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School of Art student, Gabriel Roberts, named the Manitoba winner of the 2020 BMO 1st Art! competition.

September 25, 2020 — 

Congratulations to Gabriel Roberts, named the Manitoba winner of the 2020 BMO 1st Art! competition. Roberts was selected based on his work A Closet Painted Blue, a multimedia installation work that explores his own sexuality within the confines of a closeted relationship. Roberts is continuing additional studies at UofM this fall and it set to graduate from SOA next summer⁣

Of his work, Roberts writes:⁣

“I am a proud openly gay artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is important to create art that affirms my sexual orientation. A Closet Painted Blue is a wall of cyanotypes that features me in provocative positions, exposed on denim, linen, paper, and cushions. However, even though I may be open, I work within the constraints of my closeted model and their apprehension. My work is a testament to art that is reflective and personal, allowing me to be meditative, to be vulnerable and to be honest while exploring the consequences of a closeted relationship and the prevalent fear of coming out.”⁣

Gabriel Roberts’s artwork A Closet Painted Blue is available to view in the first-ever virtual BMO 1st Art! exhibition from Sept. 15 to Oct. 16 at⁣


Shown:⁣ A Closet Painted Blue⁣, Cyanotype on paper, linen, denim, cushions, leather, digital prints, chair 254 x 254 x 40.6 cm 100 x 100 x 16 in overall ⁣

BMO 1st Art! celebrates the creativity of art school students from over 100 post-secondary institutions across Canada. Every year BMO Financial Group invites the deans and instructors of undergraduate-level certificate, diploma, or degree programmes in studio art to select from their graduating classes three students whose ability and imagination place them 1st among their peers.⁣

Each promising student is asked to complete submission materials and send digital images of a recent work to BMO Financial Group’s Art Collection Unit by the submission deadline. Our distinguished selection committee reviews the submissions and chooses one winner from every province and territory to be 1st in their region. A national winner is also chosen. The national winner is awarded $15,000 and each regional winner receives $7,500.⁣

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety of its artists and patrons, BMO 1st Art! is taking its annual gallery exhibition virtual. Hosted by the Art Museum at the Uni

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