Christian Courier (CC) is now accepting submissions of art and photography to our 2022 Portrait Contest! Send in your creative work between July 1 and October 1 for a chance to win Canadian art, gift cards and a year-long CC subscription as prizes! Scroll down for submission guidelines and for more details.

Last year we asked artists and poets to give us their visual interpretation of a year of “mapping and mending”. This year, we’re calling on the voices of artists and photographers to show us the range of emotions and experiences that come from seeing each other again, face to face. You don’t have to be a professional artist or photographer to submit; you just have to be curious. Curiosity is integral to the work of both Betty Spackman and Malik Dieleman, our judges.

At a symposium gathered around Betty Spackman’s exhibition earlier this year, David Goa said, “every meeting with strangers is an annunciation,” and perhaps the greatest stranger is our own hearts. What do you expect from looking into the face of your family, friends, neighbours or strangers? Can you capture what you find?

Consider what you expect from another stranger in your portraits: David Wagoner wrote, “Wherever you are is called Here, / And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.” Malik Dieleman’s art and portraits live in the question between humans and their environment – and how the two change each other.

As you’re choosing what of your work to submit, consider: who is this person, where is the place and what does it mean to you? We’ll be asking you to share those thoughts in a 50-250 word artist statement.

Creativity is encouraged; you can make your portrait as raw, unexpected or traditional as you like – just include enough of the person’s face for it to be counted as a portrait. And remember, visual art isn’t only painting: collage, mixed media, quilting, sculpture, or any other creative medium you can think of is welcome!

submission guidelines 

  • Submit photos or artwork that you created within the last year (Fall 2021 through Fall 2022).
  • Photos and artwork will be judged in separate categories. You can submit to each category separately.
  • To submit artwork, take a clear photo. You can find instructions for taking a good photo here. Please ensure that the lighting is even – we can do the final steps of editing for you (cropping the edges and brightening your image).
  • Email submissions to ac.reiruocnaitsirhc@ekiaam. Include your full name and mailing address (winners will be mailed their prizes before it’s announced publicly). Do not use your name in your art or file title – entries will be judged anonymously. Include in the body of your email a short artist statement (50-250 words) explaining who you’ve chosen as a subject of your portrait, and what creative choices you made.
  • If submitting visual art, include your work’s dimensions and medium used (for example: acrylic painting, 15×20 cm) in your email.
  • Multiple submissions are allowed in the same email. There is no submission fee.
  • Submission deadline is October 1, 2022.

Be creative and have fun! Still have questions? Email Maaike: ac.reiruocnaitsirhc@ekiaam

Meet our Judges

Malik is a Toronto-based photographer and multidisciplinary artist. His work includes photography, videography, and graphic design. In 2020, He graduated with distinction from OCAD University with a BFA in Photography. Following his graduation, he was awarded a membership to Gallery 44 centre for contemporary photography. Having grown up in France, Senegal, and Canada, Malik carries with him a complex multi-cultural identity. His work reflects on themes of belonging, identity, and faith. Today, Malik’s work explores the intersection of environment and identity within portraiture. To connect with Malik, find him on Instagram @malikdieleman_artist or email him.

One of Malik’s environmental portraits.

Betty Spackman is a multimedia installation artist, painter and educator who has worked and exhibited internationally. She has a background in Theatre, Animation, Performance Art and Video Art and won a National Film Award in 1987 for a 5 min. animation “A Bird in the Hand”. Spackman collaborated for many years with Austrian Artist Anja Westerfroelke. Their early video work was shown at ARS Electronica in Austria and Long Beach California with well-known artists such as Bill Viola and Gary Hill. Spackman has taught and spoken at conferences and galleries in Canada, Europe, the US and Mexico. Her work has often centred on cultural objects and the stories connected to them. Her recent focus is on issues of animal/human relations and the connections between faith and science in regard to issues of creation and post humanism. Her current project, ‘A Creature Chronicle’ addresses questions of posthumanism and the use of narratives in faith and science and art. Spackman has written and illustrated art related books. A Profound Weakness: Christians and Kitsch, Spackman’s 500p illustrated book published in 2005 by Piquant Editions, UK, about material religion, is a personal reflection on images of faith in popular culture. Spackman has taught studio art at various universities in Canada and US as well as community arts programs and developed ‘The Open Studio Program’, an alternative community education model for emerging artists. Spackman currently lives and works in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

A panel from Spackman’s ‘A Creature Chronicle’ exhibition.

the prizes

This year we’re excited to offer Paul Roorda’s postcards as prizes, a tangible reminder of the many ways art connects us. Paul Roorda, an artist based in Waterloo, Ontario, created a series of handmade cyanotype postcards during the pandemic. He explains, “At a time when art galleries are closed or restricting attendance, delivering art into mailboxes reminds people that there is creativity beyond the screen. And although social media has virtually replaced postcards and recent pandemic realities mean no one is traveling anyway, a postcard from nowhere takes on even greater meaning. In isolation, we can still discover beauty and hope.” First and second place winners in both the visual art and photography categories will receive a personally addressed postcard from Roorda, in addition to gift cards and a free year-long print subscription to CC.