Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Announces 2022 Awards

Artist Prize Winner Ghazaleh Avarzamani, Who Watches The Watchers, glass and grout, Aga Khan Museum, 2021. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.


April 26, 2022 – Frances Price, President of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts, is delighted to announce this year’s list of talented recipients of $70,000 in awards.

“Yet again, we are not gathering in person for our annual May Tribute Night, but we hope for a return of the festivities in 2023.”

Since its founding 24 years ago, TFVA has distributed more than 1 million dollars in prize money to the visual arts community in Toronto.

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 Dennis Reid

In 1967, Reid graduated with an MA in the History of Art from the University of Toronto and was appointed the National Gallery of Canada’s Curator of Post-Confederation Canadian Art. In 1979, Dennis was appointed Curator of Historical Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario where, for over almost 40 years, 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. At the University of Toronto, he taught generations of today’s leading art historians until his retirement in 2018. His book, A Concise History of Canadian Painting (1973) was, for many years, the definitive volume on Canadian art. As a scholar and 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.

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

Artist Prize: $15,000 to Ghazaleh Avarzamani

Ghazaleh Avarzamani uses a variety of media to create works that challenge structures of knowledge production and investigate human behaviours, 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). In 2022, she will hold a residency at the prestigious Delfina Foundation in London, UK.

Artist Prize Finalist: $5,000 to Sameer Farooq

Sameer Farooq uses sculpture, installation, photography, documentary filmmaking and writing to investigate tactics of representation and explore forms of collecting, interpreting, and display. Based in Toronto, Farooq is a Canadian artist of Pakistani and Ugandan Indian descent. He holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. 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) among many others.

Artist Prize Finalist: $5,000 to Dana Prieto

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. Born in Argentina and based in Toronto, Prieto holds an MVS from the University of Toronto. Dana’s work has been presented widely, including in the University of Toronto Art Museum, La Tribu (Buenos Aires), Museo del Hambre (Buenos Aires), and the Toronto Biennial of Art. Dana’s work has been covered in national and international publications including CBC’s This Art Works! The Series and Exhibitionists.

Project Support Awards

$10,000 to Onsite Gallery at OCAD U
With the help of the Project Support Award, the Onsite Gallery at OCAD U will transfer the handwritten records of the items in its permanent collection to a new database that will eventually be available to scholars and the general public. The permanent collection includes over 8,000 works from Canadian and international artists dating from the 1880s to present.

$5,000 to the Toronto Sculpture Garden
The Project Support Award assists in creating an archival website for the TSG. The works of hundreds of artists from 1982– 2014 will be curated, described and documented by Rina Greer. Through temporary exhibitions, educational events and direct access to artists, the TSG has fostered familiarity with and understanding of contemporary art and provided a unique space for artists.

$5,000 to the plumb
The Project Support Award will assist the plumb to install a lightbox in the alleyway outside the gallery space, in a position that provides significant space for display. the plumb is an artist-run project focussing on emerging and culturally diverse artists and curators.

$5,000 to Tangled Art + Disability Gallery
The TFVA prize will support Curator-in-Residence Max Ferguson to mount an exhibition tentatively titled Curation as Care that will explore ways to support disabled artists in a world that is hostile to disability. The Tangled Art + Disability Gallery dedicates itself to the enhancement opportunities for artists with disabilities and promotes a world that honours access, disability and difference.

$5,000 to Workman Arts
Workman Arts has been given the Project Support Award to assist with the 21st annual Being Scene exhibition that showcases over 100 works by artists living with mental health and/or addiction challenges. The exhibition will run until May 31, 2022 with both virtual and in-person viewing options. Workman Arts is the longest running multi-disciplinary arts and mental health organization in North America.

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