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Konadu's work Figure as Index (Triptych)

Luther Konadu's work "Figure as Index (Triptych)"

Artwork by U of M grad earns top BMO prize

August 13, 2019 — 

BMO Financial Group has announced that U of M grad Luther Konadu (BFA/19) is the national winner of its 17th annual BMO 1st Art! competition, recognizing visual arts excellence among undergraduate artists across Canada.

Konadu’s work Figure as Index (Triptych) will be showcased from November 21 to December 16, 2019, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto, following a private exhibition opening on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. He also receives a cash prize of $15,000.

As a testament to the high quality of work being created by U of M students, in addition to Konadu, current U of M art student Marie-France Hollier was also recognized by BMO with a regional award, receiving $7,500.

Konadu says: “It’s been incredibly validating to be recognized by the faculty members in my department alongside Marie-France Hollier. Any word I choose won’t be enough to express what a blessing it is to be recognized at the national level by the jury. I’m eternally grateful for this award and for the support of my friends and advisors who got me here.”

Deans and instructors of 110 undergraduate student art programs were invited to select three graduating students from each of their studio specialties to submit a recent work.

Sarah Ciurysek, associate director of the School of Art graduate program, notes: “The School of Art is thrilled for Luther Konadu and Marie-France Hollier, who have won the national and regional categories of the BMO 1st Art! Competition.  Both Luther and Marie-France make inventive, thought-provoking, and gorgeous artwork that challenges the boundaries of contemporary photography, and this national recognition and financial support are very well-deserved.  Big congratulations to both Luther and Marie-France!”

For the first time in the competition’s history, the 2019 submission guidelines allowed for time-based media including video, film, slide, audio and computer technologies, in addition to the previously accepted mediums of drawing, printmaking, photography, painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, textiles, mixed media, and installation works.

Konadu’s work Figure As Index was described during its exhibition at Latitude53 Gallery in Edmonton as focusing on how: “…objective visual documentation ostensibly formulates public perception, particularly that which surrounds collective identities and historic record in relation to the black body. In his work Konadu observes that history has always been told by its victors, making our understanding of the past limited and one sided. Using the tradition and legacy of documentary photography Konadu creates an alternate past to imagine a different future of self—as it relates to a social communal context.”

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