Dear Friend of TOAF,
It is our absolute pleasure to launch our Award Winners spotlight with one the most sought-after and inspiring artists of our 2020 Fair, Cheryl Rock—whose intricate and magical paper-cut portraits spread joy and hope in our art lovers. Her unique story telling garnered the most prestigious award at TOAF since 1974, the Mayor's Purchase Award by the City of Toronto, and for the second year in a row, she took home the Best of 2D Works Award by our generous donors, Brett Ledger & Patricia Olasker.
The series aligns itself well with the current political climate and the racial injustices we are addressing around the world. The piece titled: Re-visioning Royalty, highlights the resilience, perseverance, and power we have seen Black women demonstrate throughout history including at the present time. The art, created by Cheryl Rock, a Black Torontonian of Barbadian heritage, also showcases the diversity of Toronto – the most diverse city in the world.
It is important for me that the City’s art collections reflect not only the diversity of the city but also the many ways it is interpreted by the artists who call this city home. Cheryl and her art are a strong reflection of that.
On the particular work I chose, I thought the silhouette conveyed that strength together with a sense of mystery as silhouettes do, while at the same time highlighting ornate detail that carried with its strength and beauty and femininity. While I looked at all of the candidate pieces very carefully I confess to being immediately taken with this one and the only thing missing is a chance to meet the artist which I would normally do as the art fair takes place in Nathan Phillips Square.
– Mayor John Tory on choosing the 2020 Mayor's Purchase Award
We are honoured to be part of the journey as we look forward to presenting more opportunities for more artists in the future (our 2021 Call for Artists opens on November 30th).
There are still some works of Cheryl's left on our website, along with thousands more from our 2020 roster that can bring new life and inspiration to your spaces and your loved ones. The holidays are just around the corner—we hope you consider supporting local artists when you plan your gift-giving this season.
Enjoy getting to know Cheryl and taking a deeper look at her work.
Executive & Creative Director
LOTUS 2.0, Cheryl Rock, hand-cut archival paper, 2019
About Cheryl Rock
"Cheryl's current body of work is about 'Re-visioning Royalty'—communicating notions of beauty, resilience, royalty, and tenacity. Mission accomplished! There is beauty, power, and elegance in every piece Cheryl creates."
– Danielle Krysa of The Jealous Curator, Judge of Best of 2D Works
Cheryl Rock completed her BFA at University of Windsor. Passionate about the power of diverse stories, she has a focus on reconnecting to oral tradition through her imagery. Her current work is hand-cut, archival paper and mixed media. Central to her artistic practice, Cheryl is inspired by the desire to create dialogue with a diverse audience through commonalities in human experience.
On winning 2 awards this year…
"I felt and still feel excited and honoured to have completed my second year as a TOAF artist. Winning the Best of 2D Works for the second time was euphoric and felt like confirmation that I am going in the right direction with my artistic practice. I am bringing my goals and dreams to fruition. The Mayor’s Purchase Award was an incredible validation of the intentionality that I pour into each piece that I create. I have immense gratitude that my work is now a part of the permanent collection."
– Cheryl Rock
On what TOAF means to Cheryl…
"As a Black Artist, I feel seen and heard. I consider TOAF an investment in myself, my creative praxis, my future…Participating in TOAF has been one of my goals since graduating with a degree in Fine Arts. TOAF is more than an art fair, it is a movement! Sharing space with so many incredible artists has enhanced my journey as a professional artist and given me immense confidence to keep moving forward with my creative endeavours."
– Cheryl Rock