Prize Winners in the News – Summer 2021

As the world opens up, we are looking forward to TFVA prize winners’ current and future exhibits and projects taking place locally, nationally and internationally in the months ahead. Read on and learn of their wonderful accomplishments. (Note: Some summer exhibitions are continuing into the fall and several are available online.)

Shellie Zhang Artist Prize Finalist 2021

Shellie Zhang is one of the artists featured in the exhibit, Golden Hour, a thoughtfully curated selection of contemporary Canadian artworks that highlights the unique practices of artists whose work focuses on the Prairies. At The Gallery/Art Placement in Saskatoon (September 1-12), Golden Hour was designed to bring the public closer to their local art community by increasing the visibility of local and national artists.

Click here to learn more:

Vera Frenkel: Founders Achievement Award 2008
Janet Cardiff: Project Support Award 2001

Tracing Language
9 August – 19 September 2021

The Oakville Gallery’s Tracing Language includes the work of TFVA prize winners Vera Frenkel and Janet Cardiff. The exhibition features a selection of language-related works created between 1990 and 2000, a tumultuous decade in which the art world saw significant technological and societal changes, as responded in creative and critical ways to the internet and digital language. Many are also engaged with how words operated as a tool of commerce and empire, and how breaking down linguistic systems could create moments of resistance and refusal. Other works aimed to centre and empower Indigenous voices, or to put forward an embodied understanding of language, which showed the vital importance of maintaining the rituals and traditions of everyday life.

Click here for more information:

Edward Burtynsky: Founders Achievement Award 2008

Museum London No Small Terror through October 10, 2021. This exhibition features a selection of photographs that Burtynsky gifted to Museum London in 2019. The works trace his career from the early 1980s to 2017. The artist’s dramatic, often abstracted, images record ecological changes wrought by humans across the globe. This exhibition includes works focused on the themes that have informed Burtynsky’s work over this almost forty-year period, including the industrial modification of our inhabited landscapes, the devastation caused by environmental exploitation, and the advent of the “Anthropocene”—a geological term for the Earth’s industrial epoch. Burtynsky bears witness to these harsh realities through photographic compositions that, ironically, brim with an almost painterly beauty. As the artist notes, “The greatest existential threat is thinking that the next generation will fix the problem.”

Click here to learn more:


Erika DeFreitas: Artist Prize Finalist 2016

Ottawa-based curator Darren Pottie answered the Canada’s Portrait Gallery’s first national call to curators. The result is the online exhibition, In Keeping with Myself, (August 19, 2021 – February 18, 2022), which features self-portraits created by 19 contemporary Indigenous and Canadian artists, including Erika DeFreitas. By using self-portraiture as a means of reconciling deeply personal challenges, the artists explore the internal self and the physical self within the context and constraints of the human, natural and virtual worlds. The artworks include digital and film photography, video, collage, sculpture, mixed media, installation, projection, beadwork, textiles, journal entries, interviews, collaborations, and a 3D rendering.

Click here to learn more:

Winnie Truong, Lead Artist for STEPS: Project Support 2021

HOST: A Virtual Contemporary Art Project
June 17 – September 17, 2021

HOST is a borderless project curated by Amy Ash. Part art exhibition and part walking simulator game, it exists entirely online. With animated walls, interactive navigation, and hyperlinked portals, HOST brings together works by eleven contemporary artists who offer glimmers of reciprocity by caring for the places where mutual understanding, appreciation, and hope take root amid the tangle of contemporary issues. The art of Winnie Truong, Lead Artist for Steps Public Art, a TFVA Project Support Award 2021, is among the featured works.

Instagram: @host_project_ // @thirdspacegallery
Online here

Sandra Brewster: Artist Prize 2018

Sandra’s installation Blur, concludes September 21, 2021 at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre of Queen’s University. In this exhibition Brewster uses an unpredictable gel transfer process to evoke the complexities of global movement, such as the migration of her parents and their peers who left Guyana for Toronto in the late 1960’s.

Click here to learn more.

Sandra Brewster is featured in the latest Border Crossings, Issue 157. The issue focuses on photography and readers will be treated to photography portfolios by Sandra Brewster — images of individuals who have special significance for her. Included in the issue are interviews with the legendary Nan Goldin; Canadian photographer Chuck Samuels; and Governor General Visual Arts recipient Lori Blondeau, among others. (A bonus: This issue contains TFVA’s ad congratulating our latest prize winners.)

Click here for highlights and the issue.


Nadia Bellerique: Artist Prize 2015
Chris Curreri: Artist Prize 2011

The exhibition, Photography is Hard, is at Toronto’s Daniel Faria Gallery from August 7 to September 25 and features the work of both Nadia Bellerique and Chris Curreri. The exhibition focuses on works that bear evidence of their making: a photograph is re-photographed, a camera part ends up in the frame, a subject is illuminated by an artificial flash, collaged images reveal their artifice through their construction.

Click here to learn more.

Jon Sasaki: Artist Prize Finalist 2009

Jon’s work was featured in the August 6 Art Canada Institute newsletter entitled “Inspired by Tom Thomson – 12 Canadian Artists Respond.” Many artists, poets, playwrights, novelists, filmmakers, musicians and visual artists have been motivated by the quintessentially Canadian landscapes of Tom Thomson whose work “continues to awe us with his extraordinary vivid, fresh and spirited depictions of wilderness that preoccupy Canadian artists of all disciplines because of how they came to embody an ideal of this country’s cultural identity”.

Click here to view the newsletter.

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Robert Houle: Founders Achievement Prize 2020

Robert’s work was featured in the Art Canada Institute’s July 2 newsletter entitled “Art for Mourning and a Call for Change.” Robert has played a crucial role in initiating discussions about political and cultural issues surrounding First Nations People. During this most recent time of mourning and urgent need for change, his art has particular poignancy, encouraging a renewed vision of the world.

Click here to view the newsletter.

Esmaa Mohamoud: Artist Prize 2019 is featured in two current exhibitions:

Esmaa is one of several artists in the Beltway summer collection of outdoor and online artist-led projects launched on July 8, 2021. Entitled Playing in Public, the collection contains expansive and interactive programs allowing for a discovery of “play” in the city. Driven by partnerships with creatives, residents, local business associations, public spaces, and civic leaders, the program includes 8 art installations, a connective Play Path, roaming and audio experiences, and more. Playing in Public takes inspiration from the deeply intertwined relationship between play and public space. From playgrounds and basketball courts, to interactive signage and apps that map the city in new ways – play exists both within the boundaries of built public spaces and outside of them. Artists, designers, and planners have long used games to ask questions about the city – investigating new approaches to education, navigation, identity, and history. How does play change the way we feel and interact in public space? How has the nature of play changed in a post-COVID city?

See the Bentway’s website here for other programming on view at this time.

At the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Esmaa exhibits To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat (March 21 – October 24, 2021) aimed at re-examining understandings of contemporary Blackness. The exhibition questioned definitions of Blackness as a colour and shade, and/or as a societal or cultural construction. Taking inspiration from the African American writer Ralph Ellison, Esmaa explored the ways in which Black bodies at once appear – and yet are rendered metaphorically invisible – within the spaces they navigate. Through sculpture, photography, video, and installation, she investigated how high-level athletics operate as sites of corporate profit and discrimination.

For further information click here.

Laurie Kang: Artist Prize Finalist 2015

Camera Austria International (Issue 154: 2021) features Candice Hopkins’ essay “Evolutionary Images and the Embodied Archive” which focuses on the work of Laurie Kang. Exploring and referencing each specific space in which her works are presented preoccupies Laurie Kang. In the exhibition space, the artist installs long sheets of (consistently sensitive) photo emulsion paper along a supporting structure. Thus, over the course of time, the surrounding space becomes inscribed in the works of art, as the changes of light and the environment become visible.

Online here.

Laurie Kang: Artist Prize Finalist 2015
Chris Curreri: Artist Prize 2011

Unfixed, The Entangled Works of Chris Curreri and Laurie Kang
was shown at the Gordon Smith Gallery, North Vancouver from April 8 – June 5, 2021. The exhibition explored how the concepts of fixing and unfixing operate as metaphorical and artistic strategies in the work of two TFVA prize-winners, Chris Curreri and Laurie Kang. Through works of photography, installation, and sculpture, these artists suggested a network of connectivity between traditional understandings around photography, art history, and intimate personal narratives. Unfixed was curated by Meredith Preuss.

For information on the catalogue which features new writings by Sky Goodden on Chris Curreri and Jacqueline Zong-Li Ross on the work of Laurie Kang click here.

Click here to view a talk with the artists about the exhibit

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