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Guelph artist takes first prize in 19th annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition

Guelph's Ambera Wellman wins first place at the 2017 RBC Canadian Painting Competition.
Guelph's Ambera Wellman wins first place at the 2017 RBC Canadian Painting Competition

TORONTO, October 17, 2017 - This evening a jury of acclaimed Canadian artists, curators, and art directors gathered in the nation’s capital to select the winner of the2017 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Ambera Wellmann of Guelph, Ontario won first place among fifteen finalists, and will receive $25,000 for her work entitled Temper Ripened. In addition, two honourable mentions were recognized: Teto Elsiddique from Halifax, Nova Scotia for his work Neckrings, a breezy thing and Veronika Pausova of Toronto, Ontario for her work Typography.

All three paintings will become a permanent addition to RBC’s corporate art collection that includes more than 4,500 works by Canadian artists. In addition to the financial support, all finalists receive valuable mentoring opportunities with the accomplished jurists and gain exposure to national audiences. They also become part of a vibrant and dynamic community of RBC Canadian Painting Competition alumni that continue to stay connected and support one another.

Quick Facts:

  • Since 1999, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition has provided more than 250 artists with an opportunity to exhibit their work on a national scale.
  • All 15 finalists’ paintings are on view at The National Gallery of Canada until October 22, 2017.
  • Past winners of the Competition such as Rebecca Brewer, Arabella Campbell, Patrick Cruz, Colleen Heslin and Tiziana La Melia have gone on to receive considerable international acclaim.
  • The competition awards $85,000 in prize money. Two honourable mentions each receive $15,000 and the remaining 12 finalists receive $2,500 each.
  • Created in collaboration with Canadian Art – Canada's most widely read art magazine – the RBC Canadian Painting Competition provides recognition, mentorship and financial support to emerging artists..


“I am so excited and honoured to be recognized among such extraordinary and talented artists. This competition creates truly valuable opportunities for artists to gain exposure on a national level, and connect personally with other emerging artists across Canada.”
- Ambera Wellmann

Ambera Wellmann is a powerful new voice in Canadian art. Working from a foundation of painterly realism, she curiously crops a ceramic figure, turning it into an ambiguously gendered body. Her painting dissects art history's patriarchal traditions and asserts new representational power dynamics, creating slippery images that both attract the viewer and resist easy reading.

“For many artists, securing that first major opportunity in the art community is challenging, which is why the RBC Canadian Painting Competition is focused on helping emerging artists gain exposure for their work, as well as providing an opportunity for them to connect and engage with art professionals from across Canada.”
- Robin Anthony, curator for RBC

'Canadian Art is pleased to partner with RBC on this important competition, an essential part of our mandate to support emerging artists. We congratulate all finalists, whose evolving talent we'll be watching with excitement and interest.'
- David Balzer, Editor-in-Chief and Co-publisher of Canadian Art magazine

For visuals and descriptions of the winning works, visit

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About Canadian Art
Canadian Art is the preeminent platform for journalism and criticism about art and culture in Canada. Our print, digital, educational and programming initiatives deliver smart, accessible ideas, stories and opinions. A national non-profit foundation, Canadian Art develops and supports art writers, and engages with the work of artists, established and new. Most important, we empower diverse audiences to understand, debate and be inspired by art.

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For more information or to schedule an interview:
Michelle Yao, Brand Communications, RBC,, 647-618-3792
Katy James, Argyle Public Relationships,