A home for public art explorations
This year, Art Nest will feature commissioned artwork by five artists responding to the structure, architecture and meaning of Nathan Phillips Square. Stop by Art Nest to experience interactive and engaging public art works.
Curated by Fatma Hendawy Yehia
Participating artists: Kristi Chen, Michelle Cieloszczyk, Rana Nazzal Hamadeh, Studio Rat, Stephanie Singh
From the Curator
Toronto holds inextricable layers of cultural diversity that make up the unique narratives and histories, including those of several marginalized and precarious communities. Public spaces in Toronto tend to reflect the city’s temporality, particularly as the pace of development has intensified over the past years. As a result of this dynamic, artists are often occupied with finding ways to activate and revitalize public spaces.
This year, Art Nest focuses on these narratives of precarity and diversity and how they overlap in Toronto. The artists in this exhibition share their personal and collective histories and use sustainable materials to immerse and engage us within this particular public space. They create an opportunity to contemplate Toronto as a place where differences are celebrated as a concept, while not yet fully activated and experienced within the public realm.
– Fatma Hendawy Yehia
Jasmine Scented Garden, Kristi Chen, 2023, jasmine scented incense sticks, douglas fir plywood, baltic birch plywood and greenhouse, 73″ x 99″ x 82″.
Soft Monument, Studio Rat, 2023, Reclaimed L.D.P.E plastic sheeting, wood, air, axial fan, misc. Hardware, 10″ x 8″.
Carapace Pillar, Michelle Cieloszczyk, 2021, Silicone, steel, hardware, 25” x 78” x 25”.
105 Threads, Rana Nazzal Hamadeh, 2023, textile on concrete.
a seat at my table, Stephanie Singh, 2023, Table base: Ash wood, India ink stain, OSMO black oil, OSMO polyx matte oil, Top Slab: Resin slab immersed with Organics from Jamaica: botanicals, plants and spices, 72”L x 34”W x 29”H.
Jasmine Scented Garden, 2023, jasmine scented incense sticks, douglas fir plywood, baltic birch plywood and greenhouse, 73″ x 99″ x 82″.
Kristi Chen is a multidisciplinary artist utilising sculpture and installation to explore the nature of identity, diaspora and the recultivation of lost familial archives. A recent graduate from OCAD University with a bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture/Installation, she has showcased across Toronto and Ontario in various sites from a farm to a greenhouse. She has shown at the Downtown Haliburton Sculpture Exhibition, ON (2023), Between Pheasants Contemporary, ON (2023), Art Gallery Mississauga ON (2022), Artscape Gibraltar Point ON (2022), Elora Sculpture Project, ON (2022), Xpace Cultural Centre ON (2021), Good Family Farms, ON (2021), Abbozzo Gallery, ON (2021) and the J-spot x the plumb (2021). In July 2023, this will be Kristi’s first exhibit in the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair with Art Nest.
Carapace, 2023, silicone and steel, 17.5″ x 17.5″ x 72.75″.
Michelle Cieloszczyk is a Toronto-based visual artist. She graduated with a BFA in Sculpture/Installation from OCAD University in 2019. She has been awarded the Haydn Davies Memorial Award, Best of 3D Works Award and the Most Innovative Use of Material Award at TOAF. She won the 2017 First Capital Realty Sculpture Competition; her public sculpture, CAN, was commissioned for 85 Hanna Avenue in Toronto. Michelle received grants from TAC, OAC, and CCA in 2021. Michelle has exhibited at Myta Sayo Gallery, Xpace Cultural Centre, the plumb, Propeller Gallery, Downtown Haliburton Sculpture Exhibition, Elora Sculpture Project, Nuit Blanche TO, London Culture Days, Good Sport Gallery, Long Winter, Yorkville Village Arts Festival, Red Head Gallery, and Main Street Gallery.
Rana Nazzal Hamadeh
105 Threads, 2023, textile on concrete.
Rana Nazzal Hamadeh is a Palestinian artist and organizer living between Ramallah and Ottawa on unceded Anishinaabe territory. Her photography, film, and installation works look at issues related to time, space, land, and movement, offering interventions rooted in a decolonial framework. Rana’s practice is informed by the knowledge emerging from grassroots movements for justice, both in Palestine and across Turtle Island, using memory and story to engage intimately with broad concepts Rana received her Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media from Toronto Metropolitan University and is currently conducting research on Palestinian food practices during the Intifadas.
Soft Monument, 2023, reclaimed L.D.P.E plastic sheeting, wood, air, axial fan, misc., hardware, 10″ x 8″.
Studio Rat is an emerging creative practice pursuing research and experimental design work between the cities of Toronto and Montréal. Studio Rat was founded in 2018 as a site for investigations on plastics, inflatables, and community building between work-partners Dominique Di Libero (b. Montréal, 1997) and Emily Allan (b. Toronto, 1997). The duo’s educational backgrounds in interior design provide an understanding of the aesthetic & technical language of interiors which they reflect in their installation work with Studio Rat through a practice that is committed to DIY fabrication techniques & resource-sharing rooted in circular design principles. Presently, Studio Rat is interested in exploring what new relations can emerge between plastic, craft and art and is focusing their research around experimental models of creative reuse.
a seat at my table, 2023, Table base: ash wood, India ink stain, OSMO black oil, OSMO polyx matte oil, Top Slab: resin slab immersed with Organics from Jamaica: botanicals, plants and spices, 72”L x 34”W x 29”H.
Stephanie Singh is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary textile designer. Currently in her final year of graduate studies at OCAD University in the Master’s of Interdisciplinary Arts, Media, and Design, her work focuses on sustainable one-use plant materials and transforming them into timeless forms.
Drawing inspiration from the beauty and diversity of Caribbean culture and the natural world, her current work pays homage to Jamaican culture and material experience through her childhood, reminding her of the place she calls home. The connections with preserved botanicals, spices, and fruit connect to her relationship with the natural world, exploring memory, love, care, healing and plant consciousness. Through her intricate and visually striking pieces, Stephanie invites viewers on a journey of discovery and delight, where storytelling experiences are captured. Singh’s works have been exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum in the “Canada Modern Exhibit” and received admiration from art enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.
Fatma Hendawy Yehia
Fatma Hendawy Yehia is an Egyptian-Canadian curator, based in Toronto since 2017. Yehia graduated in 2020 from the Master of Visual Studies Curatorial program at University of Toronto. Since 2008, Fatma held different positions at the New Library of Alexandria, including Head of Permanent Exhibitions (2010-12). She was the Assistant Curator at the AGYU, Toronto (2021-22). She was Guest Curator at Images Festival 2022; currently, she works as Assistant Archivist at the Art Museum, University of Toronto. Yehia participated in curatorial workshops (including Tate Intensive 2017), residencies (ProHelvetia and ZKU/Berlin) and curated several projects in Egypt, UK, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Canada. Her curatorial practice focuses on investigating censored archives, questioning inaccessible histories, and navigating militarised spaces. Fatma is the winner of the Apexart international open call 2023-24.
Rui Pimenta practiced as a visual artist from 2000 – 2014, exhibiting his work extensively in Canada and internationally. Since then his creative focus has shifted towards programming and curation. In 2009, he founded Art Spin, an arts organization now entering its 13th year of presenting site-specific, multidisciplinary programming in unique/alternative spaces and best known for its bicycle art tours. He was the Co-Director for Median Contemporary (2008-10) and has curated projects for the Toronto Artists Project, the Toronto Outdoor Exhibition, Eastern Front Gallery and the Government of Portugal. He has served on various arts council juries, was a member of the City of Toronto’s Public Art Strategy Advisory Committee and currently sits on The Bentway Advisory Committee. His curatorial aspirations are largely motivated by the enthusiastic pursuit of creating engaging and accessible ways to present art in public space.
Calder Ross is a Stage Manager and Designer with over 10 years of experience executing events and arts exhibitions. With a background in building and construction, Calder has developed an ability to see the project vision and work collaboratively to deliver a polished and well constructed final product. For Art Nest, Calder evaluated and analyzed the technical requirements, safety, and liability requirements of each work, and liaised with the building permit engineer and artists to ensure the artists’ ideas were attainable.