The winners of the 2021 PLATFORM Photography Award are Elise DawsonCharles Venzon and Alyssa Bornn.

PLATFORM is excited to be supporting the creation of new work from each of these emerging artists. While these three practices vary in approach and style, each artist pushes the boundary of a lens-based practice in varied and considered ways. This new work will debut early 2022 in three solo exhibitions.

Elise Dawson graduated from the School of Fine Art at the University of Manitoba in 2012 where they served as president of Students of Fine Art and was a founding member of Chesterfield Magazine, a freely distributed publication curated from emerging artist submissions. Since graduating, Elise Dawson has been employed within the film industry and commercial art galleries in Winnipeg and Toronto. Currently, they are responsible for art inventory and photography at Mayberry Fine Art. Dawson is an active champion of their artistic community. They previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors at Mentoring Artist’s for Women’s Art. They have worked with local arts organizations such as CARFAC Manitoba, First Fridays Winnipeg and Creative Manitoba in the promotion of artists. Elise Dawson completed MAWA’s Foundation Mentorship program with Val Klassen as well as brief mentorships with Ming Hon (Performance) and Diana Thorneycroft (Bodies of Work). They presented a solo exhibition at Flux Gallery in 2016. In 2017, Elise Dawson completed a six-week artist residency in Puebla, Mexico which closed with a public performance on Día de Muertos, at Decentered Gallery. They were a 2017-2018 participant of aceartinc’s Cartae open school program when they published their first collection of poetry, SEX DEATH AND/, a raw examination of loss and desire. Recently, Dawson was a new media artist in residence at Video Pool.

Charles Venzon is a Filipinx Winnipeg based artist who graduated from the University of Manitoba, School of Fine Arts (2000). His background in performance-based processes foregrounds his recent photographic, video, and print media creations. From 2006-2011 Charles worked on Some of Us Part, a photography and video series of portraits and vignettes made in collaboration with his family. The photos were quiet documents re-enacting moments of harmony and wonder. Their marriage had challenges in communication and empathy and as the series of images continued to grow, their family portrait recreations reflected these challenges. More recently, Charles’ interest is in his mother Vida’s migration story as a sewing machine operator from Manila who migrated to Winnipeg in 1972. He is fascinated with her (non)assimilation to a westernized culture the years prior to her getting married in 1974. Poise (2019) is a series of five short films that take place in Winnipeg’s Centennial and Downtown core area. They document his performances of finding and realigning archival photographs taken of his mother during this timeframe. By going to the sites where these images were taken, he pays homage to her migration story and how it has informed his identity. Balikbayan Boxes – The Remittance Project (2021) is a print media series featuring non-perishable household items that he recalls helping pack with his mother as a child. Through this new body of work, Charles explores Filipino diaspora cultural themes from his mother’s generation to provide a place for present and for future generations to dialogue and to ask questions. Themes like; the duty to provide for one’s family in the Philippines by working abroad and what that looked like for her then. If she was engaged to his father prior to leaving for Canada, what was their correspondence like? As a recent immigrant, what were her challenges to keep her food, religion, and language customs intact?

Alyssa Bornn lives and works in Winnipeg, MB. Her work is primarily centered around ideas relating to transference, interchangeability, language, failure, and the poetics of technical processes. She has recently been using photogrammetry to craft three dimensional scans that sometimes merge with flat images as an exercise in world building and spatial translation. Her imagery often includes collected objects, domestic interiors, as well as interventions and artifacts from digital “non-spaces” such as screens and desktops. Her work is informed by an interest in early computing, textile production, consumer electronics, play and the pursuit of visual joy. She holds a BFA Honours from the University of Manitoba. In 2019 she was awarded the Emerging Digital Artist Award presented by EQ Bank and Trinity Square Video. Her work has recently been exhibited at Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina), Plug In ICA (Winnipeg), Trinity Square Video (Toronto).


2020 Jean Borbridge, Hypermarket Rupture

2020 Christina Hajjar, Don’t Forget to Count Your Blessings

2020 Iyunade Judah, Transcension

2019 Rhayne Vermette, True Stories

2018 Mariana Muñoz Gomez, Recorrer, to wander

2017 Hannah Doucet, I wondered when my body would deflate.