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Emerging Artists Shine at 12th Annual BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition

- National winner receives $10,000 and 12 regional winners from across Canada awarded $5,000

- 13 winning works showcased October 2 to October 26, 2014 at Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 29, 2014) - BMO Financial Group today announced the winners of the 12th annual BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition. Honouring visual arts excellence in post-secondary institutions from coast to coast, this competition is part of BMO's continued commitment to and support of emerging artists. The national and 12 regional winners were selected from 272 entries, the highest number submitted since the competition's inception.

The national winner receives $10,000 and regional winners each receive $5,000. As the ultimate accolade, the national winner's artwork becomes part of the BMO Corporate Art Collection, which includes works by historical and contemporary Canadian masters such as Kenojuak Ashevak, Emily Carr, Paterson Ewen, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Lawren Harris, Wanda Koop, Micah Lexier, Kent Monkman, Ian Wallace and many others.

"Congratulations to the winners for their thoughtful and engaging work," said Gilles Ouellette, Group Head, Wealth Management, BMO Financial Group. "We are fully committed to supporting and nurturing these up-and-coming artists and look forward to their continued success."

"Each year, this competition introduces us to artists whose work continues to exemplify the breadth of creativity and talent this country has to offer," said Dawn Cain, Curator, BMO Financial Group, Corporate Art Collection. "We are proud to present and celebrate their work."

Deans and instructors of undergraduate certificate, diploma, and degree arts programs were invited to select three graduating students who stood out among their peers due to their skill and imagination. A panel of esteemed judges chose an overall national winner and one winner from each eligible province and territory.

The diverse works produced by the 2014 winners cover a range of themes in a variety of media. They include:

  • An evocative photograph created using expired stocks of Polaroid film that explores concepts of material transmutation and the "living image" in a digital age (de Lange, National Winner)
  • An oil on canvas painting portraying the process of re-creating memory through the abstraction of photographic imagery (Osahor, Alberta)
  • An installation created from vinyl stickers, plastic objects, AstroTurf tiles, wooden dowels, and electrical tape arranged and rearranged in search of spatial relationships that were animated, comfortable and playful (Mendoza, Manitoba);
  • A miniature sculpture made of sterling silver, copper wire, metal sheet and dix gold to create a strong powerful tree signifying the preciousness of what they represent (Aitaok, Nunavut);
  • A mechanical sculpture created with tissue paper, fabric, wax, fur, feathers and a small motor which when turned on mimics the movement of moths trying to flee, representing the feeling of being trapped (Koshan, Yukon);

The 2014 BMO 1st Art! 2014 winners are:

National Winner

Samuel de Lange, University of Guelph

Regional Winners

Alberta: Emmanuel Osahor, University of Alberta

British Columbia: Isaac Thomas, Emily Carr University of Art & Design

Manitoba: Katrina Marie Mendoza, University of Manitoba

New Brunswick: Sandra Racíne, New Brunswick College of Craft & Design

Newfoundland & Labrador: Maria Mercer, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Nova Scotia: Adrienna Matzeg, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design

Nunavut: Elijah Aitaok, Nunavut Arctic College

Ontario: Lisa-Marie Bissonnette, OCAD University

Prince Edward Island: Amy Wells, Holland College

Quebec: Stéphanie Auger, Université Laval

Saskatchewan: Brandon Sieber, University of Regina

Yukon Territory: Lucy Koshan, Yukon School of Visual Arts

The winning pieces can be viewed on BMO Financial Group's website here.

Representing the best of Canada's newest generation of artists, all of the BMO 1st Art! winners' works will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), 952 Queen Street West in Toronto from October 2 to Oct 26, 2014.

About BMO Financial Group

For more than 195 years, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves. In 2013, BMO contributed more than $56 million in community donations to charitable, not-for-profit and community based institutions and organizations that help build and sustain resilient, vital and healthy communities.

Click here to download images of this year's award winning works.

For further information:
Media Contacts:
BMO Financial Group
Karen Cleveland, Toronto
(416) 927.6823

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224

To arrange to speak with any of the winners, please contact:
Touchwood PR
(416) 593-0777