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Canada’s leading contemporary outdoor and online art fair

July 12 – 14, 2024.

Get to know Julien Trésor Kandolo 2020 Best of Fair Award Winner

As per our tradition, we saved the best of the best for last in our 2020 award winners series. It is an absolute pleasure to introduce the winner of the Catherine Bratty Award for Best of Art Fair, Julien "Kando" Kandolo! This award was generously supported by The Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation.

Kando's emotionally bold works tell stories of resilience and survival in the midst of chaos — all poignant reflections of the current global discontent. He finds a beautiful balance in depicting calm and peace. If you missed it, watch our conversation with Kando from last year to get to know him better.

It was a surreal experience like everything else in the past year to hand out the award to Kando over our Instagram Live event and still feel his unforgettable pure joy and warm energy as if it was an in-person encounter. We are thrilled for him and look forward to seeing his new works for TOAF60 in a few weeks.

Stay tuned for an exciting update about TOAF60 coming to you very soon!


About Julien Trésor Kandolo

Julien "Kando" Kandolo is a professional visual artist, living and working in Montreal. He was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa and Environmental Design at UQAM in Montreal. For ten years, Kando has been developing his work, exploring themes of individuality and identity as a way to express his deep desire for freedom.

Photo: Kando in his studio, courtesy of the artist

"Art functions well when it helps provide perspectives on contemporary times. The winner's collaged paintings and sculptural objects help us better understand art in the time of COVID-19 and social unrest against intersectional anti-Black and anti-Indigenous injustices."

– Dori Tunstall, Dean, Faculty of Design at OCAD University, Judge of 2020 Best of Fair Award

Image: Umbrella, Julien Trésor Kandolo, acrylic and spray on canvas, 2020

"The painting, 'Umbrella', demonstrates well his technical and emotive capabilities. The finely painted portrait of the Black Madonna figure's tranquill face shows his skills with the brush. The palette knife and spray painted children and background gives the scene motion and discomfort. The calm face of the Madonna figure contrasts with the chaos of everything else, including the children climbing the figure's body. Kandolo's move towards 3-dimensional form in the sculpture, 'World Virus', shows future directions for experimentation and innovation."

– Dori Tunstall, Dean, Faculty of Design at OCAD University, Judge of 2020 Best of Fair Award

Image: World Virus, Julien Trésor Kandolo, plastic, styrofoam and mask, 2020

Kando on winning Best of Fair in 2020…

The effect of winning this award saved my year. During such difficult times, this award has given me and those around me the hope and the courage to continue to create, to move forward, and to believe that the current situation does not have an end but a period of adaptation and questioning.

Image: Survivor, Julien Trésor Kandolo, acrylic and spray on canvas, 2016

On what TOAF means to Kando…

TOAF, for me, is a springboard for opportunity. TOAF gives artists and creators the possibility to be seen and reach new audiences on a national scale. As a young artist, this is very beneficial for me.

View more of Kando's work on his Facebook page.
Follow on Instagram: @kandoforart


A journey of transformation and adaptation

Moving Canada’s largest outdoor art fair into a robust, contemporary e-commerce platform in 2020, and delivering a highly engaging digital event in just 8 weeks, was no small feat. During a time where showcase and sales opportunities for artists had diminished due to the pandemic, we were proud to step up and replicate the sense of community and enthusiasm for art and independent artists in a new format. The success and positive impact that followed surpassed our expectations.

This gives us optimism, and with your help, we hope to make the upcoming online art fair an even bigger success for participating artists.

Read about our journey in the 2020 Annual Report

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