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OCAD U grad regional winner at BMO 1ST Art! competition

2020 Surfing the Internet by Tian Cao
2020 Surfing the Internet by Tian Cao

Tian Cao, a recent Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate from OCAD U’s Game and Interactive Media Design program, was named the Ontario winner of BMO’s 1st Art! Art Competition.

Cao’s work, 2020 Surfing the Internet, is inspired by her “observation of 'poor images' on the internet including static memes, low-resolution short videos, tawdry commercial images and manipulated self-images.” The interactive 3D project, created using the game engine Unity, explores issues of accessibility, democracy, mass reproduction, culture conflict, self-identity and consumerism.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety of its artists and patrons, the BMO 1st Art! gallery exhibition is virtual this year. Hosted by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto on their Virtual Art Museum site, the exhibition (on now until October 16, 2020) showcases all 13 winning works. The award recipients will receive cash prizes of $15,000 for the national award and $7,500 for each regional winner, spanning Canada's diverse provinces and territories.

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. An esteemed panel of jurors selected this year's winning works from a pool of 295 submissions. Submission 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.

Full list of 2020 BMO 1st Art!

National Winner

  • Simone Elizabeth Saunders, "It Matters", Alberta University of the Arts (Alberta)

Regional Winners

  • Jasmine MacGregor, "Anishinaabekwe (Ojibway woman)", Alberta University of the Arts (Alberta)
  • David Ezra Wang, "Practicum", University of British Columbia (British Columbia)
  • Gabriel Roberts, "A Closet Painted Blue", University of Manitoba (Manitoba)
  • Matthew Cripps, "4 Crawling Vases", New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (New Brunswick)
  • Kathleen Elliott, "Well Seasoned", Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • Alex Sutcliffe, "A Finger Cuts Light", NSCAD University (Nova Scotia)
  • Ellie Tungilik, "Finding Hope", Nunavut Arctic College (Nunavut)
  • Tian Cao, "2020 Surfing the Internet", OCAD University (Ontario)
  • Duncan Brooks, "Empty Steps", Holland College (Prince Edward Island)
  • Mikael Lepage, "Dénué", Université du Québec à Montréal (Quebec)
  • Rey Francis Dominic B. Tatad, "Chosen Land", University of Regina (Saskatchewan)
  • Nicole Favron, "5.5 hours of shovelling so I can walk in the path of a moose", Yukon School of Visual Arts (Yukon)

See BMO Financial Group's website to view the winning works.