Hank Willis Thomas. Photo: Andrea Blanch.

Hank Willis Thomas Wins Canada’s AIMIA Photography Prize

The 2017 winner of one of Canada’s largest and most prestigious contemporary photography awards, AIMIA Photography Prize, is Hank Willis Thomas. The New York–based artist’s work explores consumerism, class, and race. Thomas will receive $39,000.

Since AIMIA’s inception in 2007, the award has been granted to artists based on a public vote. This year’s finalists were Liz Johnson Artur, Raymond Boisjoly, and Taisuke Koyama. They will each receive $4,000, and their work will be displayed alongside Thomas’s at the Art Gallery of Ontario until January 14. Among the pieces by Thomas in the show is his series of archival images from the American civil rights movement, which can only be seen with night-vision goggles.

“I might consider myself a photographic archaeologist, or a visual culture archaeologist,” the artist said. “I believe that all the content in my work is really about framing and context, about calling the viewer to think about how their position affects what they see.”

Each year, AIMIA also grants around $20,000 as part of a scholarship program. This year, three undergraduate students studying photography will be given an award in support of their final year of study.