and obsolescence, and on the future of images amidst an economy of profuse reproduction. Davey exhibited throughout the 1990s with Colin de Land’s gallery American Fine Arts Co., and from 2005-2008, she was a partner in the influential gallery Orchard. In 2008, Davey was the subject of a major survey at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, which coincided with the publication of Long Life Cool White, a monograph of her photographs and writings on photography. A survey of her work was on view the summer 2010 at the Kunsthalle Basel; this was her first solo exhibition in Europe, and marked the publication of an extensive catalogue on her work, with essays by George Baker, Bill Horrigan, Eric Rosenberg, and Chris Kraus.

In 2016, Davey will have a survey exhibition at the Bergen Kunsthall. Burn the Diaries, Davey’s solo exhibition of new work, was first exhibited at MUMOK, Vienna, and later on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia through December 2014. The exhibition was accompanied by a new publication. In April 2014, the Camden Arts Centre, London, mounted a large-scale survey exhibition of Davey’s work. In 2013, she had had solo exhibitions at the Tate Liverpool and Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver. Davey’s work was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and in the 2012 São Paulo Biennial. Her work is currently on view in Photo Poetics: An Anthology, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and has been included in recent group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, the Art Institute of Chicago, the CCS Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago amongst others.

Important exemplars of Davey’s works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the National Galley of Art, Washington, DC; and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.


Greg Staats

Greg Staats (Kanien'kehá:ka [Mohawk]) was born in 1963 in Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Ontario, and has lived and worked in Toronto since 1986, pursuing lens-based photography, video installation/performance, and sculpture. He received a degree in Applied Photography from Sheridan College, Toronto in 1983.

Since 1989, he has exhibited widely in solo exhibitions throughout Canada: including, amongst others, Native Canadian Centre (Toronto, 1989); the Walter Philips Gallery (Banff, 1995); Museum of Civilization (Hull, 1999); Mercer Union (Toronto, 2000); the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (Ottawa, 2000); the Museum London (London, 2000); the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto, 2002); Galerie Séquence, Chicoutimi / Gallery TPW, Toronto / Galerie 101, Ottawa (2003); Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Gallery (2007); Urban Shaman (Winnipeg, 2009); McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton, 2011); Woodland Cultural Centre (Brantford, 2012); Images Festival/Trinity Square Video (Toronto, 2013); Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, 2015); Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (Brandon, 2015); Woodstock Art Gallery (2016); Tom Thomson Art Gallery (Owen Sound, 1997 and 2016).

His work is in public collections across Canada, including, amongst others, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; Art Gallery of Hamilton; McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton; McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg; Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg; Indian Art Collection, Department of Indian & Northern Affairs, Hull, Québec.

He has participated in many residencies from 2008 – 2017 at the Banff Centre for the Arts, as well as at the Art Gallery of York University, Trinity Square Video, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

In 1999 he was the recipient of the Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography. 


Stephen Waddell

Stephen Waddell was born and raised in Vancouver and began his career as an artist in the early nineties. Waddell moved to Berlin, Germany from New York in 1997 and worked there steadily for a decade. His work, which started as painting, stamped a path towards a documentary approach to photography through filmmaking and other informal means. In Berlin Waddell was not satisfied just being a witness to the tumultuous unfolding of that city’s remaking. The daily practice of photography would suit Waddell’s need to depict the emergent and ambiguous beauty Berlin had to offer. Since 2008 Waddell has lived and worked in Vancouver and has taught since 2010 at Emily Carr University. He has published three books since 2008 in Germany and Vancouver. In 2015 Waddell began making the photographs for Dark Matter Atlas in Lebanon, Canada and the United States. This exhibition was comprised of 35 large-scale darkroom photographs shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2016 some of which are perhaps the largest traditional optical black and white photographs ever made. Waddell is currently working on a new body of colour photographs that attempt to depict the real and the fictive with a working title "The Human Abstract".


Rosalie Favell

Rosalie Favell is a photo-based artist, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Drawing inspiration from her family history and Métis (Cree/English) heritage, she uses a variety of sources, from family albums to popular culture, to present a complex self-portrait of her experiences as a contemporary aboriginal woman. To date Rosalie’s work has explored the relation of photography to issues of identity. A major body of recent work, Facing the Camera (2008-ongoing), is a large document of Aboriginal artists (450+). Favell has received enormous support from her fellow Aboriginal artists for her project, photographing them in different cities to give as much representation of her community as possible. During her residency in Australia in 2016, she met renowned Aboriginal artist Maree Clarke. This key encouter inspired her to initiate a new project Wrapped in Culture which brought together10 Indigenous artists from Australia and Canada. Collaboratively the artists created a contemporary version of a possum skin cloak and a buffalo robe, drawing from culturally distinct yet similar artistic traditions that historically have sacred and practical uses.

Over the course of her long career, Favell’s work has appeared in exhibitions in Canada, the US, Edinburgh, Scotland, Paris, France,Taipei, Taiwan and Melbourne, Australia. Numerous institutions have acquired her artwork including: National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (Ottawa), Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.), and Global Affairs, Canada. She has received numerous grants, and won prestigious awards such as the Chalmers Fellowship, the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunten Award, the Karsh Award. A graduate of Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, Rosalie holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico and a PhD (ABD) from Carleton University in Cultural Mediations. In Ottawa Rosalie has taught at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and Discovery University. 


Pascal Grandmaison

Since his debut in the mid-1990s, visual artist Pascal Grandmaison has continuously worked on photography and video exhibitions and other artistic projects across the world.

Pascal Grandmaison’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain, the Carleton University Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Jessica Bradley Art + Projects (Toronto), Galerie René Blouin (Montréal), Galerie Séquence (Chicoutimi), the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Galerie B-312 and Espace Vox (Montréal), Galerie BF 15 and Galerie Georges Verney-Carron (Lyon, France).

Pascal Grandmaison has also participated in several collaborative exhibitions, with work being shown at art spaces such as the Musée de l’ancien Collège des Jésuites (Reims, France), the Canadian Cultural Centre (Paris, France), Existentie (Ghent, Belgium), the Centre d’art contemporain (Meymac, France), the Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw, Poland), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Jack Shainman Gallery (New York), the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (Québec), the 2005 International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Prague (Czech Republic), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto), the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University (Montréal) and the Edmonton Art Gallery (touring exhibition).

Since 2000, his video pieces have been shown at several festivals and biennales in countries across the globe, including Italy, Switzerland, England, Germany, Portugal, the United States and Canada. 

Thaddeus Holownia

Thaddeus Holownia

Thaddeus Holownia is a visual artist, teacher, letterpress printer, and publisher. Holownia was born in England in 1949 and immigrated to Canada in 1954. He grew up in a Polish home blessed with original art and a modest library of art books. His mother was a weaver, and his father an engineer who made photographs and painted. Family trips to galleries and museums across Canada and the US imbued Holownia with an early appreciation of art, architecture, and the natural world. A catalyst moment was the gift of a 35 mm rangefinder camera, from his uncle Joe Skarzenski, in 1968. Encounters in Toronto in the 1970s, with Canadian designer Allan Fleming, with Stan Bevington at the Coach House Press, and with A Space Gallery, as well as Holownia’s association with the Toronto artist collective the Order of the Broom, were formative in the development of his artistic interests.

Holownia completed a BA in Communication and Fine Arts at the University of Windsor in 1972. Currently, he is a professor and head of the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Holownia’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, including The Nature of Nature : The Photographs of Thaddeus Holownia, 1976-2016; Thaddeus Holownia: The Terra Nova Suite, a twenty-five year survey of his work in Newfoundland and Labrador, at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in St. John’s, Newfoundland. His 1998 mid-career retrospective exhibition, Extended Vision: The Photography of Thaddeus Holownia 1978–1997, organized by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, travelled across Canada and to the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City. His photographs have been included in numerous group exhibitions, including Monet’s Legacy: Series—Order and Obsession at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany, and Car Culture at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, New York.

Holownia is a Fulbright Fellow and an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. He has twice received the Paul Paré Medal from Mount Allison University in recognition of excellence in teaching, creative activity, research, and community service. Recent awards include the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for High Achievement in the Visual Arts from artsnb, and the Order of New Brunswick.


Sarah Anne Johnson

Sarah Anne Johnson lives and works in Winnipeg where she was born in 1976. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba and completed her Graduate studies at the Yale School of Art in 2004. She is a photo-based artist who uses a variety of media in realizing her work. Her graduating exhibition, "Tree Planting" consisting of 64 colour photographs of various sizes depicting her experiences tree planting in Northern Manitoba, was purchased by The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum for their permanent collection. Upon graduating from her Master’s program, she was awarded the Schickle-Collingwood Prize from the Yale School of Art to fund the research for her next project, "the Galapagos Project". In the 14 years which followed she created five more bodies of work and all of them have been exhibited broadly.

Ms. Johnson has been the recipient of many awards and grants, including the inaugural Grange Prize (now the AMIA Prize) and a Canada Council Major Grant in 2008. She was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2011 and 2015. She has participated in several residencies including The Arctic Circle Residency in Norway, the Artist in Residence at Emily Carr University and the Banff Centre where she was a residency leader. She taught photography at Yale School of Art, at Emily Carr University and recently, for two years at the Yale School of Art Norfolk Summer School. She also taught sculpture at the University Manitoba. She has received a number of commissions including: Hermes, Louis Vuitton, the BMO Project Room, the MoCCA Benefit Auction, and a 144-foot-long photography mural for the Weston Harbour Castle Convention Centre, commissioned by CONTACT Photography Festival and Partners-in-Art.

In September 2018 her work will be included in a group exhibition at the Met Breuer (her third time showing at the Met in less than two years). She will also be exhibiting a performance piece at Arsenal Contemporary and will have an exhibition of new work at Julie Saul Gallery, both in New York.

Shelagh Keeley

Shelagh Keeley

Shelagh Keeley was born in Oakville, Ontario and graduated from York University with an Honours BFA in Visual Arts. She now lives and works in Toronto after living 22 years in New York City and Paris. At the core of her work is a practice that is based on a corporeal embodied response to readings and research in poetry, politics, film and architecture. Throughout her international career of 40 years, her practice has been focused on a body of photography made in an expanded field, working beyond the studio, creating onsite ephemeral wall installations. Her photographic installations and films privilege slowness, an intuitive and conceptual practice involving body history and instinctive intelligence. They address pertinent issues of representation, gender, colonial histories and hidden structures of power. In her films, photographs and installations she juxtaposes photographic realities combining past and present, the real and the ideal, to illicit glaring cultural and historical tensions. She explores architecture and the human body as traces of social history, sites of memory and witnesses to operations of power. In the site-specific installations she is mapping one space / time and placing it in another, reclaiming space.

In 2013 Keeley was commissioned by the Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany to create a wall installation for the exhibition In Order to Join / the political in a historical moment. The group show included Adrian Piper, Mona Hatoum, Ana Mendieta, Rosemarie Trockel and others. This installation was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada and is currently showing at the 2017 Canadian Biennial in Ottawa. The exhibition travelled to the Max Mueller Bhavan in Mumbai in 2015 where she exhibited her Barcelona Pavilion photographs (collection of RIC / Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto) and a Las Vegas super 8 film, both made in 1986.

Keeley recent projects have been presented by MoMA Library and Archives, New York (2015); Vancouver Art Gallery (2015); Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto (2015) and a commissioned media projection for Ryerson Image Center, Toronto (2013). Keeley has also been part of a large number of international group shows including: The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding at Museu Colecao Berardo, Lisbon (2016) and The Power Plant, Toronto (2015); In Order to Join – The Political in a Historical Moment at Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach, Germany (2013) and Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai, India (2015). In 2013 Keeley created a collaborative book project with refugee children entitled Desire to Join and published by Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach, Germany (2013).

Her work is in many public collections and international museums: MoMA, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Les Musées de la Ville de Paris; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Victoria and Albert Museum, London ; National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Bibliotheques Nationale de France, Paris; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Getty Museum, Santa Monica; Harvard Art Museums, Boston; The Library of Congress, Washington; Stadtisches Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach, Germany and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

David McMillan

David McMillan

In 1951, David McMillan and his parents emigrated from Scotland to the United States, where he received all his formal education. Trained as a painter (MFA, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1973), he briefly taught painting and drawing before realizing his sensibility was more aligned with photography. A year out of graduate school he began teaching photography and its history at the University of Manitoba, where he continues to serve as a senior scholar.

In the late 70s, he began exhibiting colour photographs exclusively. His interests evolved from a formal concern with colour and space to the depiction of the often-uneasy relationship between nature and culture. In 1994, this led him to visit the guarded zone surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which had been evacuated on account of the enormous amount of radiation released in the 1986 accident. Within this circumscribed area, several "themes" emerged, including the existential threat posed by technology and the transience of culture made manifest by the abundance of gradually vanishing Soviet-era artifacts.

The initial 1994 visit having proven productive, McMillan returned the following year, thereby establishing a yearly pattern that continues to this day. As McMillan explained: "When I first ventured to Chernobyl in 1994, the experience was thrilling and totally absorbing. I felt I had found a subject both inexhaustible and consequential. I wanted to make photographs describing something I hadn’t seen before, which had the potential to be simultaneously beautiful and unsettling." One of the unanticipated outcomes of this lengthy involvement has been the opportunity to witness the surprising proliferation of the natural world coinciding with the vanishing traces of civilization.

Attesting to McMillan’s growing prominence as a photo-based artist is an impressive résumé featuring thirty solo exhibitions since 1980 and some sixty selected publications, including catalogs for such major surveys as Photography in Canada 1960–2000 (National Gallery of Canada, 2017) and Camera Atomica (Art Gallery of Ontario, 2015). His work has been featured internationally with showings in Hong Kong, Yugoslavia, Iceland, Finland, Israel, Australia, China, Germany, and the USA.

Dawit L. Petros

Dawit L. Petros

Dawit L. Petros is a visual artist, researcher and educator. He completed an MFA in Visual Art as a Fulbright Fellow at Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; a BFA in Photography at Concordia University, Montreal; a BA in History at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum in New York City.

His research analyses the boundaries and limits of geography, cultural knowledge, power and subjectivity. Throughout the past decade, he has located these efforts within a critical re-reading of the entanglements between colonialism and modernity. These concerns derive from lived experiences: Petros is the child of Eritrean emigrants, and spent formative years in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Kenya before settling in central Canada. The overlapping cultures, voices, and tenets of this postcolonial constellation produced a dispersed consciousness, global and transnational in stance and outlook. His works aim for an introspective and textured analysis of the historical factors that produced these migratory conditions.

Investigating these experiences of African displacement and diaspora has demanded the development of an expansive notion of the image and flexible modes of approach. Petros installs photographs, moving images, sculptural objects, and sound work according to performative, painterly, or site responsive logics. Moving between the works echoes the extensive travel taken to produce them; while recurrent visual or formal devices quietly indicate the complex backdrops of history against which his projects are set. While the diasporic condition is a powerful diagnostic tools in his work; Petros is always searching for ways to represent its complex effects without reinscribing ideologies of ‘perpetual crisis’. He has been witness to deeply complex, contradictory experiences of displacement, and his aesthetic constructions fragment the viewer’s space, time of perception, and selfpositioning. His works build spaces in which discontinuity is proposed as a shared political experience.

Petros recently completed a 13-month road journey from West Africa to Southern Europe. The project conducted symposiums, interventions, workshops and public presentations in fifteen countries and more than fourty cities. His current project The Stranger’s Notebook, links these activities and travels into an evolving suite of works.

Petros’ has participated in national and international exhibitions in solo and group exhibitions. Recent venues include Bamako Biennale, Bamako, Mali; Dakar Biennale, Dakar, Senegal; Prospect.4, New Orleans, LA; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON; Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, Netherlands; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC; The National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; The Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, ON; and the Lianzhou International Photo Festival, China.

His work is held in public and private collections including: The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON; The Center For Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; The University of Toronto Art Museum, Toronto, ON; The Saskatchewan Arts Council, Regina, SK; Wedge Curatorial Project, Toronto, ON and The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany.

Althea Thauberger

Althea Thauberger

Through photography, film, video and performance, Althea Thauberger's art practice is primarily concerned with the collaborative possibilities of the social documentary form. Her recent projects involve extended engagements with the sites of their production in order to trace broader social and ideological histories. These sites include The Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital in Prague, Czech Republic; the former Rikard Benčić Factory in Rijeka, Croatia; the image holdings of the former National Film Board Still Image Division, now at the National Gallery of Canada; and the Capri Cinema in Saddar, Karachi, Pakistan. Based in Vancouver, Thauberger has also produced numerous works exploring the city and surrounding region’s communities and histories.

Over the course of her career, Thauberger has often worked with the panoramic form and immersive photographic murals. Featuring tightly structured relations between figures and ground, these images and installations explore particular ways that lens-based media articulates theatricality, the presentation of self, and construction of narrative.

Solo exhibitions of Thauberger’s work have been held at Audain Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (2014); The Power Plant, Toronto (2012); Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (2008); BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, The Netherlands (2007); Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2006); Berkeley Art Museum, University of California (2005); and White Columns, New York (2004).

Her work has garnered international attention, with presentations and commissions at the inaugural Karachi Biennale (2017); Liverpool Biennial (2012); 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010); Manifesta 7, Trento (2008); Guangzhou Triennale (2008), and inSITE 05, Tijuana/San Diego. Thauberger’s work is held in numerous public collections, including at the National Gallery of Canada, Remai Modern, Vancouver Art Gallery, Mackenzie Art Gallery, and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. She has been recognized with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Victoria (2017); The Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography from The Canada Council for the Arts (2013); and a VIVA Award from the Doris and Jack Shadbolt Foundation & Vancouver Art Gallery (2010).