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Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Announces 2014 Winner

U.S. Photographer Lisa Oppenheim receives $50,000 prize

Oct. 29, 2014 (Toronto, ON) — The 2014 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize has been awarded to Lisa Oppenheim of the U.S., it was announced at a special reception held at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) this evening. Oppenheim, who is based in New York, was selected by public vote to receive the $50,000 CAD prize in addition to a six-week, fully funded residency in Canada in early 2015.

Runners-up David Hartt (Canada); Elad Lassry (Israel/USA); and Nandipha Mntambo (South Africa) each also receive a six-week residency as well as $5,000 to support their artistic practices.

Lisa Oppenheim was born in 1975 in New York City, where she lives and works. Oppenheim’s photographs and videos, including those that are a part of the Aimia |  AGO Photography Prize 2014 Exhibition, are composed of images and materials from the recent and not-so-recent past that she re-processes and transforms through various historical and contemporary techniques. Her process often begins online, where she sources images and objects that she reinterprets photographically using both analogue and digital technologies. Through this approach, the process itself becomes source material, as Oppenheim gives photographic images new forms and new contexts. Recent solo exhibitions include Forever is Composed of Nows, Kunsterverin in Hamburg; From Abigail to Jacob (Works 2004-2014), Kunstverein in Graz; and Heaven Blazing into the Head, The Approach Gallery, London. Oppenheim graduated with an MFA from The Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College in 2002.

The shortlist was announced on Aug. 13, 2014, after being selected by an international jury comprising lead juror Sophie Hackett, the AGO’s associate curator of photography; Okwui Enwezor, Nigerian-born, German-based scholar, curator, writer and director of Haus der Kunst, Munich; and New York–based photo and video artist Laurie Simmons. Voting began that same day at, within the travelling Aimia AGO Photography Prize Art Truck and on the Prize's Facebook page. The public also had the opportunity to vote at the AGO inside the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2014 Exhibition, which remains on view at the AGO until Jan. 5, 2015.

“The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is truly unique amongst international art prizes,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “It is particularly exciting to award this prize to Lisa Oppenheim, because it represents a groundswell of public engagement with contemporary photography. Offering our public a strong voice is something we are very proud to do. I offer my sincere congratulations to Lisa and to all of the shortlisted artists.”

"We are delighted to see our partnership with the AGO, now in its seventh year, continue to inspire a public dialogue within Canada about contemporary photography through the prize," said Vince Timpano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canada, Aimia. "Aimia is committed to supporting the arts in Canada, and we are proud that the 2014 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize was able to provide a positive platform for all four artists, especially at such a pivotal moment in their careers. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to each of them.”

Previous winners of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize include Canada’s Erin Shirreff (2013), Jo Longhurst of the U.K. (2012), Gauri Gill of India (2011), Canada’s Kristan Horton (2010), Marco Antonio Cruz of Mexico (2009) and Canada’s Sarah Anne Johnson (2008).

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is Canada’s most significant award for contemporary photography, recognizing photographers from around the world whose work has exhibited extraordinary potential over the preceding five years. It has a total annual prize value of more than $100,000, with $50,000 awarded to the winner, $5,000 awarded to each of the other shortlisted artists and $25,000 supporting a national scholarship program for students studying photography at select institutions across Canada. The remainder funds six-week residencies for the four shortlisted artists at institutions across Canada. For more information and updates about the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, please visit and follow @AimiaAGOPrize on Twitter.


Aimia, a global leader in loyalty management, has adopted two fundamental principles of loyalty, trust and reciprocity, as the pillars of its global social purpose – to create mutually-beneficial partnerships that leave a lasting impact in our communities. As an enthusiastic patron of the Arts, Aimia supports many Canadian and International arts and culture initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. Aimia has supported several Canadian cultural organizations including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Canada Institute, Business for the Arts, Canadian Art Foundation, the Design Exchange, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, Luminato Festival, the Walrus Foundation and Canada's presentation at the International Art and Architecture Venice Biennale since 2006. Aimia is proud to engage in a dialogue around the arts through the Aimia l AGO Photography Prize and scholarship program, and through our office art installations in Montreal and Toronto. Visit us at to learn more.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of Aimia, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program and Founding Partner of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize.


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 For media inquiries, images or interview requests, please contact: 

Daniel St. Germaine
Arts & Communications 
416.966.3421 x 201 

Sabrina Bhangoo

Caitlin Coull
Art Gallery of Ontario 
416.979.6660 x 364


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