2020 Space Award Recipients

The 2020 RBC Space Award recipients are: 

Azadeh Pirazimian is a multidisciplinary artist and art instructor. Azadeh's artistic work includes illustration, photography and videos that are inspired by her life experience in native country and her immigration experience in Canada. In all of her work, she offers a critical view of socio-political and cultural issues, and explores conversations to critically reflect on these issues. Azadeh believes that art has the power to address the issues that people are not able to otherwise discuss. Her intention is to shift her audience’s attention to these subjects. As such, her artwork intends to open up a discussion in boundary-pushing ways, through which we can find a bold and bright stance facing the situation.


Nami Ueno is a visual artist from Kyoto, Japan. A graduate from Kyoto University of Art and Design, Nami currently works as an art instructor for Cedar Ridge Creative Centre. Since arriving in Toronto, Nami has actively participated in various outdoor and indoor exhibitions. Throughout her long career as an artist, Nami has developed a versatile visual style which represent the stories she tells through her work. Nami’s portfolio ranges from playful and dreamy, to more grotesque and eerie illustrations that represent the variety of life desires and struggles. Recent accomplishments include receiving the Toronto Arts Council Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant (2020); she is currently collaborating with her mentor on a new project.



Sarvenaz Rayati is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. She has a BA in painting and visual communication from Art University in Tehran. Sarvenaz currently works with various mediums including painting, light sculpture, and mosaics to weave storytelling in her work. Heritage, identity, path, nature, and the act of seeking are recurrent themes in her work. She is inspired by Persian miniatures, comics and the life around her.




Rimah Jabr is a Palestinian theatre director and playwright. Since moving from Belgium to Toronto in 2015, Rimah has devoted her time to artistic training and community building initiatives within Toronto’s art world. Rimah is currently an artist in residence at The Theater Centre in Toronto. In 2014, Rimah obtained her Master of Arts in Theater from Erasmus Hogeschool Brussel RITCS in Belgium. She has written "Two Ladybugs", "The Prisoner", "The Apartment", "High Heels and Stuffed Zucchini" (2015), and has had many collaborations including "Two Birds One Stone" which was written with Natasha Greenblatt.

Besides theatre, Rimah has an interest in films, feature fiction and anime. She is experimenting with drawing and moving digital photos where she mixes real photos with drawing. Rimah is currently in her second year as a PhD student in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University in Toronto.


Shabnam Afrand is a visual artist, born and educated in Tehran, Iran. Shabnam has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Azad University (2001) and taught at the faculty of Fine Arts of Azad University (2003-10). Shabnam’s practice consists of painting, drawing, sculpture and installation, and explores the themes of life and death. Shabnam identifies and creates an ambience of longing in her work. Currently, Shabnam is using memorable objects with fanciful extensions to consider how one can integrate bitter memories and warm nostalgia into their sense of self. She has been a member of the Iranian Painters Society since 2003 and has international exhibition experience.



Yannis Lobaina is an award winning Cuban writer, filmmaker, and photographer currently based in Toronto. Yannis graduated from the International School of Film, Radio and Television and is a diplomate of the VII Literary Training Course "Onelio Jorge Cardoso". She has published over 25 short fiction stories and Flash Nonfiction pieces worldwide, has over twelve years of experience as a published author and creative visual storyteller, and has produced more than 40 short fiction and documentaries in Cuba. Yannis explores themes of immigration, diaspora, and motherhood through different storytelling tools. Yannis received the Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant (2019) for her current picture book "Amélie The Crow Girl", the first manuscript of the bilingual Spanish-English series.  Recent publications include her non-fiction short "Canadiana Boots" in Tint Journal Magazine (2020) and the short story "Deeply Rooted" with publisher Editorial Mapale. She is currently pursuing Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.