2020 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators is Awarded to Maya Wilson-Sanchez

The 8th annual prize has been awarded to emerging curator Maya Wilson-Sanchez. Her project, Grounding, has been selected as the winning submission and will be presented at Art Gallery of Guelph from September 17 to December 13, 2020. The award was presented at a gala ceremony at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto on March 5, 2020.

Created in 2012, the prestigious prize is awarded annually to an emerging Canadian curator. By supporting and mobilizing Canadian creative talent, the Middlebrook Prize aims to inspire positive social change through creativity in an era of ongoing and unprecedented economic, environmental, and cultural challenges. Maya joins a growing cohort of leaders in Canadian visual arts now numbering 10 Middlebrook Prize winners.

Jury Impressed

This year’s Jury was composed of:

  • Julie Crooks (Associate Curator, Photography, at the Art Gallery of Ontario),
  • Sally Frater (Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Guelph), and
  • Lisa Volpe (Associate Curator, Photography, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston).

“The partnership between the Middlebrook Prize and Art Gallery of Guelph provides a unique professional development opportunity for emerging curatorial practitioners. I look forward to working with Maya as she brings her dynamic project to fruition.”

Sally Frater, Art Gallery of Guelph

Engaging the resource-based economies that connect Canada and South America, Grounding brings together artists Tsēmā Igharas of Tahltan First Nation, Ximena Garrido-Lecca of Peru, and Dana Prieto of Argentina, as well as Métis artist and academic Warren Cariou. With artwork that is “made from the ground, using as its material basis the same valuable natural resources that drive world economies,” for Wilson-Sanchez “the artists propose a relationship to these materials beyond that of capital accumulation and environmental destruction.”

“The title of the exhibition suggests both the grounding of the natural materials that are taken from the earth to create artworks while offering context about the residual effects for communities affected by mining. I look forward to seeing the project (and practice) of this emerging curator, writer, and researcher unfold.”

Julie Crooks, Art Gallery of Ontario

`“Not only original in concept, the topic is increasingly timely. I applaud the curator for also taking into account the monetary implications of the art world, and her own exhibition, on extractive economies. My congratulations go to Wilson-Sanchez for this well- deserved prize.”

Lisa Volpe, Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Curator’s Biography

Maya Wilson-Sanchez is a curator and writer based in Toronto. She holds a BA in Visual and Critical Studies from OCAD University, where she co-founded the Journal of Visual and Critical Studies and co-directed the OCAD U Student Press, and an MA in Art History from the University of Toronto. She has published essays, reviews, and exhibition texts in multiple venues including the Senses and Society journal, the book Other Places: Reflections on Media Arts in Canada (2019), and in the upcoming anthology Community of Images: Strategies of Appropriation in Canadian Art, 1977-1990 (2020).

Wilson-Sanchez has worked in collection, research, programming and curatorial research roles at Gallery TPW, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Onsite Gallery, Xpace Cultural Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum. She co-curated Living Room (2017) inside The Family Camera exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum and curated Intra-Action: Live Performance Art (2016, 2017) at Xpace Cultural Centre. In 2019, she was Editorial Resident at Canadian Art and held a curatorial residency award at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. In 2020, she will be participating in the Tate Intensive program at Tate Modern.

Thank You

Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators is made possible through the support of Middlebrook Social Innovation Fund at Centre Wellington Community Foundation, Musagetes Fund at Guelph Community Foundation, and private donations.