Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Canada’s leading contemporary outdoor and online art fair

July 12 – 14, 2024.

The Contemporary Quillworks of Vanessa Dion Fletcher Recipient of the 2021 Mayor’s Purchase Award

It is our pleasure to take you into the thought-provoking and engaging works of Vanessa Dion Fletcher, 2021 Recipient of the Mayor’s Purchase Award

Vanessa explores Indigenous and gendered bodies through various mediums including performance, textile and video. Her contemporary interpretations of millennia-old Quillwork art are sublime and arresting, evoking curiosity and reflection. Take the opportunity to see Vanessa’s work up close at 60 Works/60 Years, on view now at the Market Gallery (and please do, because the images here are only half the story)! Enjoy getting to know Vanessa and her work. 

Before we go, we would like to share some bittersweet and wonderful news about TOAF. Early in the Fall, we said our fond farewells to Alex Ciappara who served as the chair of the TOAF board since 2016. This was a chapter in which TOAF went through monumental transformations to deepen the impact on the community we serve. This required a tight-knit collaboration between the team and the board. We’d like to share our deepest gratitude to Alex for his sustained commitment and contributions to TOAF. We will miss your optimism and team-player spirit!

TOAF is entering yet another new chapter — having manifested itself as an agile and resilient platform during the pandemic, with exponentially growing impact and activities. We are thrilled to welcome Jini Stolk, a celebrated and pivotal art leader in Toronto's cultural sector, as the new Board Chair of Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.
Cheers to an exciting future of collaboration and new visions!

We invite you to read these beautiful reflections by Alex Ciappara and Jini Stolk on our blog.

About Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse Artist. Her family is from Eelūnaapèewii Lahkèewiitt (displaced from Lenapehoking) and European settlers. She Employs porcupine quills, Wampum belts, and menstrual blood, to reveal the complexities of what defines a body physically and culturally. Reflecting on an Indigenous and gendered body with a neurodiverse mind, Dion Fletcher creates art using composite media, primarily working in performance, textiles and video.

"These pieces are made using the Zig Zag stitch with porcupine quill embroidery," explains Vanessa in the artist interview featured at the 60 Works/60 Years exhibition. "This is an art practice that I grew up seeing and knowing about. But I didn't know anybody who actually made porcupine quillwork. I’d admired it for a really long time, and in 2017, I took the initiative to go out there and find somebody who could teach me."


Part of ‘Zigzag in Twenty Nine Parts’ series by Vanessa Dion Fletcher

"Quillwork is an art form that has been used by Indigenous people across North America for thousands of years. I’m really grateful and honoured that I get to continue using this art form and push it to new places." – Vanessa, during our Awards Ceremony in July 2021


‘Zigzag in Twenty Nine Parts 19 and 20’ by Vanessa Dion Fletcher, 2021 Mayor’s Purchase Award

View more of Vanessa Dion Fletcher's works

Hear from the Mayor's Purchase Award Recipients

You can now view the works of Vanessa Dion FletcherCheryl RockRaoul Olou, and many more at the 60 Works/60 Years exhibition at the Market Gallery.

60 Works/60 Years Gallery Hours:
Wednesday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to  4 p.m.

Location: Market Gallery, 2nd Floor, St. Lawrence Market, 95 Front St East

Curated Collections

Fall is the time when nature shows its brilliant colours to signal transition, preparing us for the long, cold winter ahead. With these scenic changes serving as inspiration, our team has put together the following poetic and cozy assembly of art for you to enjoy and bring to your homes.

Falling Into Fall, selected by the TOAF Team

Left to Right: Portrait of a BedSophie Edell, 2021, Acrylic on Bristol paper;
Table lamp base #1290Damien Faucher, 2021, Wood (Douglas Fir). These works are still available for purchase at

Left to Right: CutOlga Chekaryeva, 2020, Photography & Digital Media;
Hybrid AWensi Li, 2019, Silk & Watercolour. These works are still available for purchase at

View Curated Collections

Funders & Sponsors

Scroll to Top