2022 Plaskett Award Winner – Shoora Majedian
Shoora Majedian lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia. Originally from Tehran, Iran, she completed her Master of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2021. In her works, Majedian examines personal and social memories influenced by her childhood in Iran and her embodied experiences pre and post-migration. She builds storytelling through painting, and investigates socio-political issues through visual language.
The jury was impressed by Majedian’s ability to capture the zeitgeist in works that feel simultaneously loose, alive, and beautifully painted. Every painting appears to be telling its own story, through the expressiveness and emotion of the human figures rendered therein. The singular colour palette and original compositional strategies make the works all the more intriguing.
The award will allow her to spend six months in Europe, where she plans to divide her time between Germany, London, Paris and Amsterdam. This period of great freedom will allow her to explore new ideas: “Expanding the visual narrative with symbolic elements, different ground sizes, and incorporating photographs as references, are what I would like to push further. Visiting some of the great museums will allow me to explore formal and historical figure depiction boundaries. I am particularly interested in German painters, both contemporary ones and those associated with German Neo-Objectivity and Expressionism, but I am also inspired by the great female painters who refer to mythological strategies and the use of real-life models.”
2022 Petry Award Winner – Michelle Peraza
Michelle Peraza is a Canadian artist of Cuban and Costa Rican descent. She completed her MFA at York University, Ontario. As a second-generation Latin American Canadian painter, she explores LatinX identity through photorealistic larger-than-life portraits of individuals close to her, people who are often unseen in the history of the painted portrait. Her deft use of painterly codes allows her to deconstruct colonial history and contribute to develop a more nuanced LatinX identity.
With the $10,000 Petry Award, Peraza plans to research pre-colonial and colonial Latin American art as well as Spanish Baroque painting in specific museum collections and archives in Spain to address the post-colonial LatinX experience through contemporary painting. She is specifically interested in exploring Mesoamerican codices and Casta Paintings, a genre of painting from eighteenth century Mexico that portrays racial mixing between Spaniards, Indigenous and African peoples. She also intends to research at the National Library of Spain for its extensive collection of Latin American books and manuscripts related to fine arts during the colonial period. Finally, she intends visit The Prado Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia, paying particular attention to the work of Diego Velázquez.
The jury found Peraza’s works to be powerful and focused. They work with and against signifiers of beauty and the female form, all while tackling colonial and identity issues. They appreciated the presence and gesture of the body, in contrast with the minimal canvas setup, as well as the use of delicate outlined elements (vase, chair, lace) against more classical painting techniques.