Awards will be formally presented at the MOCA Award Gala

on Thursday, November 3, 2022


The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA) is pleased to announce the reinstatement of the MOCA Award in recognition of leaders in visual arts for their innovation, accomplishment and contribution to contemporary art. The awards allow MOCA to lean into its values of equity, inclusion and access while supporting and amplifying the work of cultural changemakers. This year’s selections are Rajni Perera, chosen to receive the 2022 MOCA Artist Award with a $25,000 monetary prize, and Nada Ristich, Head of Community Giving at BMO Financial Group for the MOCA Luminary Award.

“At MOCA we’re striving to serve as an inclusive cultural hub, celebrating our hyper-diverse city and world through artwork that provokes active dialogue and celebrates complexity,” said Kathleen Bartels, Executive Director and CEO, MOCA. “Our criteria for the 2022 MOCA Artist Award was a reflection of this ethos, and our Luminary Award acknowledges those who share in our aspiration to support artists creating transformative, dialogue-provoking work.”

Rajni Perera is a painter and sculptor known for exploring ideas of systemic power through science fiction imagery. Perera lives and works in Toronto, with roots in Sri Lanka. Issues of hybridity, ancestorship and immigration identity are explored through her work. Perera was one of the participating artists in the inaugural exhibition BELIEVE presented at MOCA Toronto in 2018. Along with the monetary award, Perera has the opportunity to create a new commission that will be exhibited at MOCA in 2024.

“I humbly accept this award from the MOCA,” said Rajni Perera. “I feel grateful for their support and hopeful for the future of this institution as a place of dreams, truth, and light.”

Nada Ristich, selected for the 2022 MOCA Luminary Award, has been a significant voice in transforming the role of corporate giving in Canada for over twenty-five years. Long recognized for her advocacy of the arts, Ristich has received numerous awards including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for voluntary service, an honorary doctorate from the University of Toronto in June 2022, and in the fall she will receive a “Special Recognition Award” from the Council for Canadian American Relations in New York.

“In my role as Head of Community Giving at BMO, it’s been an absolute joy to support MOCA and help further its mission to support culturally diverse artists from Toronto and beyond,” said Nada Ristich. “As a long-time supporter and member of the Board of Directors, I’m honoured to be receiving the 2022 MOCA Luminary Award.”

This fall, a gala will be hosted to formally present the MOCA Awards and celebrate the 2022 recipients. The event will feature a cocktail reception followed by a seated dinner and award programme at The Symes. Confirmed honorary chairs of the gala include Julia Ouellette, Carol Weinbaum, Dr. Parambir S. Keila and Anjli Patel, with Hesty Leibtag and Bruce Munro Wright serving as gala co-chairs. For more information about the gala and sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact

About MOCA Toronto

The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA) presents rotating exhibitions that prioritize twenty-first-century artistic production, primarily through commissioning of new work. Artists, partnerships, experimentation, and reciprocal initiatives are at the centre of MOCA’s mission as a locally rooted and internationally connected organization. Focused on core values promoting equity, inclusion, access, courage, and responsibility. MOCA fosters active participation and engagement to serve as a welcoming cultural hub in the hyper-diverse city of Toronto.