Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Announces the 2023 Artist Award Winners

Frances Price, President of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts, announces the recipients of the Artist Prizes. “In 2023, the 25th anniversary of Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts, we have awarded three prizes, one prize, and two finalist prizes, to artists with compelling and multi-faceted practices. The Artist Prize committee has done their due diligence in researching, analyzing, and awarding prizes based on merit. Congratulations to our award winners!”

Since its founding 25 years ago, TFVA has distributed well over 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.

To honour the 2023 Artist Prize recipients, the TFVA has invited Curator Alex Bowron to record a visual presentation.

Alex Bowron is a Toronto-based writer and curator and current director of Galerie Nicolas Robert Toronto. Previously Alex was programs and partnerships manager for the Canadian Art Foundation and assistant director of MKG127. Bowron holds an MA with honours in Critical Cultural Theory from the University of Leeds, UK (2013), a BFA with distinction in Sculpture/Installation from OCAD University (2012), and a BA in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia (2004).

Each video presentation is located at the end of each Artist Prize recipient’s brief biography.

Artist Prize of $15,000 is awarded to Maria Hupfield

In her practice, Maria follows leads, employing a range of materials and processes toward sculptural objects that often extend into performance, public engagement, and collaboration with other artists. She is interested in the production of shared moments that open spaces for possibility and new narratives. Hupfield is an Urban, off-reservation member of the Anishinaabek People and belongs to Wasauksing First Nation in Ontario. In 2022 she was the City of Toronto’s Inaugural ArtworxTO Legacy Artist in Residence and a Mellon Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the Imagination in the Borderlands, Arizona State University. She is currently assistant professor and Canadian Research Chair at the Daniels Faculty at University of Toronto, and Artist in Residence at the Lucas Artists Residency Program, Montalvo Arts Centre in Saratoga, CA. Hupfield is co-owner of Native Art Department International with her husband, artist Jason Lujan, and a founding member of the Indigenous Kinship Collective, NYC.

Click here to view the presentation.

Ration Market Special, 2022, 36 x 60 x 136″, Custom food cart, dehydrated river spinach, custom sim cards, foam, vinyl, metal bowls, spoons, paper pulp, fried onions, water, chili peppers, photography. Commissioned and originally presented by ArtworxTO and The City of Toronto. Image courtesy of the artist.

Artist Prize Finalist of $7,500 is awarded to Alvin Luong

His practice includes sculpture, performance, video, and photography. He merges his own background with working-class community dialogues focused on stories of land and migration. Recent work includes the mining of personal photographs from past travels to produce sculptural installations of computer-manufactured imagery that weave a dystopic narrative around the inevitable impacts of climate change. Luong has screened, exhibited, and held research and resident artist appointments globally, including Boers-Li Gallery (Beijing), Gudskul (Jakarta), and The Polygon Gallery (Vancouver), the Inside-Out Art Museum (Beijing), HB Station Contemporary Art Research Center (Guangzhou), and the Art Gallery of Ontario. His ambitious installation, Ration Market Special was exhibited at Union Station in 2022 and addressed the evolving climate crises by offering sim cards, currency exchange, and ration-distribution in the form of a food stall. He is currently developing new work for Nuit Blanche 2023 and has been long listed for the 2023 Sobey Art Award.

Click here to view the presentation.

Hazmat suit (unborn/ reborn tsunami), 2020, Sewn washi (Japanese paper) using traditional processes of momigami, kakishibu dye, and relief printmaking, patchwork made from prints archived over a decade. Courtesy of National Gallery of Canada.

Artist Prize Finalist of $7,500 is awarded to Alexa Hatanaka

She works sculpturally through performance, cross-disciplinary, and community-based practices. Her work is grounded in sustainable processes, exploring themes related to the resilience of nature, generational knowledge, and historic processes connected to her Japanese heritage. Much of Hatanaka’s work includes relief-printmaking, papermaking and kamiko, the practice of sewing garments out of konnyaku starch-strengthened washi (Japanese paper). Her work is collected and exhibited widely, including at the Art Gallery of Ontario, The British Museum, Canada House, the Toronto Biennial of art and the Guanlan International Print Base in Shenzen, China. Her seminal work Hazmat Suit (unborn/ reborn tsunami) was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada in 2021 and is on view in their contemporary gallery. In early 2023, Hatanaka completed a washi paper-making residency at a Japanese paper mill in Kochi, Japan where she will be returning to exhibit her work at the Ino Cho Paper Museum in 2024.

Click here to view the presentation.

Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts
Contact: Barbara Lemaire,
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