March 23, 2009 06:41 ET

Cutting-edge Photographers From Canada and Mexico Compete for $50,000 Grange Prize

    TORONTO and MONTREAL, March 23  - Aeroplan and the Art
Gallery of Ontario have selected four remarkable photographers from Canada and
Mexico as their candidates for the 2009 Grange Prize. Starting today, the
public can visit to vote for the artist they think
should win the $50,000 prize: Marco Antonio Cruz from Mexico City, Lynne Cohen
from Montreal, Federico Gama from Mexico City or Jin-me Yoon from Vancouver.
    Now in its second year, The Grange Prize is a partnership between
Aeroplan and the AGO that recognizes the best in Canadian and international
contemporary photography. A joint curatorial panel of experts selects the
candidates from Canada and one other country. The committee has chosen Mexico
to participate in the 2009 competition. The $50,000 award is the largest of
its kind in Canada, and is the only one selected entirely by the public.
    This year, for the first time, the AGO will host a special exhibition of
works by all the selected candidates from April 1 to June 26, while the Centro
de la Imagen in Mexico City will host its own exhibition between April 8 and
May 24. A more comprehensive selection of works from each nominated artist can
also be viewed at Members of the public can vote
onsite at the exhibitions or online from now until May 20. The winner will be
announced at a special ceremony at the AGO on May 26, 2009.
    "The AGO is a strong advocate for the diverse and innovative
photographers working today and The Grange Prize is a perfect example of this
commitment," says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO's Michael and Sonja Koerner
Director, and CEO. "This prize gives up-and-coming photographers a stage to
share their art with the world."
    "Aeroplan is thrilled to be presenting the Grange Prize with the AGO for
a second year. The Mexican and Canadian artists who have been shortlisted are
a talented group and we are pleased to be showcasing their inspiring work to
help raise awareness of this important art form," says Rupert Duchesne,
President and CEO, Groupe Aeroplan Inc.
    "The Mexico Tourism Board is excited to be a Supporting Sponsor of the
Grange Prize. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase the best of
Mexico not just as a tourist destination but as a hub for cultural activity,"
says Alfonso Sumano, Mexico Tourism Board Regional Director for Canada.
    In addition to the prize, each candidate will participate in a residency
at a local arts institution. International candidates for the award will be
hosted by the AGO, while Canadian nominees will travel to Mexico. During their
residencies the artists will explore a wide range of themes including Canada's
First Nations, Mexican immigration to Canada, uninhabited spaces and historic
natural environments.
    Last year, the inaugural Grange Prize was presented to Winnipeg artist
Sarah Anne Johnson whose work will be featured in a solo exhibition at the AGO
later this year.
    The Mexico Tourism Board is a supporting sponsor of the Grange Prize
along with media sponsors The Globe and Mail and Bravo Television.

    About Aeroplan

    Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, Aeroplan, Canada's premier
loyalty program, is owned by Groupe Aeroplan Inc., a leading international
loyalty management corporation.
    Aeroplan is a long-standing patron of the Arts, with a history of
supporting artists and arts initiatives across Canada. Of particular
significance is the company's work, in partnership with the Art Gallery of
Ontario, to develop The Grange Prize for contemporary photography. Aeroplan is
committed to fostering a long-term, international dialogue about this
important art form. Aeroplan has also joined the AGO in a three-year
partnership as the Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program,
supporting planned AGO activities to engage visitors with photography,
including special lectures and tours.
    For more information about Aeroplan, please visit

    About the AGO

    With a permanent collection of more than 73,000 works of art, the Art
Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North
America. The Gallery began an extraordinary chapter when it launched
Transformation AGO in 2002. Multi-faceted in scope, Transformation AGO
involved the unprecedented growth of the permanent collection, an innovative
architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, and the
strengthening of the museum's endowment resources. As the imaginative centre
of the city, the transformed AGO dramatically enriches our visitors'
experiences and provides greater access to the full vibrancy of the art
    For more information visit

    The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of
Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the
AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada
Council for the Arts.

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