Letter from Arezu Salamzadeh (2022)

Arezu Salamzadeh was awarded the David Buller Memorial Scholarship in 2020 and 2021. The scholarship provides critical financial assistance to a graduate student enrolled in the Master of Visual Studies program annually.

The text below is excerpted from a letter Arezu sent us in January 2022.

My name is Arezu - I am writing this to express to you my enormous gratitude regarding the scholarship I have received. I am currently a first year Master of Visual Studies student, with a focus in studio, at the University of Toronto. My artistic practice is one that is relational and audience-oriented, meaning I aim to create unique experiences for others.

Last semester, prior to the reinstatement of the pandemic lockdown in Ontario, I was working part time as a bartender three days per week. The physical labour of that part time job, plus the mental labour of the first semester's workload and research was immensely exhausting and stressful. I've concluded that your scholarship has saved me over 300 hours of wage labour. Those are 300 hours that I will now be able to put towards developing my artistic practice, research, and community activism.

Outside of the MVS program, I am member of Tea Base, a community arts organization based in Chinatown that seeks to provide visual representation and a safe space for queer and trans artists of color, as well as engage in mutual aid and activism within Chinatown. The opportunities I am afforded by the University of Toronto, and by extension your scholarship, are equipping me with the resources I require to better serve my community.

Once again, I can't express enough gratitude for the scholarship I have received, I hope to do right by it.

All my thanks.

Arezu Salamzadeh