Congratulations to Ten RBC Newcomer Arts Award Recipients

Artists receive $2000 from Toronto Arts Foundation to support their artistic careers

TORONTO, November 6, 2020 – Ten Toronto-based newcomer artists from countries around the globe are receiving support through the Toronto Arts Foundation RBC Newcomer Arts Award. The $2000 award, administered by the Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network, and sponsored by RBC, is given to skilled artists working in any discipline.

Created in 2015 as part of the Neighbourhood Arts Network Newcomer Artist Spotlight program, the awards help offset barriers faced by newcomer artists, such as access to resources, community and funding to create new work. Previously named the RBC Arts Access Fund, this year, the prize amount was increased to $2000 per recipient, up from a range of $500-$1500. To date, Toronto Arts Foundation has supported 82 artists through this award. 

“Every year, we are incredibly impressed by the level of talent we see from RBC Newcomer Arts Award recipients, and this year is no different,” said Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. “This crucial award, made possible thanks to the generosity of RBC, helps to encourage the continuation of truly innovative work, created by those who are new to our city. To the ten recipients: Toronto is made better for your contributions, and I’m proud that Toronto Arts Foundation can help.”

“We deeply value artists who inspire creativity and continue to bring strength to their communities,” said Ramin Fazel, Regional Vice President, Downtown Toronto, RBC. “We are thrilled to contribute to the RBC Newcomer Arts Award through the RBC Emerging Artists Project.” 

The 2020 RBC Newcomer Award recipients are:

Siavash Kaveh | Iranian electronic music composer/performer who integrates technology and computer-assisted sounds with Iranian traditional music to explore novel sonic experiences.

Omid Shakiba | Kurdish filmmaker who has directed and produced over 27 documentaries, short fiction, and experimental films.

Mio Sakamoto | Emerging dance performer and choreographer originally from Japan who is currently developing her artistry with Karen Kaeja as her mentor.

Fethi Nadjem | Musician originally from Algeria. Trained in guitar, oud, violin and mandole, he will soon release his first solo music album.

Reena Shaw M. | Writer from Bombay. As an emerging author of immigrant fiction, postcolonial fiction and realism, her stories straddle between two worlds - the East and the West.

Radhika Baskar | Performance artist from India. Baskar is an accomplished Veena exponent of traditional Carnatic Music with improvisation skills.

Helio Eudoro | Brazilian-Canadian multimedia artist who creates photo-based multi-disciplinary work that explores gender, sexuality, the body, income, immigration, age and other forms of social and cultural exclusion.

Majd Sukar (Majd Sekkar) | Syrian-Canadian Clarinetist who specializes in the Middle Eastern style and has extensive knowledge of Middle Eastern Music theories.

Akshata Naik | Contemporary visual artist, educator, researcher and administrator from Mumbai. Through a lens of immigration, war, displacement, home and belonging, she creates immersive experiences and interactive art installations.

Arif Bahaduri | Performer and visual artist from Ghazni, Afghanistan whose work is informed by his national history and explores the beauty of feelings from the depth of pain.

The Newcomer Arts Award was administered over two rounds in the spring and fall. Both rounds were assessed by an award panel of professional artists and cultural workers. The first round included Serhat Dogantekin, Lamis Haggag, Azadeh Pirazimian and Alice Il Shin. The second panel included Claudia Arana, Serhat Dogantekin, Azadeh Pirazimian and Alice Il Shin.

To read full recipient bios of the 2020 Newcomer Arts Award, visit Neighbourhood Arts Network’s WEBSITE


About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city, through private sector investment. To learn more or to make a donation, visit

About Neighbourhood Arts Network
Neighbourhood Arts Network enriches Toronto by fostering excellence in community engaged art making. This city wide network encourages the exchange of ideas, resources and expertise between artists who work in, with and for Toronto’s diverse communities. Neighbourhood Arts Network is an initiative of Toronto Arts Foundation. 

Contact information
For more information about the RBC Newcomer Arts Award, please contact Sarah Gladki, Communications Manager, at