CERLAC recognizes exceptional scholarship on the Latin American diaspora in Canada

Image announcing Awards

York University PhD student Tamara Toledo (Department of Visual Art and Art History) and MFA film student Jean Pierre Marchant (Department of Cinema and Media Arts) were named the recipients of the 2020 TLN Telelatino Award from the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC). An honorable mention was also awarded to PhD student Asheda Dwyer (Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought).

The TLN Telelatino Award is awarded annually to an undergraduate or graduate student at York University on the basis of outstanding work on the experiences of the Latin America diaspora in Canada. The prize was established in 2009 by a donation made to York University by Telelatino (TLN), a television channel that broadcasts multicultural programs of interest to the Latin American and Italian communities throughout Canada. Two prizes of $1,000 each are awarded annually.

Tamara Toledo
Tamara Toledo

Toledo, a doctoral student in art history and visual culture, uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore issues of power and representation. She is an accomplished curator, arts administrator, and visual artist. She is co-founder of the Allende Arts Festival and the Latin American – Canadian Art Projects (LACAP), a not-for-profit arts organization that implements art projects that promote Latin American art in Canada. At LACAP she has curated numerous solo and group exhibitions as well as the organization’s Latin American Speakers Series. She has presented at conferences in Montreal, New York, Vancouver, Chicago and Toronto, and her writing has appeared in ARM Journal, C Magazine, Fuse and Canadian Art. Toledo is currently the curator/director of Sur Gallery, Toronto’s first gallery space dedicated to the implementation of art projects showcasing and promoting contemporary Latin American artistic practices.

“Toledo’s essay ‘Space and Recognition: Curating Latin American Art in Toronto’ documents a very impressive body of curatorial work. The essay is compelling, frank, and connects autobiographical experience to broader themes of state power and surveillance, illustrating a sophisticated theorization of both context and aesthetic expression,” said a member of the CERLAC Awards Committee.

Marchant is a second-year MFA student in film whose work touches on class, politics and complicated histories of migration and exile. He uses his own family archive, found footage, narration, and the remediation of media from the forces of commerce, politics and culture to better understand the hopes, dreams and disappointments of his migrant parents.

His award-winning entry, the short film A Life on the Borderlands, explores the experiences of his father, who immigrated to Montreal from Chile in the early 1970s after a hard-scrabble life on the streets of Santiago. “Marchant’s work spoke to us in varied and deeply moving ways. We were impressed by the film’s creative use of materials (particularly home movies and slides) and aesthetic sophistication, as well as its outstanding musical score,” said a member of the CERLAC Awards Committee.

“On behalf of everyone in AMPD, I am delighted to congratulate the recipients of the TLN Telelatino Award for their outstanding contributions to representations of the Latin American diaspora in Canada. These award-winning projects demonstrate the significant impact that the arts and visual culture make in society and the critical importance of diverse representation across media and audiences. My thanks and congratulations to them and their faculty on this recognition from CERLAC. I look forward to what they will do next,” said Sarah Bay-Cheng, dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design.

Asheda Dwyer
Asheda Dwyer

Dwyer, a doctoral student in social and political thought in the stream of Black studies and theories of race and racism, is jointly pursuing a graduate diploma in curatorial studies and visual culture at York. She is also co-founder of a communal library project located in northern Chile called La Biblioteca de Liberación Negra [Library of Black Liberation], which operates as a free, multilingual, communal literacy space for Black and Indigenous peoples.

Her prize-winning poem “A Personal Dispatch from Slavery in Chile” examines Chile’s history of whiteness, exploring the country’s racial hierarchy as a primary feature of its modernity. Dwyer eloquently describes her work as “an offering: an ode to the memory of one of the earliest migration of Africans, whose arrival into centuries of forced enslavement, and their subsequent survival, etch the Andean interiors of the longest country in the world.” Dwyer’s work “particularly stood out for its affective impact and aesthetic achievement,” said a member of the CERLAC Awards Committee.

The prize-winning entries have been made available online as part of CERLAC’s TLN Telelatino Winning Essays Series.