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The Submission Project

The Incubator Submission Project invites young artists from 15 - 24 to craft a full submission and have it reviewed by industry professionals.  In a highly competitive art world, this project provides youth with a unique opportunity to gain insights into how their work is perceived by experts, receive feedback to sharpen their competitive edge and offers opportunities for growth and recognition through presentation opportunities and prizes.

Abby Keeler

Amber Light Serpentine

(Foothills Composite High School, Alberta)

When I take pictures, I look for a connection that goes further than just ‘it looks nice.’ It’s a feeling you get in your heart almost like a sixth sense. I lean towards wildlife and nature photography because of the deep mysteries that they hold. You can bond with animals without speaking or even seeing. Instead, they peer into your soul, and it’s almost as if it is reflected in their eyes. These experiences drive my work to capture and give shape to something shapeless. In doing so, it gives the viewer a chance to find a connection and a personal understanding that isn’t based on what I point out. This photo was one which gave me shivers. There’s a surreal calm yet an undertone of pure ferocity. In a moment it’s like you perfectly understand each other, and yet are seemingly miles apart. These single moments of unfathomable connection creates a world of its own, detached from logic yet makes more sense than the world itself. There’s no judgement or fear, just simple understanding

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Alexandra Nobles


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


My name is Alexandra Nobles. I am currently a grade 10 student attending Etobicoke School of the Arts. I have been doing art for a few years now, but I started to strive to grow as an artist more recently, it has helped motivate me to do better. I love to see the progress between 3 years apart and 1 month apart. I love experimenting with different media. I can slip away listening to music, podcasts, or documentaries, and no one can bother me. I am also motivated by the fact that with art, you can change someone’s perspective and become committed together into one. I want people to look at my work and see how not only is my art an exit for me; but maybe an exit for someone else’s inspiration

Charlie Yip


(Toronto, Ontario)


As a post-media artist, I explore multi-species interactions in the city within its historical and

geopolitical context, focusing on the interplay between time, historical changes, and the natural landscape. For this photo series, I travelled by ferry to Yim Tin Tsai, an offshore island in Hong Kong. Greeted by a preservation centre and a public art installation, I followed the coastal path into the village. Savouring tea cakes made by an elderly woman, the Hakka-style houses and salt pans stand as reminders of the village’s bustling past linked to salt production. While St. Joseph’s Church underwent renovation, the former residence of

Saint Freinademetz endures, symbolising the integration of Catholicism within the Hakka community and shaping its identity as a Hakka Catholic village. Abandoned houses emerge in the woods, contrasting with the restored village’s heritage. Returning to an open space where I once photographed a massive ancient tree, I discovered its absence. It’s gone, yet the path remains. My infrared photos seem to preserve the tree’s

memory, standing sturdily under the light we once saw.

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Emi Fuller


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


The piece you see before you is one that I really like. Taking pictures without any humans is my forte, which is why I like making art in that style. What I'm trying to convey with this piece is how our land has been completely covered and obscured by human-made creations, and is no longer fully "natural". The image depicts a drill used for large-scale construction, with the bottom being hidden behind a large chain link fence. The drill represents the rise of industrialization, and how we're destroying the naturally occurring things that we take for granted. The fence shows how we as a society try to cover this destruction up and ignore it. Instead of acknowledging the harm we're doing to our land, we'd rather be blind to it, and not have to face the issues we've caused for ourselves. I wanted my piece to be a bit on the dull side, to show that if the industrialization of our once completely untouched land keeps up, our future will be dreary.

James Grant

Flush: Washroom Poker

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


Greetings, my good reader. I’m James. At the time of writing this, I’m a sixteen year-old, grade eleven student attending ESA. I’m in drama, but enjoy partaking in the more visual side of the arts now

and again. For this piece, I wanted to make something that had a seemingly darker tone, but upon closer inspection, it is pretty goofy, light and dark in a more conceptual sense. I want to convey that photography doesn’t have to be an entirely heavy art. It’s okay to take it less seriously, and even poke fun at yourself. We often have meaningful themes behind our work; but I’ve never found myself able to make work like that. Every time I make an attempt, it falls flat. That’s why I want to fully embrace the more comedic tone that I enjoy bringing to my work. Photography, to me, is one of the best ways to express oneself. And with this quadtych, I hope to express the comedy that one can achieve with just a camera and a dream.

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Jesse Miletin

Blue Disposition #2

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)

As a contemporary artist, I often feel like an archaeologist of the modern day. The civilization

that I’m interested in is that of our immediate past. My work tries to show the forgotten and unnoticeable places in our world. I document structures and objects that are abandoned and obsolete. I show this by using oil paint, ink, pencil, and photography. My art explores the nature of change, the passage of time, and questions why we discard things that we had previously found useful. The subjects I work with teach me about the challenges of growing up in a fast-changing society and world. I am keenly interested in uncovering the

forgotten places and things that can bring back our collective memories before they get erased forever by digital technologies beyond our control.

Kalya’nii Hoffmann


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


My name is Kalya’nii Hoffmann, and I’m a music student at Etobicoke School of the Arts. Looking at my past work, I’ve focused on multiple things. I started out with nature photography on a trip to Newfoundland. In class, I started exploring and photographing different things that reflected myself and my identity. I took photos that involved sports and others that involved my culture. I’ve tried in most pieces to have contrast and vibrancy, and I often play around with the saturation. I would like to continue creating work that relates to my hobbies and who I am.

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Leandro Josè dos Santos Nascimento

Nothing But Skin

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


I am always trying to dissect these moments of intimacy. I feel like, because of my gender and

sexuality, I have missed out on a lot of these moments of intimacy and experiences; it’s something I’m hungry for. My art is heavily influenced by my transgenderism and how gender and sexuality (especially its fluidity) have heavily impacted my experiences and my ideas of intimacy. This piece focuses on specifically navigating social relationships as a trans person. I wanted to display the skin of transgender people as just that: skin. When looking at naked bodies, our first (subconscious) thought is to categorise them as female or male. However, when looking at skin up close under harsh lighting, our perception becomes almost medical. We go from analysing and categorising to just seeing skin for what it is; it’s a reminder of our shared humanity.

Skin is just skin; we are just people who all want the same things in life: to be loved, to be seen, and to have a place.

Liam Tsuji

Chained to My Epilepsy

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


My name is Liam Tsuji and I am a Grade 10 student at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. The focus

of most of my art is showing my personal experiences and the things that shape my life and perspective of the world. My inspiration for creating this art piece came when I was thinking of how to raise awareness about epilepsy through art, and I thought of doing a photography piece. This piece relates to the theme of Shadow and Light because the light represents me or a person with epilepsy, and the shadow in the background of the piece represents epilepsy always hiding in the shadows, unseen to people. I want people who see this

piece of work to understand that epilepsy is a part of who people who suffer from Epilepsy are, and even though you can’t see it, it is still a part of who they are and still affects them.

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Lilian Brussé

Hidden Light

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


This piece is about the importance of positioning your perspective to see where much of the

light in your life is coming from. The brightest part of this photo highlights the perceived pain of the central model but, despite being in the shadows, the other figure in this photo provides this person with love. A shift in the physical eyeline — and metaphorical perspective — of the central model could provide them joy. I think that there is often too much of an emphasis on the importance of romantic relationships in our culture, and this can harm the other relationships in our lives. Of course, there is beauty in romantic love, but our entire culture is centred around those relationships. We neglect to acknowledge the importance of healthy friendships and, notably, relationships with one’s extended family, that could provide us with the fulfilment,

companionship, and support that we all need. This photo is my reflection on this idea and a call to reconsider how our world is structured.

Lillie Fauteux

Dinner Theatre

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


This image reflects the duality of relationships and the members’ intentions. Often, relationships

will have power imbalances and misunderstandings about that power. Misunderstandings about how far

people are willing to go sexually and emotionally. Shadow and light, like a dysfunctional relationship, are contrasting powers that have trouble living in harmony. Above the table, in the light, their date seems to be romantic and nothing particularly interesting, but below the table, we see that the man’s intentions aren’t so innocent, as represented by the fishnets, which are a symbol of sexual intentions according to male society. The idea of relationships being connected to this symbol of things happening under the table’ is about

indirect expression, duality, and hidden truth. This is something I like to explore in my work, and I intend for viewers of this work to feel seen in their struggles.

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Lily Prince


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)

I create art that helps me express myself in ways that I cannot externally through words or actions.

Art has always been an escape for me, ever since I was little. What keeps me creating is how much I love finally finishing a big project and feeling proud, as well as the relief of looking at the piece that I’ve worked so hard on come to be. The themes that I focus on when making work tend to be about issues that women go through, a lack of time surrounding my life, as well as my own experiences that hold me back. I want my pieces to be perceived as how I perceive them, but I also want the viewer to have their own experience and their own mental quarrel about what they think the meaning of my pieces are.

Maggie Kane

A Plate Full of Butterflies

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


My name is Maggie Kane and I’m a grade 11 film student at Etobicoke School of the Arts. My photography focuses on capturing vulnerability, shame and innocence. The driving force behind this work is my past experience with eating disorders as a child and a poem I wrote. Through taking something beautiful like a butterfly, and placing its corpse on a plate, ready to be eaten, it shows the need to appear beautiful even when you are in pain, to become the light through the dark; even when you become a shadow of yourself.


Staring down at a plate

My stomach rumbles

My body echoes a shiver, they run bone-deep

My lips are chapped, skin cracking and cold

I chew slowly

Each bite tastes worse than the last

A plate full of butterflies

Laid out like my mind

The butterflies rattle in my stomach

They beg to be let out

I refuse

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Maria Zhuykova


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


I am an art school student, Maria Zhuykova. This is my third year of living in Canada. My family

immigrated here from Russia for personal and political reasons. All my conscious life, I’ve been creating art. Since childhood to this day, I’ve been interested in self-expression, documentation, and bringing awareness to certain issues through painting, sculpture, photography, and writing. Most of my own art pieces are based on my desire to draw attention to the many social dilemmas that I’ve encountered in my life. Many of them are related to my self-identification and the mentality of my home country. So the idea for this work came

to me also because of the associations between my motherland and the place I’m living now. Even though I can now consider this as my home too, I won’t ever stop perceiving this place from an emigrant point of view.

Mia Contessa-Chopra

Baby Teeth

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)

I have been doing photography seriously for around 2 years now. I attend Etobicoke School of

the Arts, where I major in film and take photography courses. I fell in love with the medium and love how one image can capture and explain a whole concept or story. I often create artwork around architecture and spaces, so this piece is a little different for me, but all my pieces explore the idea of change, documenting who I am right now, and how that will differ as I continue to grow. I want viewers to be forced to reflect on themselves, how they may have changed through their lives, and why that may be when viewing my work. I want them to have a better understanding of themselves or rediscover things about themselves they may have forgotten. I also want viewers to be able to interpret my art in different ways, making it somewhat their own as they find their meaning in my pieces that tie to their own personal experiences.

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may satu agathom

Projected Future

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


Throughout history humans have always dreamed past this world, quite literally reaching for the

stars before we knew that would ever be possible. The objective of my project is to highlight the layers of magic and illusion implicit in these hopes and aspirations. Through my piece, I plan to focus on layered stories of different transparencies through light projection and transparent fabric, transporting the viewer far away to imaginative worlds, yet grounded in possible futures that could be realized. I constructed a dress out of a found ww2 parachute. Informed by the process of other projects that I have done in the past, I found that

I like the way it looks when videos are projected onto it at night time. The light interacting with the fabric created a mixed effect of both light and shadow, illustrating my concept of layered worlds.

Nyla Crucefix


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


The Hercynian Forest is an ancient forest. Many aspects of it, including its borders and fauna, are

debated. It was rumoured to contain everything from long rivers to unicorns. Julius Caesar encountered itafter the forest blocked his army’s journey to Germania. To me, the forest is a symbol of the unknowable, magic, and danger. When juxtaposed with the organised Roman Empire, the Hercynian Forest shows the power of freedom. The unknown shouldn’t be feared, as it can be beautiful. Similarly, shadow and light doesn’t mean good and evil. They are just different ways of lighting a space. I decided to pursue this concept, with the shadows being the unknown forest and the light being the known. Because of this, I chose to have the forest be in the shadow. I tried to lean into surrealism and a storybook aesthetic to reflect the whimsical

elements of the forest. Every plant is a cut-out based on a manipulated image of a plant. I chose colours I thought remained natural yet had a magical quality.

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Nyx Corbett Nelson


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


There is something distinctive about finding order in the mundane, though it’s this same unpredictability found in disorder that leaves you to search for connections. Through my art, I capture many varying components of what it means to be human, orderly, and otherwise. I express themes of vulnerability, interaction, and impact while showcasing the little things we pick up as learned behaviours from our

surroundings. An interesting thing about shadow and light is that their surroundings can greatly affect them. Neither shadow nor light can ever be made the same from one place to another. For example, say it is a sunny day and a tree casts a shadow on the ground. The shadow won’t be particularly dark, as there is light passing through and around the tree. However, if you were in a dark room with only a lamp, then the shadow of an object would likely appear much darker with such limited light. In this project, I want to represent the changes one’s environment can have on them, using this idea metaphorically.

Oliver Clemo

Shadow of Another

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


My name is Oliver Clemo, the subjects and approach to my photography differs drastically depending on my mood. The work I create is mostly focused on my own personal experiences or feelings, with a large portion focused on exploring anxiety and how I interact with my emotions, with self-identity, and what it means to be me. I like to explore lighting and perspective, trying to give the viewer something new or interesting to look at or think about an object or space, in the same way I use self-reflection to shift my own perspectives.

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Presley Flores-Holz

The Aliens Have Taken My Grandmother

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


The thought of my grandmother watching over me from the sky reminds me more of science

fiction than spirituality, a different way of looking at it than my family. Just because it doesn’t feel completely spiritual to me, doesn’t mean I don’t still feel her in the sky like my mother does. However, I feel a haunting aspect to it as well. My grandmother being in the sky is odd. I want her here, on earth. Though I am comforted by the thought of her presence, I sit with a strange feeling in my gut, because If she is no longer on earth, why can I feel her? The only explanation is that she is in the sky, like my mother says. So I will continue to talk to the sky, and I’ll continue to feel her presence late at night, when it feels like she’s in the room with me. Though I know that’s impossible. Unless the Aliens brought her back down overnight, so she could check on me without anyone knowing...

Quinn Crookshank

I Want

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been making art. My first memories are of me painting in my dad’s studio while eating microwaved instant noodles. My art has been a constant representation of my life and will continue to be with this piece, which represents want and need. Being a 15-year-old, I am now at a point where I need to make a lot of decisions about what I want in life. Because of this, my wants and

needs have been constantly shadowing me for a while now. I have a lot of wants in my life, most of which seem unreachable. This leads me to try and devote all my time to fulfilling this want and desire for my future, often getting so caught up in it that I ignore the things I need more than anything. I tend to live in a state of mind where my wants come before my needs, and the future comes before the present.

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Rachel Donaldson


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


I wanted to create a piece about women being on display, to capture that feeling of being in a

constant state of trying to show and create worth for yourself. The tinfoil dress serves as the presence of the constant, uncomfy feeling of being on display and having to present yourself. A tinfoil dress is, for sure, never particularly comfortable, but it is a sight that can shine and attract the eye due to its unusual purpose of the material. My subject expresses a cry of help with her facial expressions, emitting the despair she feels under this scrutinization. She is the only subject within this image, putting the emphasis on her. Her dress

sparkles, yet her expression begs the question of the purpose within the scrutiny and its repercussions.

Rachel Tischler

A Correspondence

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)

I am a filmmaker and photographer who is interested in capturing moments in time in a digital and artistic form as a time capsule of my youth and, even more so, a time capsule of the ideas, thoughts, and emotions that I am experiencing at the point in my life when I am making my work. Capturing the daily life I am living in, or a constructed version of it to replicate and express the thoughts I am experiencing in relation to it, is what I find defines my work and how I choose to create it.

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Rafael John Amelunxen Mcleod

Shadow On Nature

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)

My name is Rafael Amelunxen I’m 14 and have always loved taking photos of nature for its beauty. I am pretty new to contemporary photography having only started in February earlier this year. For this image, I tried to capture the effect humans have on nature, how often we leave it in the shadow of what we have built, and how we destroy it to make us want and not pay attention to the effects in the long run. This area used forest but they cut it all down for power lines.

Sarah Montiel Quintanilla


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


The image is of the aftermath of an apple blossom tree that had grown in my backyard for longer than i’ve lived. This tree stayed as a strong foundation through my entire journey from the day I was born to recently when it was cut down for the subway expansion. Not only was a piece of our land taken, a piece of my identity was too. It’s beautiful textures are elevated by the sunlight, creating shadows.

The result was a moment that yearned to be captured. The apple blossom tree signifies the everlasting impacts of this land on those who reside, such as myself.

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Sarah Peel


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)

I pursue art because it is one of my main sources of confidence. As a teenager, it’s hard to find

passion in things that are enjoyable and confidence building. Something like art is a tangible representation of progress that is an outlet for me to validate my talents. When I create, I feel a sense of belonging in myself that nothing else can compare to. It’s an odd thing to try and describe, but getting into the zone of trying something new is one of the most rewarding feelings of self-validation that I’ve ever experienced. I live for the feeling of being able to let go of pressure and test my abilities because I don’t feel moulded the way I sometimes feel with school. Art is one of the few most important processes for me because it passionately

stimulates my need for validation.

Sofie Smith

Reflections in Monochrome

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


For this series I chose to focus on portraits then making them into cyanotype prints using UV

lighting. I want to explore the balance of shadow and light and the human form. I’m drawn to faces and features and the emotions they can evoke. Cyanotype is sometimes a tricky medium to use especially when you are using artificial light. I think that by lighting the natural form with artificial light creates a duality that I’m interested in exploring. I’m particularly intrigued by the idea of shadow obscuring part of the face, so that there is something hidden. There is something about imagining what is in the darkness that is

appealing to me.

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Sophia Andrade-Gomes

Using Inputs as Outputs

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)

What I am most interested in is the relationship between shadow and light, as it translates to both

photography and its display (print). When you take a photograph, the information is captured through the

presence of light. This means that the highlights function as additives and the shadows as absences. When displayed through print, this dynamic inverses, with the shadows created by the ink becoming the additive. My piece seeks to explore this malleable framework and apply it to how I understand my own relationships. Giving and receiving love has come to mirror this dynamic of a shifting perspective of adding and subtracting.

We give love in the ways we are most desperate to receive it. When I write a love letter, can this giving which is done as a precursor to taking really be considered giving at all?

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Tallulah Joy


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


We all have secrets. Whether past or present, we all have secrets. I find that when it comes to my

secrets, I connect them with places. Places I can call my own because of my experiences; shared between

the trees, concrete, and sky around me. Light and shadow are often considered opposites. Light shines the truth on unspoken things, while shadow hides all that’s meant to be hidden. They are more similar than meets the eye. When you look at the sun, it is so bright that you need to look away. This light is so bright and overpowering that it consumes everything around it. Similarly, opening up to people is hard, as they might turn away from you. The truth is painfully visible and hard to face. I could say so much about this place, though I choose not to. Besides, it’s no one else’s business. It’s that light that keeps my secrets safe. It’s that light

that keeps these places safe. Honestly, it’s that light that keeps me safe.

Tara Hart-Lee

Touch of an Angel

(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


I create work in order to manage my anxieties about the future, past, and present. The inspiration for this piece is the forced change that we go through during our teenage years. We, as teens, see the world through a very different lens than the adults around us, and we fear the idea of losing this vision and our innocence along with it. It actually feels as though things are in the light and shadow, except we don’t really know how to choose because we are not sure what it all means. In the end, when we reflect on ourselves, we are either going through this loss of innocence or have already gone through it.

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Una Townsend


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


I’m a Grade 10 drama major at Etobicoke School of the Arts. I have always been interested in art,

although I’m relatively new to creating visual art. I’m very interested in the idea of vulnerability, and it inspires a good portion of my work, including this photograph. This work is about the feeling of vulnerability that I experience when I go through pain and the reminder that I am human. I seek out that feeling sometimes, and I find comfort in it, in a way, which is why there’s that light emanating from the wound. I want to convey with this piece that there is a duality in pain and that sometimes it can be freeing.

Veda Jane


(Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ontario)


I see my work as a fraction. A memory. Something etched into stone, of something bigger than myself. The act of creating, of thinking, and of refining is something worth exploring in itself. The question is how I got to now, not why, and the answer lies in my art. When I make art, I do not solely exist; I’m alive. I become something bigger than just myself. I become lasting. I like to play with the idea of what it means to be human — the very concept that binds our souls to our bodies. Childhood, siblinghood, passion, friendship, and isolation are all experiences and understandings that shape our lives and our humanities. Expressing these things in physical form helps me understand how I got to this place now. My work is not just a reflection of who I am, but of who I used to be, and who I want to be.

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