Close this search box.

Photographer’s tender tribute to sister at the center of Project X Award 2021 Exhibition at Ottawa Art Gallery

October 25, 2021

Press Release

The vernissage is part of OAG’s Home Coming, the first public gathering at the Gallery in months

OTTAWA, ON – Monday October 25th 2021 – The Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG), SPAO, the Ottawa Arts Council and supporting sponsor DAÏMÔN present Project X Award 2021: Playing Dead by Joyce Crago, an exhibition of photo-based work of local multidisciplinary artist Joyce Crago, winner of the 2021 Project X Photography Award. The exhibition runs from October 29 to November 28, 2021 in OAG’s Sky Lounge. The vernissage will coincide with OAG’s Home Coming in-person public event on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, the first official gathering at the Gallery in many months.

In Playing Dead, Crago turns the camera on objects left in the wake of a loved one’s death and on her own aging body to investigate the vulnerable intimacies of death. In one work, Crago tenderly engages with her late sister’s clothing symbolising the many layers of mourning. A moving exploration of the inevitable, Playing Dead, in the artist’s own words, “questions our impulse to hold onto each other and reconstitute ourselves through remnant traces.” 

“Joyce Crago’s work in Playing Dead is a beautiful reflection on death, grief, and the process of mourning through what is left behind. Brilliantly lit and tenderly composed, this deeply personal series also invites viewers to consider their own understandings of impermanence and mortality. It is a pleasure to showcase Joyce’s poignant work in our Sky Lounge space this year.”– Meghan Ho, Playing Dead Curator, Ottawa Art Gallery Curatorial team

The Project X Photography Award recognizes and celebrates the merits of a publicly presented photographic project by an Ottawa-based artist. The award recipient is selected by a jury of arts, photography, and media experts and is presented by SPAO, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and the Ottawa Arts Council, with supporting sponsor DAÏMÔN. An announcement for the 2022 Project X, Photography Award submission dates will be made in November.

“In consideration of the challenges artists continue to face, SPAO is extremely proud to help shine a light on Ottawa’s distinctive arts community as well as nurture a thoughtful and engaged photographic talent.” – Jonathan Hobin, SPAO Creative Director

“At a time when our sector is at its most vulnerable, we are proud to support this project-based award that invests in our local arts community and in gifted photographers like Joyce Crago. With the support of our sponsors and partners, this award acknowledges her talent, her investment in our community, and honours her resilience as we celebrate the unique way she has chosen to share her story.”- Nicole Milne, Executive Director, Ottawa Arts Council

Joyce Crago
Recipient of the 2021 Project X Photography Award, Joyce Crago’s practice includes photography, performance, video, sculpture, and installation. In 2020, work from her Playing Dead series was featured at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, won the Grand Prize at RMG Fridays: Focused at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and was included in Hindsight: 2020 Additions to the City of Ottawa Art Collection. In 2021, more pieces from this body of work were added to the City of Ottawa Art Collection and parts of this series were shown at the Esperanto Gallery.

OAG Home Coming: Your Art is HERE.
On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, the public and media are invited to celebrate a remarkable year at OAG, marking the closure of exhibitions as well as a vernissage. The event (from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm) will include a live bilingual chat at 7 pm with Chantal Dahan, featured artist in the outgoing Sheltered In Place exhibition which ends November 7, 2021; an opportunity to view the ongoing exhibition Filtered which closes January 2, 2022, and will mark the opening of Playing Dead – the work of 2021 Project X Award recipient, Joyce Crago, running from October 29, 2021 to November 28, 2021. OAG Home Coming starts at 6:30 pm.

Registration is required. OAG follows City of Ottawa building COVID-19 protocols. Vaccine passports must be shown at the door and all guests must remain masked while inside that Gallery.

Press images and artwork information for Playing Dead:

OAG location and contact
10 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1N 0C5, CANADA | 613.233.8699 |

– 30 –

For media enquiries, to book an interview with artist or a tour, please contact:
Véronique Couillard, Officer, Media, Public and Francophone Relations, 613-291-1358

About the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)
The Ottawa Art Gallery is situated on traditional Anishinābe Aki and is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.

OAG receives funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa. 

Joyce Crago’s Playing Dead series was created with support from the Ontario Arts Council.

The Project X Photography Award is presented by SPAO, the OAG, the Ottawa Arts Council, and supporting sponsor DAÏMÔN.


OAG is Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday | from 10 AM to 9 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission is always FREE.