The CENTER Awards: The Director’s Choice Award 1st Place Winner: Sandra Chen Weinstein
Congratulations to Sandra Chen Weinstein for her First Place win in CENTER’S Director’s Choice Award for her project, Transcend. The Choice Awards recognize outstanding photographers working in all processes and subject matter. Images can be singular or part of a series. Winners receive Complimentary participation and presentation at Review Santa Fe for the 1st place winner in each category, work in the Winners Exhibition at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, and an Online exhibition at VisitCenter.org
Juror Rubén Esparza, Independent Curator; Founder and Director, Queer Biennial shares his insights:
I was impressed by the quality and diversity of work—it was truly difficult to select top-tiered work. I made new discoveries that I will follow and explore.
My own personal criteria for discerning art and photography is to look at work that represent technical and aesthetic shifts from what is already out there; a new take or observation of the zeitgeist, the sociopolitical, and cultural pronouncements. The work that I selected touches on these points. These particular works of art (photography) shine a light on people living in the margins of communities and are usually maligned and, or scapegoated. To focus on these subjects is to acknowledge them and to speak truth to societal ills.
Work that mostly focuses on clever composition and color imaginations is much appreciated, but not enough for highlighting at this particular juncture.
Rubén Esparza (Founder, Queer Biennial) is an artist and independent curator based in Los Angeles. Esparza’s studio practice spans painting, drawings, and photography, mixing it with elements of Conceptualism, ethnicity and Queer Culture. His curatorial work focuses on under-represented artists primarily in the queer and ethnic communities. His work is included as part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Santa Barbara Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, Illinois, among others.
He has created events and curated exhibitions across the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Esparza is the Founder and Director of the Queer Biennial anchored in Los Angeles, with satellites in New York, Mexico, Miami, Paris, Tel Aviv. and Zürich. He has curated exhibitions at the Ace Hotel/LA, Coagula Curatorial/LA, Industry Gallery/LA, Navel/LA, and the San Diego Art Institute.
This is a story of relationships but most importantly, love. This collection of intimate portraits and stories of people and their loved ones, families or chosen families, including my own, from a diverse LGBTQ community which constantly struggles for equality and acceptance.
My adult child came out as queer, transgender, non-binary and is collaborating with me in writing in this book. This series of 30 family images are displayed with their own quotes and stories about themselves and their loved ones. The work seeks to aid social justice against stereotypes and stigma that have long existed.
Sandra Chen Weinstein is self-taught and inspired by Sebastião Salgado and Magnum photographers. Sandra’s work focuses on documentary photography emphasizing human condition in social identity, culture, and minorities. She has dedicated long-term projects on women, minorities, and American pop culture. Sandra has lived and worked in Washington DC, Japan, China, Taiwan, and Canada while working with American Agency. While living in Japan, She taught Mandarin in College and studied ceramic art and exhibited this work in Japan and the US. Upon returning to Southern California in the late ‘90s, she worked in technology and finance before she found passion using photography as her medium of art. In 2007-2008, she worked for master photographer of Magnum Photos Eli Reed, as personal assistant.
Sandra has received numerous distinguished awards including: National Geographic Magazine International contest winner for People & Reader’s Collection, First Place Director’s Choice Award CENTER, 1st Prize (Open Category) Kuala Lumpur International Photo awards, 1st Prize Winner of Robert Cornelius Portrait Award, Runner-Up for International Conservation Award in Culture, The Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, American Photography AI-AP Book Collections and the Archive New York, and many other distinguished awards in U.S. galleries, museums. Her award-winning work has graced the covers and pages of many including European Photography Magazine, FotoMagazine Germany, Color Magazine, B/W Magazine, and more.
Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including Aperture Gallery, Annenberg Space of Photography etc., and the countries of Japan, New Zealand, Australia, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and Spain.
Her work is in several private collections including: Museum, Gallery, University, Arab American Culture Center, Technology Corporation, and more.
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