Recipients Announced! RBC Arts Access Fund 2

We are proud to announce our second round of winners for our RBC Arts Access Fund, designed to support community engaged arts project lead by newcomer artists in the City of Toronto.

by Katheryn Wabegijig
 Dana Prieto

Project Description |  “Carnivora” is a collaborative art project that will explore cultural, geographical, political, psychological and biological aspects of food. The project is a collaboration between Dana Prieto, Katheryn Wabegijig (mentees) and a multidisciplinary and culturally diverse core group of women who will research, gain food related skills, cook, connect with food professionals and organizations, and develop a series of four to six workshops and lessons with farmers, hunters, cooks, butchers, healers and artists. The resulting research and experimentations will be incorporated into different forms of visual and performance art, culminating in 2 curated exhibitions that will take place between Nov and Dec 2015.

BIO | Dana Prieto is a multidisciplinary artist, activist and a popular-educator born in Buenos Aires and based in Toronto. She is completing a BFA degree at OCAD U, with a major in Drawing and Painting and a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture. She is a member of “7 ± 2” collective with whom she will launch “Fugue” at the 2015 Toronto Nuit Blanche. Her current work experiments with video, repurposed materials and light, creating immersive installations that propose collective participatory experiences. Through her practice she explores the female identity and her diverse cultural roots braided with experiences of migration, community remembrance and regeneration.

 

Nadia Gurkova  

Project Description |  “Art in the Park” is a collaboration between Nadia Gurkova, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO) and newcomer artist Aitak Sorahitalab.  This program will consist of facilitated art workshops for residents in the local park.   The project involves organizing 4 workshops for children, youth and adults (total of 40 people) that will be running back to back during a community event in R.V. Burgess Park on August 8th, 2015.  

BIO | Nadia Gurkova was drawn towards art as long as she could remember, but started perusing that passion after earning her Bachelor of Public Relations. Since then, she has attended several art schools, including: Academy of Art Canada (Toronto), Adult Art Program at Central Technical School (Toronto), Nik Balushev Art Studio (Russia). She has taught art to young children (6-9 y.o.) at Bravo School of Music in 2010. In October 2014, Nadia started teaching beginner painting workshops for adults. They quickly grew into two locations: her Toronto-based studio and Graven Feather gallery on Queen Street. Her goal is to inspire others to create, believe in themselves, and experience the power of art.

Aitak Sorahitalab grew up with music, literature, visual art, science and love of learning at home. She has a master’s degree in design and production from Art University of Tehran in 2002. Aitak is a published writer, and has also received public and private commissions for bas relief ceramic in Iran. Aitak immigrated to Canada, where she works in education, teaching in schools at the York Region School Board, and art institute such as Harbourfront Centre. She continues to practicing ceramic and sculpture in a professional guild.

 

 Alexander Usquiano

Project Description | Will facilitate a photography workshop for Spanish speaking seniors living on Social Housing. This workshop will provide basic photography skills and a foundation for seniors in order to will explore different uses of their portable devices (tables, phones and cameras). This project will give seniors the opportunity to explore photography as art and also as an element to deal with isolation. In addition, this project will include a portraits series of the participating in the workshop

BIO | Alexander Usquiano came to Canada as a Permanent Resident two years ago from Colombia.  For the past 15 years Alexander has focused on the new languages of Art (Photography and Photo manipulation) digital art.  He has exhibited multiple solo and collective exhibits both in Colombia and in Canada.  His work has been exhibited during the Hispanic Heritage Month in October, and is currently showing his work with a collective at Cedar Ridge Gallery titled "Art of the Americas" for the Panamerican Games.  Alexander has an education in pedagogy, marketing and advertisement, graphic design. He is also at artist educator and has a radio art program called MUSA ENFERMA.

 

 Aitak Sorahitalab

Project Description | Will design and facilitate a series of workshops combining storytelling and visual arts for second generation of Persian immigrants. This series will commence with a demo workshop to encouraging people to participate. This session will then be documented and shared on social media for additional promotion. The program will kick off with a series of art workshop geared for children (age 6-10) who understand and speak some Persian. Participants will then be introduced to treasured Persian literature, get inspired by them and create their own artworks.

BIO | Aitak Sorahitalab grew up with music, literature, visual art, science and love of learning at home. She has a master’s degree in design and production from Art University of Tehran in 2002. Aitak is a published writer, and has also received public and private commissions for bas relief ceramic in Iran. Aitak immigrated to Canada, where she works in education, teaching in schools at the York Region School Board, and art institute such as Harbourfront Centre. She continues to practicing ceramic and sculpture in a professional guild.

 

 Banoo  Zan

Project Description | “Shab-e She’r” is a poetry Series, envisioned to bridge the gap between diverse poetry circles and communities, bringing together poets of different ethnicity, race, religion (or lack thereof), gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation; to foster stronger alliances between diverse artistic voices. This project fosters the emergence of a “truly” Canadian poetic voice that is representative of all citizens. The series is the most diverse of its kind in Toronto. It is a monthly event.  The hope is to provide opportunities for new artistic voices and existing voices to meet and germinate conversation and connection in a space that is open to all voices and orientations to celebrate its vibrancy and to make it a better place to live, work and make art.

BIO | Writer, translator, teacher, editor and poetry organizer, Bänoo Zan, landed in Canada in 2010. She has been writing poetry since the age of ten and has published more than 80 poems, translations, biographies, and articles in print and online publications around the globe. Her book, The Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2010.  Her poetry collection, Songs of Exile, will be published with Guernica Editions in 2016. Another book of poems in English will be printed in 2015. Both books were solicited by Canadian publishers in Toronto.  She is the founder, organizer and host of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), the most diverse poetry reading series in Toronto. 

 

 Erica Parilla

Project Description | This project will be composed of art activities such as a mini-mural painting and photography hosted by an art gallery. It will give young undiscovered artists a chance to get out of their shells, and expose themselves to a creative world that they truly deserve. The goal of this project is to define the real value of humanity through creativity.  Young artists are the key to make the community a better place and a more colorful one. This project will be an opportunity for young artists to showcase their amazing and artistic talents, and for them to be able to meet and discover more youths who are interested in arts and creativity. This project will also include workshops twice a week that will provide skills and enhance the artists’ abilities for them to be fully equipped and prepared to create in the Art Gallery. The vision for this project is to promote and spread the power of arts in the whole community.

BIO | Erica Parilla accepts this fund on behalf of the Voice Arts collective.The Voice Arts collective met at the VOICE March Break Arts’ Program 2015, but various members have already been involved in the program longer than others. Some members have participated in the VOICE Summer Programs, as well, in which they collectively painted a mural. After the March Break program, some of the members have continually participated in a Leadership Program of the NYCH. All members of the group contributed individually in helping make this application possible.