Montreal’s Deanna Bowen, seen in an undated handout photo, has won the $50,000 annual Scotiabank Photography Award. Award organizers say Bowen’s family history has been a central part of her work since the early 1990s. She’s descended from Alabama and Kentucky-born Black Prairie pioneer families from the central Alberta communities of Amber Valley and Campsie. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Courtesy of the artist

Montreal’s Deanna Bowen, seen in an undated handout photo, has won the $50,000 annual Scotiabank Photography Award. Award organizers say Bowen’s family history has been a central part of her work since the early 1990s. She’s descended from Alabama and Kentucky-born Black Prairie pioneer families from the central Alberta communities of Amber Valley and Campsie. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Courtesy of the artist

Montreal’s Deanna Bowen wins $50,000 Scotiabank Photography Award

Bowen to receive solo exhibition at 2022 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival

TORONTO — Montreal’s Deanna Bowen has won the $50,000 annual Scotiabank Photography Award.

The honour recognizes established artists and is billed as the country’s largest photography prize.

Award organizers say Bowen’s family history has been a central part of her work since the early 1990s. She’s descended from Alabama and Kentucky-born Black Prairie pioneer families from the central Alberta communities of Amber Valley and Campsie.

In recent years, her work has examined her family’s migrations, the “all-Black” towns of Oklahoma, and the Ku Klux Klan in Canada and the United States.

Bowen will also receive a solo exhibition at the 2022 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, and a published book of her work distributed worldwide by art book publisher Steidl.

Three other finalists each receive $10,000: Annie MacDonell of Toronto; Dawit L. Petros of Montreal; and Greg Staats of Toronto/Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

The award was co-founded by Scotiabank and Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky to help artists reach the next level of national and international recognition.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2021.

Photography