Prefix ICA Introduces the Prefix Prize


Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art is proud to introduce the Prefix Prize, a new annual prize awarded to a professional photographic artist of any nationality. Presented by Prefix ICA in partnership with the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival and Underline Studio, the inaugural prize will be launched in May 2021 in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Prefix ICA and the twenty-fifth anniversary of Contact. The prize consists of three components: a cash prize of $2,000.00 CA, a published portfolio, and an exhibition presented in the surround gallery at Prefix ICA – all in the month of May on the occasion of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. The Prefix Prize, which will have a reach of 1,128,000, will be awarded to artists at any stage of their careers who have yet to receive the recognition that they deserve.

The prize winner will be selected by an esteemed jury of five photographic art professionals, including representatives from Prefix ICA, Contact and Underline Studio, along with two additional experts drawn from the broader arts community. For the inaugural prize in May 2021, the jury includes Pamela Edmonds, senior curator, McMaster Museum of Art; Fidel Peña, creative director, Underline Studio; Bonnie Rubenstein, artistic director, Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival; and Scott McLeod, founding director, Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, as well as one other juror yet to be announced.

Entrants for the Prefix Prize must be professional photographic artists who have completed their basic education or training and who have produced an independent body of artwork. To be considered for the prize, entrants must submit up to ten images representing their work, along with a completed entry form consisting of an artist’s statement or other text about the work, a biography and an images list. The number of entries is limited in order to guarantee that the jury spends a significant amount of time in their assessment of each entry and to ensure that the entrant has a strong chance of winning. Entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. At their discretion, the jury may also choose to award up to two honourable mentions.

Entry forms, including guidelines, FAQs and other essential information, are available for downloading at Entries are subject to a fee of $65.00 CA. The deadline for the submission of entries is October 30, 2020.

About the jurors
Pamela Edmonds is a curator whose research interests focus on contemporary Canadian art and the politics of representation. Originally from Montréal, she holds a BFA in Studio Art/Art History and an MA in Art History from Concordia University. She has been an advocate for inclusive curatorial practices and cultural equity throughout her career, evidenced by her work with numerous collectives and grassroots organizations, including Third Space Art Projects, the We Curate, We Critique collective and the Black Curators Forum, the latter a national networking initiative. Along with numerous exhibition publications, her writing has appeared in Canadian Art, Prefix Photo, Arts Atlantic, M,I,C,E, Magazine and RACAR: Revue d’art canadienne/Canadian Art Review, and she also recently served on the National Advisory Board for C Magazine. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, she is senior curator at the McMaster Museum of Art.

Fidel Peña is co-founder, with Claire Dawson, of Underline Studio, a strategic branding and design agency in Toronto, where he currently serves as a creative director. Born in El Salvador, he has lectured on the subject of design in Spain, Mexico and Canada. His projects for Underline include identity and branding for the Harvard Medical School and the University of Toronto, and campaigns and publications for Audi, Google and UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency. The recipient of numerous international accolades, including from Communication Arts, D&AD, Latin American Design Awards, Laus and the Type Directors Club, Underline Studio was named Design Studio of the Year, 2019, by the Advertising and Design Club of Canada.

Bonnie Rubenstein is the artistic director of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival (Toronto), where she established the curated programme of public installations and primary exhibitions. Since 2002, she has overseen hundreds of projects by established and emerging artists from Canada and around the world, and she has curated numerous site-specific installations and gallery exhibitions. In 2019, she and her festival team presented and contextualized selected works from the international, Poland-based collective, Sputnik Photos, for an exhibition at Brookfield Place.

Scott McLeod is the founding director of Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art (Toronto), where he currently serves as the co-programmer (with Gerald McMaster) of the Urban Field Speakers Series and the editor of Prefix Photo magazine. In the past twenty years, he has curated more than sixty-five exhibitions and has authored more than sixty catalogue essays and other texts for publishers including Casino Luxembourg, the Warwick Arts Centre, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and YYZ Books. He has lectured in numerous public institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, and has served as a juror and nominator for an array of international awards and grants, including the Prix Pictet, the National Magazine Awards, the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards, the Scotiabank Photography Award and the OAAG Awards, among others. A member of AICA Canada and IKT International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, he lives and works in Toronto.

About Prefix ICA
Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art is a public art gallery with the distinguishing features of publishing an art magazine, Prefix Photo, and presenting an international lecture series, the Urban Fields Speakers Series. A registered charitable organization based in Toronto, Prefix ICA fosters the appreciation and understanding of contemporary photographic, media and digital arts through exhibitions, publications, public programmes and related activities.

Image credit: Wordmark designed by the award-wining team at Underline Studio, Toronto

For more information, please contact Prefix ICA at 1-416-591-0357 or


Institutional Supporters
Canada Council for the Arts
Ontario Arts Council
Toronto Arts Council

Presentation Partners
Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival
Underline Studio