Vera Frenkel (1938– ) is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Toronto, Canada. Exploring themes of migration, cultural memory, language, and the human experience, she works across video, new media, installation, photography, drawing, and performance art. Her work has been exhibited at many different museums and arts festivals around the world. She has received numerous awards within Canada and internationally.
Born in Bratislava, Slovakia, Frenkel moved to England as a child and then to Canada as an adult. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from McGill University in 1959 and became a Professor Emeritus at York University. She left York University in 1995 to concentrate on her practice which explores themes of exile, migration, language, bureaucratization, and cultural memory. For example, in her piece Body Missing Project (1994), she investigates topics such as the art theft policies of the Third Reich during World War II.
Since the 1970s, Frenkel’s work has been exhibited at many museums and arts festivals around the world, including documenta IX in Kassel, Germany, the Venice Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Setagaya Museum in Tokyo, Japan. She has received numerous awards within Canada and internationally, some of which include the Bell Canada Award for Video Art, the Canada Council Prize in the Arts, and the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Gershon Iskowitz Prize. She has received two honorary doctorates, one from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the second from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, British Columbia.