Cover Art Contest 2019: The Winners

Posted by 
Kayi Wong
Banner consists of three Room covers featuring the artwork of three cover art contest winners and the last cover is pixelated.

Finally—the results are in. Major congrats to the three winners of our 2019 Cover Art Contest!

Room's 2019 Cover Art Contest Winners

First Place: “The Trinity of Self Care” by Sonali Menezes

Sonali Menezes is an interdisciplinary artist based in Hamilton, ON. She holds an Honours BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and is the youngest of triplets. Sonali utilizes performance, video, sculpture, printmaking, poetry and sometimes-exorbitant amounts of Manwich tomato sauce.  Her work reflects her resistance to the histories of colonialism and racialization within which she is interwoven.

“The Trinity of Self Care” shows aesthetic mastery over composition and reference. The violet background harkens to a movement of femme and queer aesthetics, as do the references to objects such as vibrators, tea, and candles that queer people of colour can use to heal their bodies through loving genstures of “self care.” The use of digital art as a medium makes a political statement about access and community-based Indigneous artists; namely, that they are leading the future in a pivot to digital, to make their work and messages accessible to a wider audience than the formalist crowds found in fine art galleries. The attention to detail—a hairy, unwaxed arm, what might be a stick n' poke tattoo, and pink nails—make this image a reminder of the self at the centre of networks of care in queer movement building.—Lindsay Nixon

Second Place: “virgencita please” by katia hernández velasco

katia hernández velasco is a brown non-binary philosopher, artist and “pleasure activist.” she is an uninvited guest in the occupied and unceded Coast Salish territories. katia grew up in mexico city and through her art practice she builds a path back to her ancestors, campesinos from central méxico. her artworks are love letters to her community, ancestors and herself.

Emerging artists consistently remind me that representation, still, matters. No, we can't reduce our liberation and movements to issues of representation. But I was so moved to see the representation of queer people of colour in illustration, ink, and paper (more traditional mediums that have seldom made space for a queer politics). In the face of homophobia and racism, the artist opens up an intimate and tender spaces only for the queer lovers; as if to say, I see you and I know you see me too.—Lindsay Nixon


Honourable Mention: “Calling the River” by Hali Heavy Shield

Nato'yi'kina'soyi Holy Light that Shines Bright/ Hali Heavy Shield is a member of the Blood Tribe/Kainai Nation of southern Alberta. As a writer and visual artist, Hali’s work often includes themes of Blackfoot language, storytelling, family, and the magic of laughter.

“Calling the River” is a digital representation of future-present Indigneous life. An Indigneous youth stands tall and proud, calling out to the river by its many names. The youth has adapted a traditional ribbon skirt into ribbon pants, and traditional design work (likely stitching, beading, quillwork, tufting, and tasseling) on purse. Our youth only continue to rise, with the love of the land and their ancestors behind them, and adapt and embody their cultures.—Lindsay Nixon


The first place winner's submission will be featured on the cover of our next issue, 43.2 Devour, and the second place winner within the same issue. We are immensely grateful to everyone who shared their art with us and our judge. A special thank-you to Lindsay Nixon for going through all submissions and selecting the shortlist, winners, and our cover with such care. In case you missed it, you can find the shortlist announcement here. We accept art submissions year round and our cover art contest opens every year on November 15th.


The image above features the cover art contest winning submissions from our last three contests. From left to right: Attachment by Amanda Rhodenizer, You Go First by Michelle Purchase, and Prefix, Untitled P1 by Farihah Aliyah Shah.

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Currently on Newsstands

  • Devour cover: Pink background with 3 arms. One each lighting a candle, holding a vibrator, holding a tea bag over a cup
    Room 43.2, Devour
    Edited by Jessica Johns

    In this issue:

    Manahil Bandukwala, Dessa Bayrock, Megan Beadle, Brandi Bird, lue boileau, Rachel Burlock, Justina Chong, Mollie Cronin, Marilyn Dumont, Edzi'u, Ashleigh Giffen, katia hernandez velasco, erica hiroko, Jessica Johns, Shaelyn Johnston, Yume Kitasei, Mica Lemiski, Jessie Loyer, Annick MacAskill, Callista Markotich, Sonali Menezes, Kai Minosh Pyle, Natasha Ramoutar, Carmina Ravanera, Rohsni Riar, Jessica Rose, Rowan Siah, Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch, Kelly S. Thompson, Arielle Twist, Phoebe Wang, Yu-Sen Zhou