This award is presented annually to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada. It includes a $50,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario within two years. The prize is named for painter Gershon Iskowitz (1921–1988), who founded the prize privately in 1986 to support the development of artists in Canada.
According to a release, when notified that he was the unanimous choice of the jury for the 2019 prize, Ken Lum commented: “The circumstances of Gershon Iskowitz’s life make him an exemplar of humaneness and global citizenry. I am honoured to be considered worthy of a prize began by and named after him.”