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This article was published 25/10/2019 (541 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg-based artist is the recipient of the top honour of the third biennial Salt Spring National Art Prize.
Luther Konadu was awarded the Salt Spring prize on Oct. 19 for his work Figure as Index, a series of photographed portraits that illustrate the power images have when it comes to the way we see and think about a person, even if it’s someone we’ve never met in real life.
"I’m always interested in making images that speak to their own making, as opposed to something that represents the realities of the people I photograph," Konadu wrote in an email to the Free Press.
"Especially in a time where we are surrounded by so many images of people everywhere we turn, how does that affect the way we see others when we step into our tangible lived-in world? I’m ultimately interested in revealing the inherent artifice in image construction."
The Salt Spring Prize includes $15,000 cash and an additional $5,000 artist residency on Salt Spring Island, B.C., and is handed out to those whose practice "demonstrates originality, quality, integrity and creativity, resulting in significant work with visual impact and depth of meaning," says a news release about the award.
The win was a total surprise for Konadu, 28, who said he was "sincerely caught off guard," when he learned his work had been chosen from among 1,200 intitial submissions and 52 finalists.
"Especially given the sheer variety of other great works that could’ve been chosen, I just didn’t even consider myself in the running for the title award," he wrote.
Konadu was born and grew up in Ontario, and spent time in Ghana before moving to Winnipeg five years ago. He recently graduated from the mixed disciplinary program at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba, and used the resources there, both literal equipment and working relationships he had built, to create Figure as Index.
Earlier this year, Konadu also won the 2019 New Generation Photography Award and the BMO 1st Art! Competition; some of his work is currently part of a group exhibition in the National Gallery of Canada. Up next, Konadu is working toward an exhibition in Saskatoon which opens in a few weeks and continues his work in portraiture.
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Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.