The Higashikawa Awards 2018

Overseas Photographer Award

The 34th Higashikawa Award Winners - Overseas Photographer Award

Marian Penner Bancroft

Lives in Vancouver, Canada

For photographic achievements, including her series, “radial systems” (2017)

Born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, Bancroft studied at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art+Design) and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (Now Ryerson University) in Toronto. She taught at the Emily Carr University of Art+Design from 1981 to 2013 and has made efforts to foster younger artists. She has held numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally and her work can be found in collections such as those of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada.
 Starting before 1970, Bancroft made documentary style works focusing on the relationship between photographer and subject, including a well-known series of black and white photographs of both her brother-in-law, as he battled leukemia, and her younger sister, as she supported him in his struggle. Since 1980, she has worked both independently and alongside the members of the so-called Vancouver School which produced internationally important photographers in the context of post-conceptual photography.
 From the 1980s to the 90s, Bancroft made a wide range of sculptural installations using large scale photographs with text, sound and drawings, dealing with landscape, memory and history, examining the formation of identity while focusing on her family history and her early education as a colonial girl with European and Scottish roots.
 Since 2000 Bancroft has worked in colour, continuing her exploration of issues related to immigration and the complex interactions of European settlers with Canadian indigenous people. In recent years, such as in the series “radial systems”, she has focused on natural forms, both local and non-native, with reference to their humanly-caused migrations around the planet.

Artist comments

It is a great honour to be the recipient of this year’s Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Award and I am very grateful for this opportunity to come to Japan and to show my work with such outstanding photographers. I am particularly excited to be visiting Hokkaido and would like to thank the jury members of this award for making all of this possible.
 I work with photography, text, video, sculpture and sound. My recent series “radial systems” and “HYDROLOGIC (drawing up the clouds)”※ have been in the form of both colour prints and wall-mounted video. With these I looked for visual evidence of the forces causing human migrations through looking closely at the “natural” world and how it is named, and how the natural world mirrors these forces, particularly through the lenses of music, landscape, botany, and climate change. In these visible traces are found Canada’s indigenous and immigrant histories intersecting with the dominant written histories of Europe and Asia.

                                      Marian Penner Bancroft



※ Hydrology is “the science which treats of water, its properties and laws, its distribution over the earth’s surface, etc.” (Oxford dictionary)

The phrase “drawing up the clouds” is taken from “Peter Grimes”, an opera composed by Benjamin Britten in 1945 and situated in Suffolk U.K. The libretto, written by Montagu Slater was based on an excerpt from the collection of poems entitled “The Borough’ written by George Crabbe in 1810. The phrase comes at the beginning of an aria sung by the character Peter Grimes in Act 1, Scene 2. The opera ends with the banishment of Grimes to a death at sea in a fishing boat like the one depicted.

Now the great Bear and Pleiades where earth moves
Are drawing up the clouds of human grief,
Breathing solemnity in the deep night.

  • DEAD OAK ROOTED IN SALINE REED BED
    Snape Maltings, Suffolk, United Kingdom.

    from the series “HYDROLOGIC (drawing up the clouds)” 2014
    (Originals 40”x40” chromogenic prints)

  • CLINKER-BUILT FISHING BOAT ON A SHINGLE BEACH
    Aldeburgh, Suffolk, United Kingdom.

    from the series “HYDROLOGIC (drawing up the clouds)” 2014
    (Originals 40”x40” chromogenic prints)

  • PONDEROSA PINE killed by the pine beetle
    on cattle range near Tunkwa Lake, British Columbia, Canada.

    from the series “HYDROLOGIC (drawing up the clouds)” 2014
    (Originals 40”x40” chromogenic prints)

  • PARASOL MUSHROOM (macrolepiota procera)

    Found by the roadside (A1095) in Suffolk, UK; native globally in temperate regions, first described in print in Europe in 1772 by Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, a Tyrolean naturalist. (4x)

    from the series “Radial Systems” 2017
    (Originals 30”x30” chromogenic prints)

  • JAPANESE LANTERN, Chinese Lantern, bladder cherry (physalis alkekengi)

    Found in a Kitsilano garden,Vancouver; native to Southern Europe, South Asia and Japan. Its pollen has been found in Pleistocene sediments (up to 2.5million years old) in East Anglia, UK (12x)

    from the series “Radial Systems” 2017
    (Originals 30”x30” chromogenic prints)

  • SILVER SHILLING, Honesty, Silver Dollar, Money Plant, Moonwort, monnaie du pape, judaspenning (lunaria annua)
    Found in a garden, Bulcamp Drift, Suffolk UK; native to the Balkan Peninsula and south west Asia and said to have been brought to North America by Pilgrims on the Mayflower in 1620. (17.5x)

    from the series “Radial Systems” 2017
    (Originals 30”x30” chromogenic prints)

  • from the series “For Dennis and Susan: Running Arms to a Civil War” 1977

  • Installation View

  • Installation View

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