Artist Talk: Scotiabank Photography Award Winner Dana Claxton


Dana Claxton, Cultural Belongings, 2015, LED firebox with transmounted lightjet duratrans. Courtesy of the artist. Collection of Eira Thomas

Artist Talk
Scotiabank Photography Award: Dana Claxton

Presented by the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC)
Online via Zoom
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
7 pm ET

Winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Photography Award, artist Dana Claxton’s art investigates Indigenous beauty, contemporary culture, and spirituality. In this online talk, Claxton will discuss her critically acclaimed practice and delve into the works on display in this season’s Scotiabank Photography Award exhibition, which will offer a wide-ranging exploration of her birthplace, the Great Plains, Saskatchewan, as well as her studio work in Vancouver. Claxton is a Professor and Head of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at the University of British Columbia and her family reserve is Wood Mountain Lakota First Nations. Register now.

Dana Claxton (Hunkpapa Lakota/Canadian, b. 1959) works in photography, video, and performance art to explore Indigenous history and culture. She has exhibited internationally at the Museum of Modern Art (New York, United States), the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (Sydney). Her work is held in numerous Canadian collections, including the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa) and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. She was awarded the 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Scotiabank Photography Award
The Award is the largest annual peer-reviewed celebration of excellence in Canadian contemporary photography, intended to raise the international profile of established Canadian photographic artists. The Scotiabank Photography Award winner exhibition is a featured primary exhibition curated by Gaëlle Morel at the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The winner also receives a $50,000 cash prize and a book of their work published and distributed worldwide by Steidl of Germany. The Ryerson Image Centre has hosted the Scotiabank Photography Award exhibition since 2013.


Dana Claxton, Cabri Lake 1, 1995 (printed 2021), chromogenic print. Courtesy of the artist


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Scotiabank Photography Award: Dana Claxton
September 15–December 4, 2021

Drawing from Indigenous history, contemporary culture, and spirituality, this exhibition celebrates the career of Vancouver-based artist Dana Claxton, winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Photography Award. A Hunkpapa Lakota photographer and filmmaker, Claxton examines stereotypes and representations of Indigenous peoples in popular culture. This selection of artworks confronts issues of colonialist appropriation and commodification through an wide-ranging exploration of the artist’s family and community in the Great Plains, Saskatchewan.

Susan Dobson: Slide | Lecture
September 15–December 4, 2021

In Slide | Lecture, Guelph-based photographer Susan Dobson reconsiders the materiality, physicality, and meaning of abandoned university slide libraries. Her precisely composed images of these outdated photographic transparencies, originally made to be projected in art history lectures, expose the canonical biases of traditional visual culture—dominated by Western male artists, while marginalizing or excluding art by those outside the establishment. Slide | Lecture gleans revelations about outdated views from these obsolete materials, hinting a way forward toward more diverse and inclusive representations.

Emmanuelle LĂ©onard: Deployment
September 15–December 4, 2021

Montreal-based artist Emmanuelle Léonard captured the complex realities of Canada’s strategic military imperatives in the Far North during a 2018 residency. Deployment, a two-channel video accompanied by photographic portraits, focuses on the passage of time experienced by soldiers posted to the Canadian Arctic, showing everyday moments against an infinite backdrop of snow and northern night—a place where the climate crisis has intensified the national, political, and economic stakes.

Rana Nazzal Hamadeh: 1/1000th of a Dunam
September 15–October 23, 2021

This multimedia exhibition explores Palestinian assertions of belonging through soil. Displaced peoples often collect and cherish soils from their place of origin; here, soil collected in Palestine takes on new meaning and form as it travels from one occupied place to another. Examining the multidimensional significance of land under settler-colonialism, this virtual recreation is acknowledged as incomplete.


Noontime Collection Talk with Steven Evans: Francis Bedford Research Collection
Thursday, September 30, 12 pm

Artist Talk with Susan Dobson
Wednesday, November 3, 7 pm

Artist Talk with Rana Nazzal Hamadeh
Wednesday, October 20, 1 pm

Please visit for full details.

Ryerson Image Centre
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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