RBC Arts Access Fund 3 | Recipients Announced

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

 Serene Husni Alahmad is a filmmaker and multimedia journalist with years of experience creating short documentary films and videos. She completed her Masters of Fine Arts in Documentary Media from Ryerson University with distinction in 2013. Her directorial debut Zinco won the Audience Award for Best Documentary from the Franco-Arab Film Festival in 2013. Zinco is a visual study of the construction material used in building Palestinian refugee habitats. Set in the Talbieh Refugee Camp in Jordan, the film looks for visible manifestations of displacement.

Project Description | The project is a short documentary that collages the narratives and personal experiences of a number of migrant women through their shoes by weaving stories of departures and arrivals through the use of video interviews, photographs, graphics, music and text. Through this project, Serene hopes to connect the personal narratives of these women and find the common threads of love and resilience, which often transcend countries and borders.

 Lada Alekseychuk is a visual artist, born in Donetsk (Ukraina).  She has a BFA in cinematography, computer graphics and television and has worked as an art director on many projects. In 1987 Lada moved to Rome, where she worked on ink and pencil drawings focusing on architectural views and landscapes marked by a meticulous figurative technique. Her artistic practice evolved and has been working on collage techniques since 1989. Over the last few years she worked as an illustrator, and her work has been published in Italy by La Repubblica, L'Avanti, Avvenimenti, Ceres(The FAO Review), and the technology Review.

Project Description | This collages series will depict surreal landscapes, highlighting man made intervention on Nature and will be exhibited in Toronto.

 Daniele Bartolini is a director, installation artist, playwright and performer born in Florence, Italy. He is a graduate of Production and Management for Performing Arts from the University of Florence and throughout his career has collaborated with some of Italy’s leading artists and companies. Selected Performances and art shows: Ubu Roi, (Best Production at PremioGirula 2006) Progetto PPP (by Letizia Russo and Cristina Pezzoli) In 2006 he co-founded DLT Teatro where he is the artistic director. In August 2014 and 2015 he presented the critically acclaimed The Stranger at SummerWorks which sold out 10 days prior to the opening. Daniele was recently a finalist for the TELUS Newcomer Artist Award. In December of 2015, he will travel to Mumbai, India to present a new iteration of The Stranger with a full Indian cast.

Project Description | The Stranger is an artistic experiment that turns a lone 'audience' member into both a performer and a collaborator. It is a fully immersive production designed for one audience member at a time. The intent of the project is deceptively simple: to create a multi-sensory experience that forces an audience member to question their relationship to performers, their city and themselves. For this iteration of The Stranger, a new route is being designed in the environs of the Annex and Bloor Corridor. Expanding to different neighbourhoods is fundamental for this project because the show can also be intended as a portrait of the city of Toronto.

 Mao Correa is a plastic artist, photographer and graphic designer based in Toronto. She was born in Santa Martha and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, where she obtained a graphic design degree from Design Centre Taller Cinco. For over 25 years, Mao has maintained an independent practice as a plastic artist expressing through the creation of eclectic and visceral art work, her fearless attitude against the lack of environmental awareness and frenzied consumerism and has created more than seven hundred paintings, ensembles and sculptures made exclusively from cast-off materials. Mao has shown her work at numerous individual and collective exhibitions in Colombia, Central America and most recently, in Canada.

Project Description | IMMIGR(ART)ING, embodies a dynamic process of 1) exploration of Mao’s trans-national narratives of creating recycled-art by including “first world” discarded material; and 2) desecration of Mao’s internal journey as a new immigrant by defragmenting universal art icons. She is now not only breaking down pre-existing materials, reinterpreting and offering them a new form with a new purpose, but also reintegrating her soul to a new country.


 Carlos Delgado is a Toronto based visual artist, born and raised in Colombia. He has been recognized for his work as a two-time finalist for the TELUS Newcomer Artist Award (2014 and 2015). Carlos is a diverse artist both in styles and medium. His art explores the human nature and its relationship to its environment both in human expression of self, stories and experiences as well the the emotional experience of the world. His styles of paintings mix the deep profound aspects of the human self together with the subtle expression of human behaviors allowing the viewer to connect to each piece on a personal level bringing their own human expression into the artwork. 

Project Description | The series "Being Human in the System", is an exploratory project for Carlos to delve in and fine tuning a new artistic style , which he has developed this past year. This series was inspired by the refugee crisis and by the people of Toronto.

 Merey Ismailova is a dance creation teacher and the founder of the Ismailova Theatre of Dance company. She has choreographed and produced 6 sold out shows in Toronto. Merey is a graduate of Trainers-Choreographers Sputnik course in Russia and has studied Professional Dance Performance at the Ballet Creole School in Toronto. Recently, she has been performing with Danza Corpus company in Toronto.

Project Description | New Voices, is a newcomer youth dance workshop, giving participants skills and mentorship to create a final showcase. This approach will place decision making in the hand’s youths. Experienced mentors will help the participants shape their ideas into choreography. Creation teacher will lead step by step improvisation and composition exercises to build participants’ confidence in creation. This new approach of collaboration with community members will strengthen our practice as artists; influence character development; and provide real, powerful storylines.

 Yana Ponomarenko is filmmaker and an MA gradate from VKIG Russian State University of Cinematography. She is working on her Production Studies degree at Ryerson University. As a producer and cast director, Yana played key roles in developing some of the most popular shows on Russian television. In Canada she produced corporate videos, short films and music videos. She has volunteered both at TIFF and as a Programmer at Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival. Her past experience includes: Director of Media Relations at Moscow IFF, Programmer for an International Short Film Network MINI MOVIE.

Project Description | Yana is currently developing a feature film based on the life of her Grandfather, who found himself torn apart as a strong supporter of Communism and USSR, but all of sudden found himself in another country, another views, with different people around him.

 Alejandro Reyes-Andreu is a visual artist, born in Havana, Cuba. As an autodidact, he produced most of his art and defined the concepts, styles and aesthetics through his university years at the University of Arts in Havana. He began his career as Art Director, and soon moved to as a Co-Director for Television. He graduated from the Cuban University of Arts in 2012, and in 2013 moved to Toronto, where he is working to resume his career in the Visual Arts and in the Film & TV Industries.  

Project Description | Work makes a man, builds a family; and those who work hard, put their lives at risk, and work for others are the initial target of this new series, Industrial, construction and public service workers of Toronto.

This project aims at creating life-size portraits of Torontonians at their work place, and honor those who build our buildings, bridges, highways; those who take care of us: firefighters, police, paramedics and others. People who love what they do, people who also in this multicultural city, tend to come from other latitudes.

 Paul Salter is a documentary filmmaker, born in Devon, England. In 2009, Paul completed his dissertation film - a story filmed at sea, capturing two characters lost on a fishing boat.  In 2011, Paul arrived in Toronto and since then has  been volunteering at various festivals around the city: Reelworld, Manifesto, HotDocs and Ekran, the Polish film festival. He is currently working on new film project, an interactive web-documentary platform that presents the stories of Toronto newcomer artists.

Project Description | Movers & Creators introduces the city's freshest artists whose stories sculpt a newcomer experience previously unseen. This interactive web-documentary is a platform to showcase the work and stories of these artists to a wider audience. Currently this project is at a draft stage, profiling five artists, each from a different part of the globe. Each one brings traditions, cultures and stories. The aim is to build an ever-evolving collection of stories, by continuing to add new artists and revisiting them months later as their work evolves. 

Professional Development

 Mehran Azarbad is a graphic designer and digital media artist from Iran. He has an advanced certificate in Graphic Design and a diploma in Digital Media Arts with honours from Seneca College. Mehran has worked as art director on various project with United Nation agencies such as UNICEF and UNODC. He has over 10 years of experience working as a volunteer for art based NGOs, community non-for-profit organizations as a graphic designer and art manager. The best part of being an artist for Meharn is the creativity; because it allows him to create something new, attractive and interactive.

PD Training | The RBC Arts Access Fund will support the creation oh Meharn’s online portfolio. This will allow to broaden technical skills and develop his creative skills in different web-based formats.

 Poonam Sharma is a visual artist born in Jaipur, India. She is a newcomer artist and arrived in Toronto in 2013. Along with establishing herself in her new environment, she has been working very closely with community.  Poonam has contributed her work to the Banner designs in St. James Town Art , Competition Banner Design, Toronto 2014. She was the recipient of Nuit Blanche T-shirt design competition by Neighborhood Art Network, Toronto, 2014. In addition, she has also received Artstarts Platform A - Microgrant 2015 (Toronto Arts Council),  Community Arts Grant (as Lead Artist) from Toronto Arts Council for 'Neighbourhood of Nations" Mural Project and was recipient of BMO Seeds Fund Award by Neighbourhood Art Network, Toronto, 2015. Her work also been published in various media outlets in Canada.

PD Training | The RBC Arts Access Fund will give Poonam the opportunity to increase her artistic skills by training in Blue pottery. Blue Pottery is widely recognized as a traditional craft of Jaipur (Rajasthan,India), though it is Turko-Persian in origin. The name 'blue pottery' comes from the eye-catching blue dye used to color the pottery.