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Ivanna Hreshchuk: Winner of the Founding Chairman's Award

March 13, 2019

One of the very first awards at Toronto Outdoor Art Fair was our Founding Chairman's Award established by Marvelle Koffler and the late Murray Koffler. This cash award of $5,500 is given to an artist who is taking their practice to the next level, and pushes the boundaries of the art form. This year, Ivanna Hreshchuk's single installation, “The Vietnam Story”, stood out for the judges Tiana Koffler Boyman and Flavio Belli.

Ivanna's winning piece is a stunning 3D layered tapestry which immerses the viewer into the life of a local Vietnamese woman. During a homestay in Vietnam, Ivanna had the humbling opportunity to stay with local villagers and participate in their everyday lives. This motivated her to depict their story using a layered tapestry, which became a stage to show a glimpse into the lives of those forgotten and unheard.

The moment she received her award on the stage was a special one; we paid tribute to Murray Koffler and continue to honour his enduring legacy and passion for TOAF artists.


“The Vietnam Story,” 2018, 32 x 54 inch, by Ivanna Hreshchuk

“Ivanna uses her work to tell the story of this village and these people. Winning this award will allow this story to take the next step, grow and continue.”

Tiana Koffler Boyman, Chair of Koffler Centre for the Arts
& Flavio Belli, Curator

Meet the Artist

When given an opportunity to tell a story, Ukrainian-Canadian artist Ivanna Hreshchukdoes so through her technique called the visual voice. She combines her passions of travel, photography and graphic design through an innovative multi-layered tapestry that can be viewed in a 360 degree angle, creating a 3D installation.

Ivanna is a BA graduate from the Fashion Communication Program at Ryerson University. She has won the Young Social Entrepreneur Award in 2017 for the Fair Trade Show Expo as well as the Founding Chairman's Award at the 57th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair

Ivanna is currently working on her next project that will explore a theme of juxtaposition that focuses on war-torn places in the world. A preview will be presented at this year's TOAF. 


“The Vietnam Story,” 2018, 32 x 54 inch, by Ivanna Hreshchuk

Interview with the Artist

What did winning the Founding Chairman's Award mean to you?

I had one mission when applying to TOAF last year for the first time and that was to share the story of a young girl named Zie I met in Sapa, Vietnam through my art. When Tiana Koffler Boyman and Flavio Belli chose me as the recipient for the Founding Chairman's Award I was awestruck and time seemed to stand still in the moment that it took me to process this achievement. I was honoured that they recognized my work and passion in such high regard, and it was dually emphatic being given an award that stands as a testament to the legacy of Mr. Murray Koffler. This award also gave me the drive and motivation to continue pursuing my goals as an artist in hopes of visually telling as many stories as I can, in hopes of empowering those without their own voice. 

How has winning your award affected your career?

For starters, it allowed me to share my story and propel myself as an emerging artist in my hometown of Toronto. I was overwhelmed with the amount of people who came to experience my installation and wanted to learn about not only my journey through the mountains of Sapa, but the everyday life of young hardworking women and children in rural Vietnam. I connected with so many artists and developed emotional connections with people who were inspired by my art. I was also fortunate enough to exhibit my piece at the Propeller Gallery’s Summertime Series in August 2018. I’m grateful to be a part of the TOAF community and am grateful to have attained this milestone of being recognized for my art. 

What did you like best about being a part of the Fair? 

Aside from enjoying a beautiful summer weekend outdoors under clear sunny skies, I loved talking to people and fellow artists, both participants of TOAF and others seeking inspiration. Toronto has a thriving arts community that is alive and well, so TOAF is a way for all types of creatives and everyday people looking to enjoy the beauty of what the mind is capable of doing with just an idea or a thought. I enjoyed connecting with industry leaders, art curators and all types of people who made the weekend truly unforgettable. 


From left: Flavio Belli, Ivanna Hreshchuk, Tiana Koffler Boyman, Marc Boyman

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