For the first time ever! Look for an awe-inspiring video art showcase on the stage featuring Alex McLeod, Toronto’s beloved digital artist. Alex has also curated a great selection of works by a number of dynamic video artists for this inaugural initiative.
From the Curator
To build a program of artists who have a connected theme of water in their works, represented as mythological, devotional, and resilient.
At the same shore of the ocean. The documentation of this performance captures the washing of a turban in the Vancouver Harbour. This gesture is continuously repeated 376 times through dawn into sunrise. Each gesture is a nod to one of the passengers on the Komagata Maru and is performed on the anniversary of the ship’s docking in the Vancouver Harbour in 1914.
Simranpreet Anand is an artist, curator and cultural worker creating and working between the unceded territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo peoples (Surrey, BC) and the lands of the Anishinaabeg: The Three Fire Confederacy of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi Nations (Ann Arbor, MI). Her art practice interrogates the so-called neutral audience in multicultural society. To accomplish this, she uses materials—particularly textiles, language, performative gestures, and photographs—that resonate beyond the typical art gallery context. Her practice is informed by familial and community histories, often engaging materials and concepts drawn from the histories of Punjab and the Punjabi diaspora, and their disruption by colonialism and forced migration. She holds a BFA with Honours in Visual Arts along with a second major in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and is currently working towards an MFA at the University of Michigan.
Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea
In these animations, I explore 3D and 2D animation techniques, emphasizing abstraction, color, and texture. Through slow-moving visuals and ambient sounds, these animations evoke a meditative quality. However, beneath this tranquility, a discreet undercurrent of darkness lingers. My intention is to capture the enigmatic essence of water, embodying its inherent potential and depth.
Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea is a Colombian-Canadian animator, director, festival programmer, producer, and educator. His work is influenced by psychedelia, genre filmmaking, and Colombia’s history of violence. His work has been exhibited internationally at galleries and festivals, such as the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Slamdance Film Festival, Glas Animation Festival, Los Angeles Latino Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival, among others. Gustavo has also directed music videos and performances for Grammy-nominated singer Lido Pimienta and worked as a creative producer and animator for her CBC Gem show, LidoTV. Gustavo teaches at OCAD University and is the president of the board of directors for the Toronto Animated Image Society.
Embedded within the emotional weatherscape of my own psyche and the unique tapestry of my life, my artistic endeavors serve as mirrors reflecting the paradoxes of our world. With profound introspection, I strive to encapsulate the complexities of existence in visual form.
Intrinsically drawn to the interplay between opulence and isolation, my work explores the dichotomy of being surrounded by urban wealth while feeling a profound sense of loneliness. Growing up amidst privilege, I discovered solace in the soothing embrace of the water, immersing myself in its depths. Yet, despite the comfort it provided, a lingering void persisted, a palpable absence that defied the solace of the aquatic realm.
The monument I have created stands as a singular head, a symbol of the isolation that permeates my current journey. Its presence is a testament to the myriad emotions that ebb and flow within me. Like the vast expanse of the universe with its infinite mysteries, the future remains enigmatic and unknown.
Through my art, I endeavor to evoke a shared experience of contemplation, inviting viewers to traverse the boundless depths of their own emotions. Just as the universe expands before us, so too does the inherent beauty and uncertainty of the human journey. It is within this dichotomy of wonder and the unknown that my artistic expression finds its purpose.
Cami, a Jamaican-born artist, draws inspiration from her coastal upbringing in Negril, Jamaica where her love for the sea and nature was nurtured. Now based in Canada, her multidisciplinary art practice combines digital techniques with 3D, Photoshop, and collages. Exploring the depths of self-expression, Cami’s work evolves through vibrant palettes and introspective themes, captivating viewers with her thought-provoking creations.
Activate NDN Consciousness, 6:05 minutes, 2019 combines found footage of harmful portrayals of Indigenous peoples in contrast with images and audio of contemporary Indigenous protest and rebellion, creating a work that captures the truth of a traumatic history as well as the desire and strength of Indigenous survival and resistance and futurity.
Natalie King is a queer interdisciplinary Anishinaabe (Algonquin) artist, facilitator and member of Timiskaming First Nation. King’s arts practice ranges from video, painting, sculpture and installation as well as community engagement, curation and arts administration. King is currently a Programming Coordinator at Xpace Cultural Centre in Tkaronto.
Often involving portrayals of queer femmes, King’s works are about embracing the ambiguity and multiplicities of identity within the Anishinaabe queer femme experience(s). King’s practice operates from a firmly critical, anti-colonial, non-oppressive, and future-bound perspective, reclaiming the realities of lived lives through frameworks of desire and survivance.
King’s recent exhibitions include Come and Get Your Love at Arsenal Contemporary, Toronto (2022), Proud Joy at Nuit Blanche Toronto (2022), Bursting with Love at Harbourfront Centre (2021) PAGEANT curated by Ryan Rice at Centre in Hamilton (2021), and (Re)membering and (Re)imagining: the Joyous Star Peoples of Turtle Island at Hearth Garage (2021). King has extensive mural making practice that includes a permanent mural currently on at the Art Gallery of Burlington. King holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD University (2018). King is currently GalleryTPW’s 2023 Curatorial Research Fellow.
Alex McLeod creates digital landscapes that explore the interplay between the natural and virtual worlds. Through a combination of traditional and digital techniques, they blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality, inviting viewers to lose themselves in a dreamlike world. McLeod’s art is influenced by a deep admiration for nature and a desire to inspire people to appreciate and protect our planet, while also being excited by the possibilities of technology to broaden our understanding of the world. Ultimately, their goal is to create artwork that engages, inspires, and transports viewers, encouraging them to explore the complexity and beauty of the world that surrounds us.