Prefix ICA » Karen Zalamea: The Prefix Prize

May 4 to July 22, 2023

Karen Zalamea
The Prefix Prize

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art is thrilled to announce that the winner of the third annual Prefix Prize is Karen Zalamea, a Filipino-Canadian artist who resides in Burnaby, B.C. With an interdisciplinary practice rooted in photography, Zalamea is adept in the use of a wide range of photographic substrates, creative approaches and installation strategies. The prize, which is juried by a panel of art and photography professionals, is a core programme of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.

As the recipient of the Prefix Prize, Karen Zalamea receives an exhibition, a publication and a cash prize of $5,000.00 CA. The exhibition, which is presented in the window gallery at Tangled Art Gallery, highlights They are lost as soon as they are made (2020), a series of archival inkjet prints that was produced during an artist residency in Iceland. The associated publication P.S.–3.1, which is the sixth in this series of exhibition catalogues produced by Prefix ICA, features an essay by Scott McLeod. Exclusively digital and entirely free, it is available for downloading from, effective May 16th.

The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday, May 4, 2023, with an informal opening reception to be held on Friday, May 5, 2023, from 6 PM to 8 PM. The curator will be present. The exhibition is presented at Tangled Art Gallery, located at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124, Toronto. Gallery hours are from Wednesday to Saturday, 12 PM to 5 PM. Admission is free. The exhibition continues until Saturday, July 22, 2023.

The Prefix Prize is presented by Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art in partnership with the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, Tangled Art and Disability, and Underline Studio, along with founding partner, Partners in Art.

About the artist
Karen Zalamea is a Filipino-Canadian artist, educator and cultural worker based in Burnaby, BC. With an interdisciplinary practice rooted in photography, Zalamea considers the camera-mediated relationship between the body and space, as well as the material and representational potential of the photographic surface. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver) and an MFA from Concordia University (Montréal), and she has carried out artist residencies in the Philippines, Iceland and Canada. Her work has been presented in solo, group and public-art exhibitions across Canada and internationally, most recently at the Capture Photography Festival (Vancouver).

About the Prefix Prize
Launched in 2021, the Prefix Prize is awarded annually to a photographic artist of any nationality. Designed to honour artists at any stage of their careers who have yet to receive the recognition they deserve, the prize consists of an exhibition, a publication and a cash award. In 2023, with the assistance of the Toronto Arts Foundation and other donors, the cash award was increased from $2,000.00 to $5,000.00.

The third annual prize was juried by eight photography experts drawn from the local, national and international communities, including Ryan Doherty, senior curator, Contemporary Calgary; Sean Lee, director of programming, Tangled Art and Disability; Scott McLeod, founding director, Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art; Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, director, Haus der Kulturen der Welt; Tara Smith, executive director, Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival; Brittany Waldner, senior designer, Underline Studio; and Jennifer Young and Caroline Laxton, co-chairs, Project Development, Partners in Art.

In addition to choosing the recipient of this year’s prize, the jury recognized Oscar Alvaredo and Alnis Stakle with honourable mentions. Alvaredo, a Spanish artist who currently resides in Barcelona, evokes the mystery and the strangeness within the everyday rhythms of his ancestral village, while Stakle, a Latvian photographer, explores urban environments wherein the systems and structures designed to sustain society are simultaneously alienating.

The fourth annual Prefix Prize will be awarded in May 2024.

For their support of the Prefix Prize, Prefix ICA gratefully acknowledges presentation partners, the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, Tangled Art and Disability, and Underline Studio, and founding partner, Partners in Art. Prefix also gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Photo: Karen Zalamea, detail from They are lost as soon as they are made (2020). Courtesy the artist.

For more information, please contact Prefix ICA at