2021 Prize-winners



Alice Adelkind, President of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts, announced today the recipients of $70,000 in awards.

“Our committees do their due diligence to research, analyze and award prizes based on merit. Since its founding twenty-three years ago, the TFVA is proud to have awarded a million dollars in prize money to the visual arts in the GTA. Art has played a vital role in our lives during this year of lockdowns. By looking and trying to really SEE art, we can feel transported, inspired, and even encouraged to begin discussions.”

The Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts is an independent, membership based, non-profit organization that promotes knowledge of the visual arts to its members through an extensive education program, and provides support and recognition for artistic achievement to artists and art organizations in the GTA.

Founders Achievement Award: $15,000 to Philip Monk
Over his distinguished 40-year career Philip Monk has been a writer, curator, gallery director and teacher. Monk is one of Canada’s most prolific art writers, producing fourteen books and countless catalogues, essays, articles and reviews. Thus far in his outstanding career, Philip has received numerous citations and awards including the 2017 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Artist Prize Finalist: $5,000 to Jen Aitken
In her sculptures and drawings, Jen Aitken creates out of a close examination of the spaces, shapes and materials of the built environment.

Artist Prize Finalist: $5,000 to Rouzbeh Akhbari
Rouzbeh Akhbari creates work that sits at the intersections between storytelling, critical architecture and human geography. He uses video installation, film and literature.

Artist Prize Finalist: $5,000 to Melissa General
Melissa General’s practice is rooted in photography as she works with a combination of traditional and modern materials to create audio, video, installation and performance work.

Artist Prize Finalist: $5,000 to Oreka James
Oreka James creates work that composes worlds to animate the crossing of realms, affirming what would be considered intangible. With a practice rooted in drawing and painting, James considers the excavation of histories, present and futures while giving tribute to land and ancestral life.

Artist Prize Finalist: $5,000 to Shellie Zhang
Through a wide range of media, Shellie Zhang explores the contexts and construction of a multicultural society by disassembling standard approaches to tradition, gender, the diaspora and popular culture.

Project Support Awards

$12,000 to STEPS Public Art
Yue Moon: Animated Light was a collaborative art-making project that led to an outdoor installation in the heart of Chinatown as part of the 2021 Lunar New Year celebrations.

$10,000 to Mercer Union: a centre for contemporary art
Mercer Union developed a strong online presence to enhance the viewers experience and appreciation of Erdem Tasdelen’s exhibition, A Minaret for the General’s Wife.

$4,000 to Nia Centre for the Arts
Photographer William Ukoh has been commissioned to produce a large-scale public art piece to be installed on the construction hoarding surrounding the new 14,000 square foot Nia Centre.

$2,250 to Inspirations Studio
A pottery wheel has been purchased for the Studio’s ceramics-based program. This program is designed to improve the lives of marginalized women.

$1750 to Site Media Inc. for the film Still Max
Still Max is directed and produced by Katherine Knight and focuses on the experiences of artist Max Dean following his diagnosis with prostate cancer. Max is inspired to begin a new and all-consuming creative project that offers an unconventional first-hand account of this disease.

Contact: Barbara Lemaire: externalcommunications@tfva.ca

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