A celebration of our 2022 award winners!

Founders Achievement Award:
Dennis Reid

Artist Prize Winner:
Ghazaleh Amarzamani

Artist Prize Finalists:
Sameer Farooq
Dana Prieto

Project Support:
Onsite Gallery at OCAD University
Toronto Sculpture Garden website
the plumb
Tangled Art + Disability Gallery
“Being Scene” at Workman Arts




Frances Price, President of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts, is honoured to announce the meritorious recipients of $70,000 in awards.

Once again, we cannot gather at our annual May Tribute Night, the event that TFVA holds to celebrate our prize winners. So let’s all raise a glass and toast our Toronto talent from home.

Our Prize Committee Chairs: Harriet Stairs (Founders Achievement Award), Kaye Beeston (Project Support) and Stacey Sharp (Artist Prize), along with their committees, did their due diligence to research, analyze, present, vote, and award prizes based on merit.

Since our founding twenty-four years ago, the TFVA is proud to have awarded more than a million dollars in prize money to the visual arts in our community.

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:
presented by Harriet Stairs, Chair

Dennis Reid: $15,000

In 1967, the year of his graduation with an MA in the History of Art from the University of Toronto, Reid was appointed the National Gallery of Canada’s Curator of Post-Confederation Canadian Art.

Just over a decade later, in 1979, Dennis was appointed Curator of Historical Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario where, over almost 40 years at the Gallery, he would serve as Senior Curator of Canadian Art (1979) and Chief Curator (1999). From 2005 to 2009, he served as Director of Collections & Research, and from 2009 until his retirement, he served as the AGO’s Chief Curator, Research.

Throughout his professional life, Dennis combined work in the gallery and academic worlds. A revered professor at the University of Toronto, he taught generations of today’s leading art historians until his retirement in 2018. His exhibitions and writings on Canadian art have been instrumental in developing our understanding of our nation’s history. His book, now in its third printing, entitled A Concise History of Canadian Painting (1973) was, for many years, the definitive volume on Canadian art. As in his curatorial work, Reid’s vast knowledge and expertise made this book the authoritative voice on the history of Canadian art. His many exhibitions and their catalogues are regularly referenced by scholars.

As a senior curator in two of Canada’s most important collecting institutions, Reid’s legacy lies not only in the exhibitions that he organized but also in his understanding of the need for evolution in the museum and gallery fields. With his colleagues in the AGO’s education department, he developed a series of pioneering, experimental, themed exhibitions that engaged critical issues of audience participation and interaction, while always considering the visitor experience.

For his enormous contribution to our knowledge of Canadian art, Reid was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (1998) and an Honorary Fellow of OCAD University (2000). He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Lethbridge (2001) and is the recipient of the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals (2002 & 2012).

Click here to see Dennis accept his award.




Artist Prizes

presented by Stacey Sharpe, Chair

Artist Prize Winner Ghazaleh Amarzamani: $15,000
Ghazaleh Avarzamani uses a variety of media to create works that challenge structures of knowledge production, and investigate human behaviours and rituals of interactivity, habit and play. Born in Tehran and based in Toronto, Avarzamani holds an MFA from Central Saint Martins, London. She is the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the Red Mansion Prize (2013) and the Ontario Association of Art Galleries’ Best Monographic Exhibition Award (2019).

Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally, including at the Koffler Gallery (Toronto), Ab-Anbar Gallery (Tehran), Asia House (London), Bocconi Gallery (Milan), Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium Museum (Norway), Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto), the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), and the Toronto Biennial of Art. In 2022, she will participate in a residency at the prestigious Delfina Foundation in London, UK.

To view Ghazaleh’s work please visit her website: ghazalehavarzamani.com or her Instagram @ghazaleh.avarzamani

Click here to see Ghazaleh accept her award.
Artist Prize Finalist Sameer Farooq: $5,000
Sameer Farooq uses sculpture, installation, photography, documentary filmmaking, collaboration, writing, and methods of anthropology to investigate tactics of representation and explore various forms of collecting, interpreting, and display. Based in Toronto, Farooq is a Canadian artist of Pakistani and Uganda Indian descent. He holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design where he was recipient of the President’s Scholarship (2012).

Farooq’s work has appeared in numerous exhibitions around the world, including the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), The British Library (London), the Institute of Islamic Culture (Paris), Vicki Myhren Gallery (Denver), the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Maquis Projects, (Izmir), Trankat (Tétouan, Morocco), Sol Koffler Gallery (Providence), Artellewa (Cairo), and Sanat Limani (Istanbul). His work has been covered in publications such as The Washington Post, BBC Culture, and Canadian Art and he was long listed for the 2018 Sobey Art Award.

To view Sameer’s work please visit his website: sameerfarooq.com or his Instagram @studiosameerfarooq

Click here to see Sameer accept his award.
Artist Prize Finalist Dana Prieto: $5,000
Dana Prieto is an artist and educator who uses sculpture, installation, performance, writing, and collaboration to examine intimate and collective entanglements with colonial institutions and power structures. Her work calls for careful attention to the ways in which we relate, think, make, and consume in the Anthropocene. Born in Argentina and based in Tkaronto, Pietro holds an Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and is a York University EUC Research Associate for the Finding Flowers Project.

Her work has been presented in national and international galleries, public spaces, and informal cultural venues including the Art Gallery of Guelph, University of Toronto Art Museum, La Tribu (Buenos Aires), Museo del Hambre (Buenos Aires), and the Toronto Biennial of Art. Prieto is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, and her work has been covered in national and international publications and media, including CBC’s This Art Works! and Exhibitionists.

To view Dana’s work please visit her website danaprieto.com or her Instagram @dana__prieto

Click here to see Dana accept her award.




Project Support Awards,
presented by Kaye Beeston, Chair

Onsite Gallery at OCAD University: $10,000
With the help of this Project Support Award, Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) now has the resources to transfer all the important data from the collections binders into a new museums-grade collections management database, the Axiell System. The seven galleries at OCAD U exhibit art, design, and digital media work by students, and internationally renowned professional artists, designers, and researchers.

OCAD U’s permanent collection numbers some 8,000 works from Canadian and international artists, dating from the 1880s to the present. The object records currently exist only in the form of handwritten sheets collected in some twenty binders. When digitized, the information will be safe and can be combined in the future with photographs, artist biographies, exhibition history etc. These new digital records will be accessible from any computer and create an up-to-date inventory of the collection, available to scholars and the public.
Click here to see the Onsite Gallery website

Click here to see their Instagram @onsite_at_ocadu

Click here to see Francisco Alvarez, Executive Drector of Galleries at OCAD University, accept this award.
Toronto Sculpture Garden website: $5,000

The TFVA Project Support is a critical component in enabling the creation of the Toronto Sculpture Garden archival website, spanning its first 30 years of operation and documenting work created by 100 artists from 1982-2014. The TSG was a trailblazer that had a direct influence on what we see in the public realm today: in the abundance of works commissioned for the Percent for Public Art Program in Toronto, and in the development of artists that it nurtured to fulfill the need for an artist response to our built environment.

With a mandate of temporary exhibitions, sustained viewing, educational information, and direct access to artists, the TSG is proud to have fostered both familiarity and understanding of contemporary art and to have provided a unique testing ground for artists to experiment with public space.

Besides its value to artists as a unique incubator of talent, TSG provided Toronto with a cultural asset used to promote the city and tourism, served as a model for others across the country and introduced the public to contemporary art practices while enlivening the public realm.

Click here to see the City of Toronto website for the Toronto Sculpture Garden

Click here to see Rina Greer accept this Project Support Award
the plumb: $5,000

This Project Support Award will assist with the installation of the plumb lightbox, which is the plumb’s alley-facing public art project. Serving as both a signalling tool for the gallery, as well as the first artwork visitors see when they enter the plumb, the 3’ x 4’ lightbox sees a significant amount of laneway and pedestrian traffic.

the plumb is an artist-run project dedicated to offering a surplus of space in a city where space is at a premium—particularly for artists, community organizers, and marginalized groups. The gallery is interested in providing exhibition space to emerging artists, fostering dialogues with established voices and providing a platform for culturally diverse artists and curators. the plumb is administered by an ad hoc collective of artists, writers, and curators working alongside guest programmers and collaborators.

Click here to see the plumb website
Click here for their Instagram @the_plumb

Click here to watch Emma Welch and Séamus Gallagher accepting this award.



Tangled Art + Disability Gallery: $5,000 

The Project Support Award will be used to mount an upcoming exhibition. In the exhibition, Curator in Residence, Max Ferguson, will articulate the way de-colonial aesthetics and disability culture support one another. The tentative title of the exhibition is Curation as Care. The show will seek to explore how we can support disabled artists in a world that can be inhospitable to disability.

Ferguson’s curatorial approach, as a disability artist, disrupts the productivity-based approach to exhibition making, and instead centres methods of compassion and care in innovative ways, so that we can gesture towards a more ideal art world. The Tangled Art + Disability Gallery dedicates itself to the enhancement of opportunities for artists with disabilities. It promotes the possibility of a world that honours access, disability, and difference.

Click here to see the Tangled Arts website
Click here to see their Instagram @tangled_arts

Click here to see Sean Lee, Director of Programming at Tangled Art + Disability Gallery, accept this award.
Being Scene at Workman Arts: $5,000

Workman Arts has been given this Project Support Award to assist with the 21st annual Being Scene exhibition showcasing over 100 artworks by 60+ artists with lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues. The exhibition runs from March 31-May 31, 2022 with both virtual and in-person viewing options. Being Scene also offers a free event series including artist tours, panel discussions, and in-conversation events.

The artwork on display spans a wide range of conceptual and material approaches—from painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture to media art, installation, and performance—and gives voice to diverse life experiences. Workman Arts is a multidisciplinary arts organization that promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction issues through creation and presentation. Workman Arts supports artists living with mental health and addiction issues through peer-to-peer arts education, public presentations, and partnerships with the broader arts community.

Click here to see the Workman Arts website
Click here to see their Instagram @workmanartsto

Click here to watch artists from Workman Arts respond to this award.





Congratulations to all our awardees, and a huge THANK YOU to all the members of TFVA who worked on the awards committees – a job very well done!


We look forward to seeing everyone on May 10th, 2023, for a Tribute Night in person.

Best Wishes,

Frances Price
President, TFVA

PS Please check out our website and Instagram any time for news on our previous winners.




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