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Inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art Prizes Awarded

Above: Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Reveries of an Underground Forest, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.
Above: Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Reveries of an Underground Forest, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

TORONTO, CANADA—On the eve of the opening of the first Toronto Biennial of Art, which launched on Saturday, September 21, and is on view until December 1, the exhibition revealed that Abel Rodríguez has been selected as the winner of its inaugural Art Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the biennial, and Hera Büyüktaşçıyan has been named the first recipient of its Emerging Artist Prize. Both awards come with a monetary prize of $15,000.

Titled “The Shoreline Dilemma” and curated by Candice Hopkins and Tairone Bastien, the exhibition explores the implications of Toronto’s ever-changing shoreline. The biennial invited its ninety participating artists to engage with Toronto’s history and with questions such as: What does it mean to be in relation? “I am extremely humbled to have been a part of this journey, which led all of the artists to dive into the depths of Toronto’s lost rivers and forests,” said Büyüktaşçıyan whose work is on view at at 259 Lake Shore Blvd East. “They are a reminder of who and what existed before, and allow us to question the present through a different understanding of history.”

The 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art jury comprised Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Turin, Italy; Mark Godfrey, senior curator of international art at Tate Modern, London; Swiss artist Brian Jungen, who works in British Columbia; Meg Onli, assistant curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; and Kitty Scott, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

“We are thrilled to recognize the exceptional work of all the prize recipients, and hope this support helps them further develop their already impactful practices,” said biennial executive director Patrizia Libralato. “We are also grateful to the esteemed international jury for their efforts, and to our visionary patrons for spearheading support for this initiative in our inaugural year.”

September 24, 2019