UA Alumna Awarded Prestigious Prize from Museum of Contemporary Photography

Alayna Pernell, With Care to Ms. Maudelle Bass Weston, from Our Mothers’ Gardens, 2020.

UA photo alumna Alayna Pernell has won the Snider Prize from Columbia College Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP). The Snider Prize is a purchase award given to emerging artists in their final year of graduate study. Sponsored by Lawrence K. and Maxine Snider, it is part of MoCP’s ongoing commitment to support new talent in the field of contemporary photography, according to the website.

The museum wrote, “Pernell spent months researching and uncovering suppressed images of Black women held in photographic collections and has re-excavated, re-photographed, re-captioned, and re-contextualized the original works. By engaging with these images with the intervention of her hands and her body, she attempts to rescue and protect Black women’s bodies and their humanity, and also unearth their stories so that they can be seen and heard.”

Pernell received her MFA in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the spring of 2021. In 2020, her series, Our Mothers’ Gardens, was exhibited at the Griffin Museum of Photography’s Virtual Gallery. Also in 2020, Pernell’s photography was part of a new mural, commissioned by the Design Museum of Chicago and titled Postcards to Chicago. In 2019, she graduated from The University of Alabama summa cum laude with a BA in studio art with a focus in photography and a minor in African American studies. Among her recent exhibitions are Come Together, Right Now, at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia; This is a Movement, Not a Moment, in the ARTivism Initiative, Worcester, Mass.; and Too Tired for 2020, part of the Too Tired Project, based in Vermont. Pernell’s art website is here.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in art history and studio art, visit our Degree Programs page.