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BMO 1st Art! Announces Winners of its 20th Annual Competition
  • One national winner and 11 regional winners named
  • $15,000 awarded to the national winner; $7,500 awarded to each regional winner
  • All selected works to be showcased in the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at The Art Museum, University of Toronto, from October 26 to November 19

TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2022 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group today announced the winners of its 20th annual BMO 1st Art! competition, celebrating outstanding achievements in visual arts among undergraduate students from across Canada. Selected from a record-breaking pool of 345 submissions, each of the 11 regional winners will receive a cash prize of $7,500 with $15,000 awarded to the national winner.

"BMO 1st Art! is a sought-after award and I am honoured to be the first-ever national winner from Yukon. This award has encouraged me to move forward and make more art," said Shizuka Yoshimura, National Winner of BMO 1st Art!  "As an immigrant, the award feels like an acknowledgement of my acceptance into Canadian society. Transient Shine is a special art piece for me as it represents a connection to my hometown and childhood memories of snow falling from the gray sky of Nagaoka."

The annual competition invites deans and instructors from 110 undergraduate art programs across Canada to nominate three students from each of their studio specialties to submit a recent work. A respected panel of jurors selected this year's winning works from a pool of 345 submissions. Competition guidelines allow for time-based media including video, film, audio, and computer technologies, in addition to mediums of drawing, printmaking, photography, painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, textiles, mixed media, and installation works.

After two years of hosting a virtual event BMO 1st Art! will be moving to an in-person show, complemented by online material. The gallery exhibition will take place at the University of Toronto Art Museum, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery. The exhibition will showcase all 12 winning artworks from October 26 to November 19, 2022.

"As we mark the 20th year of BMO 1st Art!, I am inspired by the talented group of artists chosen by our esteemed selection committee," said Cameron Fowler, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer, BMO Financial Group. "BMO is proud to support the next generation of Canadian artists through this best-in-class event, recognizing the progress they're making to grow their portfolios and art careers."

"This year we are delighted to welcome everyone back to the gallery to see these extraordinary works of art," said Dawn Cain, Curator, BMO Art Collection. "Since the first exhibition in 2003, BMO 1st Art has been a showcase of unique projects by exceptional undergraduate students across Canada. The level of talent this competition draws involves some difficult decisions for our judges."

BMO's Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, includes supporting the arts and building up young artists in Canada. As a winner of BMO 1st Arts!, these talented youth get exclusive access to the art community which drives exposure for their work and promotes well deserved recognition.

Full list of 2022 BMO 1st Art! winners:
National Winner
  • Shizuka Yoshimura, Transient Shine, Yukon School of Visual Arts (Yukon)
Regional Winners
  • Kaela Murphy, my hair, University of Lethbridge (Alberta)
  • Ali Cayetano, cope, University of British Columbia (British Columbia)
  • Solange Roy, You Want a Piece of Me?, University of Manitoba, (Manitoba)
  • Oakley Rain Wysote Gray, Nmis (Sister), New Brunswick College of Craft & Design (New Brunswick)
  • Georgia Dawkin, PROFESSIONAL WOMAN: COMING SOON, Memorial University of Newfoundland (Newfoundland & Labrador)
  • Ivan Flores, Mother Giant, NSCAD University (Nova Scotia)
  • Collin Alexander, MLAGEJUO'Q, University of Toronto (Ontario)
  • Chris Bailey, Fisherman's Repose, Holland College (Prince Edward Island)
  • Avery Mikolic-O'Rourke, Center-Point Cycle (45.4704492, -73.6044496), Concordia University (Quebec)
  • Aurora Wolfe, Interruption I, Interruption II, University of Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan)
  • Sabrina Jin, Kink, Yukon School of Visual Arts (Yukon)
The 2021 Selection Committee:
  • Emily Falencki, Artist and Educator
  • Sequoia Miller, Chief Curator, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art
  • Michelle Jacques, Head of Exhibitions and Chief Curator, Remai Modern
  • Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre, Curator of Contemporary Art, Musée d'art de Joliette

To view images of the winning works please visit:

About BMO Financial Group

Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $1.07 trillion as of July 31, 2022, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.


SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: For Media Relations Enquiries: Hannah Webster, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996, Web:, Twitter: @BMOmedia