Words and literal depictions are often not enough to share complex emotions. By instead creating an artwork that shares through expressionism, the exaggeration of reality, and symbolism, I hope to strip these emotions down to their core feelings and share them with others on a level that surpasses barriers.
Nature is a connecting source and middle ground between all people and my family is no exception to this. Painfully setting up tents, running in the woods, and cooling off in breathtaking lakes: these lakes. These are all things that make it so there’s nothing I look forward to more than my trips in the summer to Algonquin Park with my family. But most of all, it's the bonding and strong connections I’ve built in this time that brings the biggest joy. Letting go of the big city tension, of any social performance you hold up, and finding comfort in the stillness as a family has brought us very close. Through this work, I share the importance this has to me.
A Wanderer in Time and Place
My work often explores visual art’s capability for storytelling and portraying emotions that are difficult to put into words. I use imagery inspired by dreams, fairytales and vintage book illustrations to articulate the “irrational”. Houses & apartments are places people pass through and leave memories and “emotional residue” in. Several people can live in and pass through a single apartment at different points in time and each will come away with their own associations and memories of that space. A Wanderer in Time and Place depicts the combination of alienation and excitement I felt from being a new arrival in Canada.
we overlap this land and this land overlaps us
In today’s climate, I find it easy to be pessimistic. It’s easy to give in to the idea that we’ve destroyed the planet and that we’re doomed—I won’t deny that it often feels that way. But I prefer to believe that the positive change we need will come from optimism: a hope and willingness to do better, not a resignation to the end.
My work examines the idea that the places in which humans have destroyed and reclaimed nature, nature will one day reclaim for itself once again, and so on and so forth in a perhaps never-ending cycle. In these places, little ghosts of past eras linger—they remind us of what once was, and what may still be.
I am a relatively traditional girl, and I like to capture emotions. Whether it's painting, digital, or photography, I'm all about the feeling. I take a mix of those two perspectives, and I put them into my art. This piece is a representation of my connection with my culture, and the traditions that come with it.
I love talking about my heritage. I have spent every summer in Hungary with my grandparents and recently joined a Hungarian folk dancing group here in Toronto. I haven't always been as connected to my heritage as I am now, and I wanted to celebrate it with this artwork. Hungary used to feel like another land, but now it feels like my land, the land where my family comes from.
This piece is about home and my connection with my Hungarian background throughout the years of my life. The dancers are pictures of me that have been assembled into a self-portrait, showing that although I have changed, my love for Hungarian dance, and its culture, has remained within me, and become even stronger.
For me, personal identity is deeply connected to the environment. I feel that the culture of one’s homeland and the social attitude of one’s current community affects and is reflected in how humans express their identities. This image portrays the dialectics of cultural belonging by placing a queer subject in a religious environment. I feel that a profound sense of power and comfort comes with the ability to express one’s identity completely, and that this sense of pride heavily relies on the culture of where one lives. The idea of a “Promise Land” in Jewish culture is a physical environment where Jews can proudly exist. Although Jewish and queer people have been oppressed throughout history, and continue to struggle with unapologetically expressing their identities, this image portrays the warmth that comes with living in a place that encourages intersectionality in identity and liberty in self-expression. When the political and social state of a land progresses in allowing humans of all backgrounds and identities to be who they are without consequences, we can imagine promising futures for ourselves.
Although we constantly try to create things to stand the test of time, inevitably everything becomes derelict and abandoned. Oftentimes these things are buildings, once home to purpose and life, returned to rubble and left void of all the things that gave them life. Although at a surface level, it can seem that these places are just empty husks of what they once were, I want to use this artwork to show the beauty that can be placed into these buildings with their decay.
This photo was taken at the abandoned Hearn Generating Station at 440 Unwin Ave in Toronto. Impermanence shows the beauty and complexity of abandoned and derelict buildings. When looking at my piece, one should see that, although derelict buildings could seem like just marks from a failed time, they can also be seen as places for new opportunities and new beauty.
What inspired this piece was my desire to learn more about the history of the land I live on. It was predominantly a research-driven work, and the final piece reflects what I learned. My research focused on Industrialization. I learned that so much of our city has been changed to benefit Industrial corporations. I wanted the final piece to appear abstract at first glance, but with closer inspection be very literal. I created three maps portraying Toronto's waterways being affected by manufacturing. My goal for this project was to make the viewer think more about the history of the land they stand on, think about how what used to be Indigenous land has been permanently shaped by colonialism and industrialization.
When it comes to the concept of Dreamers, my first thought was in relation to daydreaming, something that is very present during the lives of teenagers. I took a black and white picture of anonymous friends on the school grounds and covered their faces with the thought bubble representing their daydream. With each acrylically painted thought bubble, every person is shown to have drastically different daydreams, with the main thought being a distracting or ideal situation. My piece shows the individual inner thoughts between people, and what may matter to each one most at the time. With acrylic white lines, I painted the symbolic effect that daydreaming or other internal factors may have on someone, despite being surrounded by other people.
Today's generations are being raised to be aware of our interactions with, and to care for the environment. This understanding of environmental issues influenced my personal outlook and directly impacts the message in my art. In my photography I intend to represent the burden of humanity's unsustainable lifestyle on the land we inhabit, emphasizing the interconnected health of the land and our bodies. “This Land” inspired me to explore this innate connection that is an often overlooked aspect of environmental concern. The medium of film photography allowed me to have a physical and personal approach to the creative process. The traditional medium in combination with the symbolic imagery is intended for the viewer to connect to the photograph, and encourages a hands-on approach to addressing environmental impact. I hope the title, “Driving”, invites viewers to question what the forces of both harm and change are in their world.
Look What You've Done.
Through much of my art, I work to bring focus to significant issues and further interpret them based on my own personal experiences and values. With this piece, I explore one of the most daunting issues we all face; global warming. My title “Look What You’ve Done.” is targeted towards one major cause, which is our government, and I specifically point out how their actions affect the youth. By hanging images on a line, I reference the saying “Don’t air out your dirty laundry” because the government's involvement in stripping youth of their future through ignoring environmental issues, and rather, causing them, is largely kept hidden. By failing to reach targets and partnering with major polluting industries and corporations, it continues to value profit over our own health. While our health is in their hands, protest is one of our few freedoms. Through my work I protest, bringing shame to their actions while reclaiming a sense of autonomy.
World Food Market in the Winter
One of Toronto’s most identifiable features is the intermingling of cultures. Diversity is seen throughout the city in various ways. In my opinion, food is the best way to share culture. All across Toronto you can find restaurants, markets, and street vendors that offer cuisine unique to different countries. World Food Market, located in downtown Toronto, is just one of these places. With Everything from Korean-style hotdogs to a Brazilian Pastelaria, World Food Market has lots to offer. This open-air marketplace is often filled with activity during the spring and summer seasons, helping the communal feeling to thrive. During the winter, however, few people take the opportunity to dine outdoors which can make us feel lonely sometimes. It serves as a reminder that winter doesn’t last forever and soon we will come together for many times to come; as we celebrate the reason why this city is the hub for shared culture and community.
We Stand Together
I chose to go about this theme by exploring the physical land that connects us all. I was inspired by the interconnectedness that soil brings. While exploring the theme, I took a step back and looked at the land we are standing on from a faraway perspective. I imagined two people standing on opposite sides of the earth, and how the soil beneath everyone connects us to those on the other side. Through photography, collage, and two different people’s feet, I bring everything together.
The concept of this land represents the realm of creation and emotion that I use to produce all of my artwork. The realm of creativity I have in my imagination, as well as the position of the artist within the work of art and the artwork within the artist. Through painting, projection, and photography, I have put this concept into practice. Projecting this painting onto myself as the creator is an exploration of ways in which I am a part of my work and how it makes me feel empowered. The projection of my work gives ‘this land’ a physical space where both my work and I are integrated creating a completely new meaning.
The theme “This Land” made me think of my grandmother and of the many stories she shares about her immigrant experience in Canada. My grandmother grew up in a small coastal village in Portugal and thought of Canada as a land of hope, happiness and a great opportunity for her family. While there were many difficult and challenging times throughout her journey, she stresses that it was all totally worth it. In this portrait, I tried to convey the happy and hopeful side of my grandmother’s immigrant experience while honouring her bravery, sacrifice and devotion to her family.
My intention was to have the different photos collaged together, all connecting and blending together into this hazy finish was conveyed. The execution of the images collaged to look like a looking glass, or fisheye lens was an idea I had pretty later on, but I was glad to be able to incorporate it.
Portrait of Paloma
As humans, I believe that growth is a vital and constant aspect of our existence which adapts and transforms with our surroundings. I’ve always considered myself a storyteller and through the prompt “This Land”, I sought to tell a story regarding the correlation between surroundings and growth. My subject, Paloma, is a Spanish-Canadian who spent most of her childhood living in Spain and moved to Toronto on her own at the age of 16. Her life experiences and unique perspective made her the perfect subject for this project. Through this photograph, I sought not only to understand the relationship between one’s environment and one’s growth, but also the ever-changing meaning of “home”.
I wanted to present a somewhat eerie but confusingly cute image. That definitely wasn’t how my artwork began, but I enjoyed the final product. Images of wildlife, especially small animals, were a large subconscious inspiration for these photos, and cryptid (folkloric) animals and creatures positively inspired the figure seen in the images.
I want viewers to see parts of my art in their everyday lives and be reminded of it. That might be a bit self-centred, but can you blame a human for wanting to be remembered?