The Kingston Prize is pleased to announce the 2023 winners.

The winners were announced at a private reception at the exhibition in the Firehall Theatre in Gananoque, Ontario (, attended by finalists, their subjects, and guests.

Incoming Board chair Jason Donville congratulated all thirty finalists on their mastery of the genre and their current and future contributions to portrait painting in Canada. “The artists nominated for the Kingston Prize represent everything that is good and special in Canadian Art. They are our Caravaggio’s and our Cassatt’s. Their art defines the soul of our nation in beautiful pictures that capture the incredible strength and diversity of our nation. We are blessed tonight to be amongst such talented and wonderful painters. All thirty of the nominees are winners in our hearts.” 

Winner of The Kingston Prize 2023

Shaun Downey

Near the Elevator

by Shaun Downey, Toronto, ON
Oil on canvas-wrapped panel

Jury Statement about Near the Elevator

We were drawn in to this work by both the technical mastery and the subtlety of the expression of the sitter. We appreciated the contrast between the simple, geometrical interior in which the young woman sits in an office chair, and her delicate facial expression and the tension in her arms and hands.

Honourable Mentions, $2,000 each

Jim Bravo

Las Costureras (The Seamstresses) by Jim Bravo, Toronto, ON
Oil on canvas, 153 x 122 cm

Jury statement: We felt that this work pushes the boundaries of portrait painting and that it effectively layers culture, labour and history in how it articulates the sitters’ bodies with a busy, densely patterned, colorful interior.

Chrystal Phan

I Want To Tell You Something by Chrystal Phan, Victoria, BC
Oil on canvas, 66 x 91 cm

Jury statement: This enigmatic self-portrait made us want to learn more about what the artist is feeling and wants to communicate. We loved the gestural brushstroke and the visual harmony of the sheets, headboard and t-shirt, and were very impressed by the richness of the treatment of the skin.

The 2023 Kingston Prize distinguished jurors:

Alicia Boutilier
Chief Curator and Curator of Canadian Historical Art at Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Alicia Boutilier is Chief Curator and Curator of Canadian Historical Art at Agnes Etherington Art Centre and is an adjunct and affiliate in Art History and Art Conservation, Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies, and Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. Alicia has produced numerous exhibitions on Canadian historical art and visual culture, with an emphasis on women artists, artistic groups, regional scenes, collecting histories and intersections of art and craft. Among her curated and co-curated exhibition and publication projects are Tom Thomson? The Art of Authentication (2022), Stepping Out: Clothes for a Gallery Goer (2019), The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists (2015), and A Vital Force: The Canadian Group of Painters (2013).

Annie Gérin
Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University
Annie Gérin is Dean of Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Educated in Canada, Russia and the UK, she is a curator and art historian. Her research interests encompass the areas of Soviet art, public art, visual satire and cultural policy. Her publications include Devastation and Laughter: Satire, Power and Culture in Early Soviet Russia (2018), Françoise Sullivan, Life and Work (2018), Godless at the Workbench: Soviet Humoristic Antireligious Propaganda (2004) and the co-edited collections Canadian Cultural Poesis (2006), Public Art in Canada: Critical Perspectives (2009), Oeuvres à la rue: pratiques et discours émergents en art public (2010), Formes urbaines : Circulation, stockage et transmission de l’expression culturelle à Montréal (2014), and Sketches for an Unquiet Country – Canadian Graphic Satire 1840-1940 (2018).

Gordon Shadrach
Artist, Toronto, ON
Toronto – based artist Gordon Shadrach exhibits in Canada, the United States and internationally. He received his B. Des. (MAAD) from OCAD University and his M. Ed degree from Niagara University. He has worked in education for the past 18 years, and in 2023 Shadrach began teaching at OCADU as an Assistant Professor in the Drawing and Painting Department.
Shadrach’s allegorical portraits mostly focus on the Black male form in order to question the impact of cultural stereotypes in society and the prevalence of the colonial gaze. In the summer of 2022, Shadrach was the lead artist and co-curator for “Dis/Mantle,” a ground-breaking, immersive