Shoora Majedian wins $30,000 Joseph Plaskett Award in Painting

$10,000 Nancy Petry Award won by Michelle Peraza

Painter Shoora Majedian in her studio.
Photo credit: Byron Dauncey.

Painter Shoora Majedian is the 2022 recipient of the $30,000 Joseph Plaskett postgraduate award in painting. 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 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.”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.

Painter Michelle Peraza in her studio.
Photo credit: Lisa East.

The 2022 Nancy Petry Award was won by Canadian painter Michelle Peraza, who completed a Master of Fine Arts at York University in Ontario in 2022. Of Cuban and Costa Rican descent, Peraza 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. The $10,000 award will allow her to spend two months in Spain, where she will research pre-colonial and colonial Latin American art as well as Spanish Baroque painting. The jury appreciated the powerful and focused qualities of the paintings, which work with and against signifiers of beauty and the female form, all while tackling colonial and identity issues.

Brand new works from both artists will be showcased from October 27th to October 30th at Art Toronto 2022, at booth P1 (Joe Plaskett Foundation). The artists will be in attendance on the opening night (Thursday, October 27) and throughout the art fair.

The award recipients were chosen after a careful assessment of the 30 exceptional applications that were received. The jury met virtually in June 2022. In an effort to accurately represent the variety of viewpoints in Canadian painting, the jury members came from different regions: David Blatherwick, retired painting professor based in Quebec; Kym Greeley, visual artist based in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador; Charlene Vickers, multidisciplinary artist and art educator based in Vancouver, British Columbia.The call for applications will open in February 2023 for the next set of Plaskett and Petry Awards. Canadian artist Joseph Plaskett, who wished to give young Canadian painters the opportunity to discover Europe, created the Joe Plaskett Foundation in 2004. Since 2015, the Nancy Petry Foundation has partnered with the Joe Plaskett Foundation to administer a second prize given to the first runner-up. The award recipients are exceptional emerging Canadian artists in the field of painting who are admitted in a graduate program.

For more information: