Vancouver-based Indigenous artist Raymond Boisjoly (b. 1981) is one on a shortlist of four artists nominated for the AIMIA/AGO Photography Prize this year. The prize is valued at $50,000 and the winner is decided by public vote on the AGO website or in person at the gallery. The four nominees participated in an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario which opened on September 6th. In 2016, Boisjoly received the VIVA Award and was also shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award.
Boisjoly was the first artist to participate in CAG’s residency program at Burrard Marina Field House in 2013. During his six-month stay, Boisjoly used the field house as a studio space and as a site for community engaging projects. One such event was a talk and discussion with Nathan Crompton, co-editor of The Mainlander, on the (now more than) 100 year history of colonial displacement of the Kitsilano Reserve that once existed on the very land the Field House now occupies under the Burrard Street Bridge.
Alongside his residency, Boisjoly created two new works for his first solo exhibition in a public gallery, taking over the façade of CAG and our off-site location at Yaletown-Roundhouse station. The two interrelated public works, As It Comes, brought together language from three North American First Nations autobiographies: Black Elk Speaks, Yellow Wolf His Own Story and During My Time by Florence Edenshaw Davidson, Boisjoly’s great-grandmother. Examining the authors’ use of the subtexts of language, of describing objects without being explicitly descriptive, Boisjoly posited with self-reflexivity on the origins of biography, history and conceptions of the self.
Boisjoly’s practice continues to interrogate representations of Aboriginality, with particular focus on his own Haida and Québécois heritage. He engages with a variety of material and text-based practices, combining pop culture, contemporary craft motifs and street art with various cultural signifiers of traditional Northwest Coast imagery. He currently works as an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studio in the Department of Visual Art and Material Practice at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and is represented by Catriona Jeffries in Vancouver.
Voting for the AIMIA/AGO Photography Prize closes on November 5th, 2017 at 11:59pm.