Juliet Di Carlo has been named the Yukon winner of the 2021 BMO 1st Art! competition for a piece she describes as a thesis summing up her eight months studying at the Yukon School of Visual Arts (SOVA) in Dawson City.
The competition invites students from the 100 post-secondary art schools across the country to submit a piece of work with one national and 11 regional winners named by a selection committee made up of curators and artists.
Winning pieces are showcased in a virtual exhibit hosted by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto (artmuseum.utoronto.ca) from Nov. 16 to Dec. 8. A total of $15,000 is awarded to the national winner with $7,500 to each regional winner.
Di Carlo was named the Yukon winner for her video Consume in a way that makes it look Authentic, a three minute, 54 second piece focused on society’s tendencies to consume.
As Di Carlo explained in an Oct. 26 interview, the concept came to her as she struggled with overeating when she was living on her own for the first time after moving to Dawson from Toronto to attend SOVA in the 2020/2021 school year.
To distract herself from overeating, Di Carlo started watching videos, eventually coming across Korean Mukbang videos, which showcase a show host eating a large quantity of food.
There was some irony in the comfort Di Carlo found in the videos, she said, noting that the situation got her thinking about her own sense of identity and the importance placed on consumption in society.
“That was the start of it,” Di Carlo said.
Di Carlo set out to create a video that would communicate those themes.
With two weeks to put it together, Di Carlo said she spent about four hours a day working on the video that appears as a sort of eating contest with five people sitting at a table on stage consuming cakes and other goodies in front of a crowd holding up phones and cheering.
Di Carlo submitted the piece to the BMO 1st Art! because of how it represented her year at SOVA.
“It just felt very natural,” she said.
Being named the Yukon winner has been a special experience, Di Carlo said, noting the internal pride that comes with such an award and the motivation to continue working on her art.
Similarly, Di Carlo described SOVA as a “very special place”, adding that because it offers a non-traditional art program it meant scrapping a lot her pre-conceived ideas of what an art education looks like.
Before SOVA, Di Carlo had already built up a strong resume which included an artist residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto, a number of awards, a long list of exhibits and graduating from the Etobicoke School of Arts, a specialized high school focused on the arts.
“Innovation happens when you have to build your own resources,” Di Carlo said in speaking of her move to Dawson, arguing that is also when a person may be at their most creative.
Di Carlo said she decided to study at SOVA, which offers a foundation year program towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with partnerships in place with six art schools across the country), to gain a new, unique experience.
“It just felt like an opportunity to flip myself on my head,” she said, noting it was a great experience to go somewhere new and be part of the community.
While Di Carlo is now back in Toronto, she said she’s pleased with the experience she gained through SOVA and noted she will continue working to develop her art with the skills she gained through the program in Dawson.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org