Winners — 2021/22
THE JOAN McCONNELL AWARD &
RESIDENCY FOR OUTSTANDING WORK
— About the Artist
Kriss Munsya is a Belgian, Congolese-born visual artist currently living in Vancouver, BC. From a very young age, Kriss has been exploring art through drawings, photography, and video. His journey started with his long feature film "Us And Them" in 2015, shot on his hitchhiking trip from New York to Rio de Janeiro. Being on the road as a black male shifted his vision of the world and transformed his approach to art. After having directed his first documentary, Kriss focused on photography and decided to tell his story of racism and abuse that he was a victim of for a long time. "Saying without saying, showing without showing." That is the mantra of his latest project, "The Eraser." This project reflects critically on the past to inform transformational offerings for the future. As the protagonist revisits memories to reimagine his past, he tries to erase the dominance of Whiteness by transposing Blackness.
— The winning piece
Dreams Tonite. Highway Reflection, The Eraser
Digital photography, C-print mounted on dibond, framed
43.75" x 35"Buy Artwork
"Dreams Tonite. Highway Reflections, The Eraser" juxtaposes experiences of the past with desires of the future. It is a story of change and transformation that centers on a black man revisiting experiences that have been normalized in critical reflection of internalized supremacy. Things that at the time he thought were normal now have new meaning, and he wants to share the lessons within. He wants to erase those racially charged traumas to change his future. However, memory is not easy to manipulate! Digging into the past always brings up unexpected things.
“Kriss Munsya’s photograph is quite a compelling work. It is visually stunning and conceptually so. The first reading of the colours and composition is beautiful, grabbing the viewer with the sky, the flowers and the figures. Metaphors spill out of the image, and there is much to dig into and analyze in order to understand the artist’s message. A complex and deep artwork that, when viewing the piece and looking deeper, the artist’s statement delivers on. The work imagines alternatives to present-day reality from a very personal place. It speaks to us as a collective about what we could be paying attention to and thinking about against the backdrop of today’s social, economic climate.”