Angeline Simon of Lethbridge, Alta., is one of 24 Canadian artists nominated for the New Generation Photography Award through the National Gallery of Canada.
She has the chance to win a cash prize and an appearance in two Ontario exhibitions later this year.
Simon graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2018 with a bachelor of fine arts in art studio, which helped her solidify her passion for photography.
“I’ve always been interested in taking photos ever since I (was) a kid,” Simon said.
With roots in Germany, China and Malaysia, Simon finds inspiration in discovering her own backstory.
“Thinking about how a lot of my relatives have passed away, I didn’t really know them that well due to the distance of living across the ocean,” she explained. “Just thinking about loss and absence, and just trying to explore my ancestry.”
The New Generation Photography Award was created in 2017 as a way to support and elevate the careers of young, lens-based artists. It is open to anyone 35 and under.
The National Gallery of Canada contacts art experts across the country to submit nominations for the longlist before three winners are chosen by a team of esteemed Canadian and international photography experts, artists and leaders in the community.
“Kristy Trinier, at the time, was the director at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, and so she approached me while we were (prepping) for the exhibition that I have there at the SAAG right now,” Simon said. “It’s all thanks to her, really.”
Simon is one of two Alberta-based artists selected for the longlist, along with Britney Bear Hat from Calgary.
The remaining artists reside in the Yukon, British Columbia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.
Simon said the news of her selection is motivating her to keep making art, even when she doesn’t feel her best during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m really flattered, honoured and excited,” she said.
The winners receive a $10,000 prize and the opportunity to participate in group exhibitions in Toronto during the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa in the fall of 2021.
“That would be amazing, just to have the exposure and get my name out there more,” Simon said.
If selected, Simon said she would put the $10,000 toward improving her practice.
“I want to start printing on higher-quality paper — that stuff really adds up — and just better framing,” she said.
“If there (were) enough funds, I would love to just travel back to Malaysia and collect more and just (do) more of a research project and see where I can go with that.”
Last year’s winners were Noah Friebel of Vancouver, Curtiss Randolph of Toronto and Katherine Takpannie of Ottawa.
This year’s winners will be selected on March 23.