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RBC unveils Canada’s top 15 emerging artists for prestigious Canadian Painting Competition


Canada’s finest up-and-coming artists celebrated and supported by RBC and Canadian Art Foundation


TORONTO, June 24, 2015 -  Some of Canada’s finest young painters, whose works are now displayed in galleries around the world, can trace their early career success to participating in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Shortlisted from among 615 competitors, 15 painters now have that same chance to elevate their careers and join the final round of RBC’s 17th annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition today. The competition is part of the RBC Emerging Artists Project, supporting up and coming artists across the country, giving young talent a jump-start to success.

"Every year we are truly impressed by the submissions we receive for the RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Each is truly impressive and reflects a wealth of budding talent from many different communities across the country,” said Robin Anthony, curator for RBC. “The work we come across only strengthens our commitment to showcasing these young artists and doing what we can to help them along their chosen path. Our goal is that they emerge from this experience empowered to not just pursue a career in the arts, but also with the industry knowledge, exposure and financial acumen to be successful.”

“The Canadian Art Foundation has partnered with RBC for the past 16 years to realize our shared vision in supporting the development of new artists in the early delicate phase of their careers,” said Jill Birch, CEO of the Canadian Art Foundation and publisher of Canadian Art magazine. “This year’s RBC Canadian Painting Competition finalists all have bright careers ahead of them.”

Each year, a jury comprised of some of Canada’s most accomplished artists, art directors, curators and art critics convene with the challenging task of short listing 15 artists to propel to the next level. Jury members informally mentor the chosen group in the arts, while RBC advisors work to empower them with the financial smarts required to make a successful career out of their inherent talent.

In its 17th year, the Competition will award a total of $85,000 in prize money. The winner will receive a purchase prize of $25,000, two honourable mentions will each receive $15,000 and the remaining 12 finalists receive $2,500 each. The winner and the two honourable mentions paintings will also receive a prestigious spot among the over 4,000 pieces of art belonging to RBC's valuable corporate art collection – on display within RBC offices, reception areas and boardrooms across Canada, the United States and London, England. Between June and November this year, when the winners are announced, the 15 finalists will be part of numerous initiatives designed to showcase their talent and excite Canadians about art.

"Winning the prize has had a positive impact on my current work,” said Tiziana La Melia, winner of the 2014 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. "It has helped my work to be seen and has given me more time to work in the studio, to travel to exhibitions, and to involve myself in projects with artists, curators, and writers."

Tiziana La Melia has participated in a number of important group and solo exhibitions. In 2015, she presented solo exhibitions The Eyelash and The Monochrome at Mercer Union in Toronto and Innocence at Home at CSA Projects in Vancouver. Tiziana's current and upcoming group exhibitions include Stopping the Sun in its Course, Francois Gheblay, Los Angeles, Through a Window, Audain/SFU Gallery, Vancouver, and a group show at Cooper Cole, Toronto. A collection of her writing, Oral Like Cloaks, Dialect will be published this year by Publication Studio, Vancouver.

The 2015 RBC Canadian Painting Competition finalists are:

Tristan Unrau - Vancouver, BC Claire Scherzinger - Toronto, ON Andrew Maize - Lunenberg, NS
Robert Taite - Winnipeg, MB Caroline Larsen - Toronto, ON John Player - Montreal, QC
Russell Leng - Vancouver, BC Hanna Hur - Toronto, ON/Los Angeles, CA Cindy Phenix - Montreal, QC
Megan Hepburn - Vancouver, BC Jessica Bell - Ottawa, ON Paul Hardy - Montreal QC
Simon deBrée - Vancouver, BC/Stockholm, Sweden Patrick Cruz - Guelph, ON Hangama Amiri - Halifax, NS

Please note: High res of the submissions are available upon request.

The winner and two honourable mentions will be announced at a gala on November 16, 2015. Initiatives to showcase the finalists’ and winners’ works preceding and following the gala will be announced in the weeks to come.

In 2014, the RBC Foundation committed $6.5 million to arts and cultural organizations, supporting local, national and international initiatives. The RBC Emerging Artists Project helps artists bridge the gap from emerging to established, and supports organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance their career trajectory. We support arts organizations and artists in a range of genres including visual art, music, theatre, performance, literature and film.

For additional information on the finalists or to view their paintings and work, visit

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RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2014, we contributed more than $111 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $76 million and $35 million in sponsorships.

The Canadian Art Foundation (CAF) is a not-for-profit charitable organization that brings art enthusiasts and artists together. CAF publishes Canadian Art, Canada's most widely read art magazine, both in print and digitally, and also produces compelling series of talks, events and educational programs. As the ultimate portal for exposure to the visual arts in Canada, the Canadian Art Foundation provides extraordinary programming that keeps audiences engaged with the arts in their cities as well as nationally, creating an environment for art discovery, growth and curiosity.

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For more information or to schedule an interview:
Jason Graham, RBC, 416-669-8435
Joanne D’Souza, Argyle Communications, 416-968-7311, ext. 236