Congratulations! Simone Elizabeth Saunders Wins BMO 1st Art! Prize

Date: Oct 16, 2020

Simone Elizabeth Saunders, a recent graduate of the Alberta University of the Arts (Calgary), won the BMO 1st Art! competition for her work It Matters, a work she describes as:

"A hand-tufted textile portrait of a Black civilian in western society during the COVID-19 pandemic. This colourful patchwork focuses on the quality and importance of Black life (matters) in a time where the pandemic has eradicated social normativity, further isolating marginalized communities and resulting in amplified racial biases toward Black and Brown people." 

She received $15,000 as the national winner. Congratulations!

The BMO 1st Art! competition celebrates the creativity of art school students from over 100 post-secondary institutions across Canada. The national winner is awarded $15,000 and the regional winners each receive $7,500.

Image credit: Simone Elizabeth Saunders, It Matters, hand-tufted and punch needled textile. Photo courtesy of CNW Group/BMO Financial Group. 

About BMO 1st Art!

BMO 1st Art! celebrates the creativity of art school students from over 100 post-secondary institutions across Canada. Every year BMO Financial Group invites the deans and instructors of undergraduate-level certificate, diploma, or degree programmes in studio art to select from their graduating classes three students whose ability and imagination place them 1st among their peers.

Each promising student is asked to complete submission materials and send digital images of a recent work to BMO Financial Group’s Art Collection Unit by the submission deadline. Our distinguished selection committee reviews the submissions and chooses one winner from every province and territory to be 1st in their region. A national winner is also chosen. The national winner is awarded $15,000 and each regional winner receives $7,500.