Alum Michelle Peraza wins 2022 Petry Award   » School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
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Alum Michelle Peraza wins 2022 Petry Award  

Alum Michelle Peraza wins 2022 Petry Award  

Nancy Petry Foundation and the Joe Plaskett Foundation announced AMPD alum Michelle Peraza (MFA 2022) as the recipient of the 2022 Petry Award. The award recognizes Peraza as an outstanding emerging Canadian artist in the field of painting.  

Peraza is a second-generation Latin American Canadian of Cuban and Costa Rican descent. In her work as an MFA student and her professional painting career, Peraza explores LatinX identity through photorealistic larger-than-life portraits of individuals close to her, people who are often unseen in the history of the painted portrait. Her deft use of painterly codes allows her to deconstruct colonial history and contribute to developing a more nuanced LatinX identity.  

"Michelle Peraza was a wonderful MFA student to work with; focused, open, and incredibly hard-working,' says Dr. Janet Jones, AMPD Professor and Peraza's MFA supervisor. "Her love of her Latinx culture & her desire to research & explain her background can be clearly felt in her complex and highly realistic paintings. "  

The Petry Award jury oversaw the adjudication of over 30 nominees and consists of three distinguished visual artists representing a variety of Canadian painting viewpoints. Members include David Blatherwick, a retired painting professor based in Quebec; Kym Greeley, a visual artist based in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador; Charlene Vickers, a multidisciplinary artist and art educator based in Vancouver, British Columbia.  

The jury found Peraza's works powerful and focused. The jury appreciated the presence and gesture of the body, in contrast with the minimal canvas setup, as well as the use of delicate outlined elements (vase, chair, lace) against more classical painting techniques.  

"The pieces work with and against signifiers of beauty and the female form, all while tackling colonial and identity issues," said the Petry Award jury.  

The award comes with a $10,000 prize for the winner to live and travel abroad for two months, creating artwork and fostering inspiration. Peraza plans to use the prize to research pre-colonial and colonial Latin American art along with Spanish Baroque painting in Spain to address the post-colonial LatinX experience through contemporary painting.   

Peraza will explore Mesoamerican codices and Casta Paintings, a genre of painting from eighteenth-century Mexico. She also intends to research at the National Library of Spain for its extensive collection of Latin American books and manuscripts related to fine arts during the colonial period. Finally, she intends to visit The Prado Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia, paying particular attention to the work of Diego Velázquez.  

For more information on the 2022 Petry Award, visit