2022 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators Awarded to Erin Szikora

We are pleased to announce that tonight the 10th Middlebrook Prize is awarded to emerging curator Erin Szikora. Her proposed exhibition, Homecoming, has been selected as the winning submission and will be presented at Art Gallery of Guelph from September 15 to December 18, 2022. The award was presented at a celebratory awards dinner at George Restaurant.

Created in 2012, the prestigious prize is awarded annually to an emerging Canadian curator, or curatorial team, under 30. 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. Erin joins a growing cohort of leaders in Canadian visual arts of 12 previous Middlebrook Prize winners.

“Not only does the partnership between Middlebrook Prize and Art Gallery of Guelph provide a unique professional development opportunity at a critical point in their careers, the recipients recognized over the last ten years have shaped curatorial practice indelibly” notes AGG Director Shauna McCabe, “Erin is among the country’s best and brightest young curators with a clear sense of the public role and transformative potential of the arts as a force for social change.”

Collective Offerings responds to the compartmentalization and fragmentation produced by colonialism and deepened by this period of unprecedented political, ecological, and public health crises. Recognizing the particularly heavy toll exacted on racialized, migrant, disabled, and low-income communities, the curators will work with artists Meech Boakye, Shirin Fahimi, LAL (Rosina Kazi and Nicholas Murray), Jessica Karuhanga, and Shaista Latif, whose performance and new media practices speak to collective interdependence, mitigating the impacts of isolation for communities, networks of care, and our bodies themselves.

Szikora’s exhibition Homecoming brings together artists Anita Cazzola, Laura Grier, and Justine Woods, and emerges from her curatorial research into alternative economies of artmaking and valuation. Supporting relationship-building as a key element of exhibition design, the artists will be invited to create new works in relation to the idea of returning home and the activities, people, and places that provide safety, stability, and security, all of which have been particularly difficult to locate lately. “As a curator,” states Szikora, “I strive to create opportunities for emerging and mid-career artists, to make space for under-told stories that disrupt and expand the canon, and most importantly, to build caring and lasting relationships with the communities that sustain me.”

The Jury

A huge thank you to this year’s Jury:

  • Darryn Doull (Curator, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery),
  • Jaimie Isaac (Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria), and
  • Bushra Junaid (Independent Curator).
Curator Biographies

Erin Szikora (Cayuga/Scottish/Hungarian) is an emerging curator, researcher, and beadwork artist born and raised in Guelph and currently based in Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Visual Studies from University of Toronto and a Master of Arts in Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media Art Histories from OCAD University. Szikora has worked in curatorial and research roles at Art Gallery of Guelph, Art Canada Institute, Brock University, McMaster Museum of Art, OCAD University, and University of Toronto. She currently works as Assistant Curator – Indigenous Projects at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery where she is co-curating the Oshawa iteration of the project Mamanaw Pekiskwewina | Mother Tongues: Dish With One Spoon Territory with Missy LeBlanc, 2019 Middlebrook Prize winner.

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.

Erin Szikora, Randall Howard, Bob Ramsay, Jacoline Loewen