In 2020, we launched our Creatives in Residence series, and we’re thrilled to announce the second lineup of residents for 2021. These programs aim to let people in on the artistic process, as we highlight and share the work of creatives from across the province. From foraging walks to protest poster workshops, these programs encourage participants to learn and create by doing.
The pandemic has impacted our cultural landscape in a number of complex ways; many of our 2021 programs are linked by a shared sense of resilience and resourcefulness in times of precarity. These creatives are engaging with ideas of claiming space and holding ground, and much of the work is rooted in questions of community care and caring for oneself, connections to (and histories of) land, food sovereignty and security, and migration.
Check out our full list of residents below and discover what programs will be on offer from now into our Fall Festival season.
Alchemy – Prince Edward County
Since 2017, Claire Tallarico and Tonia Di Risio have led Alchemy, an artist’s residency in Hillier that fosters community engagement by sharing art, food, and conversation. Last year, in response to COVID 19, Alchemy’s programming shifted to a small group of volunteers and artists who made twice-weekly suppers for seasonal farm and vineyard workers during the harvest season. The project recognized the vital contribution of local labourers, most of whom come from outside of Canada. In 2021, Alchemy will continue to provide meals to PEC agricultural workers. Following all COVID safety protocols, invited artists will also be in Hillier to create site-specific installations on farms and vineyards. Claire and Tonia will collect and share stories from PEC, while providing a window into their collaborative process. During the Ontario Culture Days Festival, Alchemy will share a tour of this project’s community, culinary, and creative work.
Hiba Abdallah – Toronto
Hiba Abdallah is a text and design-based artist whose practice focuses on the intersections of collaboration, community and disagreement as productive frameworks for re-imagining public agency. For her residency, Abdallah’s program will examine the role of libraries, centering them as beacons of community gathering, curiosity, and public importance. Working closely with Toronto Public Library’s Eatonville Branch, she seeks to engage the library staff and patrons for their insight and expertise. Abdallah will share her findings and explorative process through editorial stories. Based on her findings, she will then develop a site-specific project at Eatonville for the Fall festival.
Through multi-modal and sensory-based work, multimedia artist Kanika Gupta is passionate about engaging audiences with art in ways that are meaningful and inclusive. Cinematographer Amit Kehar’s practice is dedicated to the art of creating and capturing emotion to bring others into worlds that they otherwise wouldn’t experience.
Throughout the pandemic, Gupta and Kehar have been reflecting on ideas of adaptability, repurposing, and slowing down, particularly as they relate to the challenges of daily tasks throughout lockdown. For this residency, the pair will create a series of online works, and in-person public engagement experiences, reflecting on the reusability of food waste as a metaphor for slow living, resiliency, and personal care.
A video and poetry series will transform items such as onion skins, banana peels and pomegranate shells into animated landscapes, emphasizing the importance of playfulness and taking joy in the little things during these difficult times. Participants will be invited to try their hand at food preservation, learning how to turn scraps into sculptural objects at home. Finally, the duo will invite people to collaborate on a final project with the objects they created at home.
Laura Rojas, Toronto
Laura Rojas is a Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist who uses graphic design as a tool for education and activism, exploring how radical images can be used to build community and support change. For her residency with Ontario Culture Days, Rojas will dive into the history and power of protest posters, discussing and sharing ideas from fellow designers. For her festival program at TPL’s North York Central branch, Laura will lead poster design workshops, exploring the role of radical graphics as a vehicle for memory, advocacy, and resistance in social movements. She will encourage community building and mobilization, asking participants to speak to causes they feel passionate about. A final postering event will have attendees share their creations both in local neighbourhoods and online with the wider public.
Tamara Green, Mississauguas of Scugog Island First Nation
Tamara Green is a chef and instructor focusing on pre-contact ingredients. Her personal chef company, Indigenesis, works to re-integrate Indigenous foods and cooking methods, and she seeks to make visible and nuanced the interconnections between local Indigenous and nearby settler communities. For her residency, Green will explore the process of foraging, raising awareness and visual literacy around foods found in nature. Throughout the summer, she will release a series of videos teaching participants how to look for in-season foods as well as how to cook with local, wild, edible ingredients. During the festival, she’ll work with foraging guide Bryan Dowkes to lead an outdoor program in the Scugog area. Her work encourages responsible foraging practices, emphasizing environmental stewardship and respect for the land.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Ontario, and the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.