Sandra Brewster named as a finalist for 2023 Scotiabank Photography Award

By Stephen Weir

Photograph of Sandra Brewster on the University of Toronto Campus, in Scarborough. (Jalani Morgan)

The Toronto Guyanese community is rallying behind Sandra Brewster, one of the three finalists for the 2023 Scotiabank Photography Award, Canada’s largest and most prestigious annual peer-nominated prize for photographic art. Brewster, who was born to Guyanese parents, is known for her work in drawing, video, photo-based works, and installation that explore themes of identity and representation. Her art is in demand by some of the world’s top galleries, and her public sculpture “A Place to Put Your Things” is currently on view at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.

The winner of Canada’s richest photography award – the $60,000 Scotiabank Photography Award Based will not be announced for a month. Photographer Sandra Brewster is one of three shortlisted photographers for the big prize.

Sandra Brewster works in drawing, video, photo-based works, and installation. Her themes focus on identity and representation, and movement in the depiction of gesture resulting in a re-presentation of the portrait. She uses specific landscapes as metaphors, and manipulates old photographs to centre the people within them.

Given her Guyanese connection, series of her work refers to the migration of Caribbean people from the region, suggesting a formation of identity that encompasses multiple geographies and temporalities, a sense of identity that exists within the diaspora.

Her work is in demand by some of the world’s top art galleries. Recent exhibitions include the Musée d’art Rouyn-Noranda, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2018–2022), and many many others. Her public sculpture A Place to Put Your Things is currently on view at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto until the end of spring.

The 2023 shortlisted artists are: Sandra Brewster (Toronto), Chris Curreri, (Toronto), and, British Columbia’s Ken Lum.

In 2010, Scotiabank co-created the Scotiabank Photography Award with famed Canadian photographer, Edward Burtynsky, to strengthen its commitment to the arts and celebrate the creative vision and accomplishments of some of our country’s most gifted lens-based artists.

Thirteen years later, the Award continues to engage Canadians with photographic art and aims to be instrumental in working with the winning artist to assist them in achieving the next level of their artistic career. The winner of the 2023 Scotiabank Photography Award will be announced May 4, 2023. The winner will receive a $50,000 cash prize, a solo exhibition during the 2024 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and a published book of their work distributed worldwide by renowned art book publisher Steidl. Finalists will receive a cash prize of $10,000 each.

The 2022 Scotiabank Photography Award winner, Jin-me Yoon, will have a solo Primary Exhibition at the Toronto Image Centre during the Scotiabank 2023 CONTACT Photography Festival opening May 2023.