ART IS MOVEMENT Artist Programme
[Image Description: A single rope hangs from the ceiling. Erin, white, is wrapped in the rope, mid-air. She wears a green skin tight bodysuit and has mid-length red hair in a side ponytail. Her lower legs end below the knees. Below her are mannequin legs with plants and vines flowing out of them from the top. She hangs, upside down, just above the mannequin legs, and touches the plants with her hands]
Erin Ball (she/her) identifies as a Mad and Disabled white circus artist living on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Ojibwe; Katarokwi, also known as Kingston, Ontario. She runs Kingston Circus Arts and is the co-founder of LEGacy Circus (a performance company co-created with Mad artist, Vanessa Furlong). Erin took a year off in March 2014 due to life changing events that resulted in having both lower legs amputated. She has since returned to her passion of training, coaching, and performing with a focus of including as many people in her audiences, as collaborators and performers in shows, as well as students in her classes. She has traveled world-wide to perform and teach. She strives for representation, access, and inclusion in the arts.
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Cassidy Bankson (she/her or they/them) is an artist and expressive arts educator living in Toronto. After acquiring a brain injury five years ago, she committed to cultivating inclusive environments for people with disabilities to explore embodiment, presence, and creativity. She co-facilitated a collaborative visual arts project with other disabled artists for the upcoming CripRitual exhibit at Tangled Art + Disability gallery, which will show in January 2022.
[Image Description: A woman with a fair complexion and swept back medium brown hair has a neutral expression. She is in profile facing right, looking into the distance. White light illuminates the front of her face. A thick blue scarf is wrapped around her neck and covers her chin. In the background is a wall of red leaves]
[Image Description: A black and white photo of a white woman with fair, curly hair. She is smiling]
Nikki Charlesworth (she/her) is a UK-based Theatre Designer, Puppet Maker, and Puppeteer. Since graduating in Theatre Design, she has worked at the forefront of disability-led theatre making in the UK, working for companies such as Graeae Theatre Company, Ramps on the Moon, and Circus Company Extraordinary Bodies. As a puppeteer, her work focuses on challenging full-bodied human puppet design, by exploring mechanics that celebrate and represent the disabled body. When not working, you can find Nikki walking her poodle, Benji.
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[Image Description: Photo of a black and white headshot of Vanessa. She is in an action shot where she is looking away and is covered by a thin white mesh fabric. She has an expressive face while gently looking down. She has dark eyeliner on with a dark lip colour. Her hair is pulled back in a low bun]
Vanessa Hernández Cruz (she/her) is an emerging Chicana disabled dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, poet, and activist. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, she received her Associates Degree in Dance from Santa Monica College. She is currently a candidate for the B.A in Dance Science from California State University Long Beach.
In 2020, her dance film "Nycto-Eternity" won The Dance Cinema Award from Frostbite International Film Festival and was recently screened for The Midnight Film Festival in New York. In 2018, she won first place in the Global Citizenship Research Symposium: Dance & Disability in Santa Monica College for her dance film "Grey City". Vanessa's choreographic work has received the award for Cultural Diplomacy for Innovation in Choreography from Ballet Beyond Borders in 2019.
Her lifetime aspirations are to continue to perform, choreograph, create, and to continue to pave an easier path for future disabled artists through her activism.
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Photography: Paula Kiley
[Image Description: Close up of a white man in his mid-20s with hazel eyes and light brown hair, wearing a white t-shirt in front of a red and black background]
Eric (he/him) is a dyslexic actor, dancer, and choreographer located in southern Ontario. As a child, Eric used dance as a way to escape the challenges school gave him. Select theatre credits include Lefou in Beauty and the Beast, Eugene in Grease (Chemanius Festival Theatre), Anne of Green Gables (Charlottetown Festival), and West Side Story (The Citadel). Eric is a proud graduate of the Musical Theatre Performance Program at Sheridan College and the Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program. Eric is also a dance educator, and hopes to inspire kids to love dance and use it to bring them joy in the dark times. Eric would like to recognize, as a white man, that his work is influenced by many marginalized groups and cultures including Black, Latinx, Asian, and Women, and gets to perform on the lands of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and the Métis.
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Velvet Duke (he/him) is a world-beloved Black, autistic, queer, velvet voiced entertainer, facilitator, and community leader. Velvet has performed on many shows that you already enjoy, such as Singular Sensation Online, Comedy Quarantini, and Holodeck Follies (with The Dandies).
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[Image Description: An image of a Black man from the elbows up, holding his hands under his chin; his head slightly tilted and bearing a loving smile. He wears a lavender shirt. The background is a gradient blue]
[Image Description: A headshot of an Indigenous man with a dark beard, wearing an antique boy scout leader's hat, a red Hudson's Bay Métis sash from 1870 around his neck, and a red t-shirt with Métis leader Louis Riel. Image taken in the photo studios at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity]
Michel Dumont (he/him) is a queer Métis two-spirited disabled artist. He currently resides in Thunder Bay. He enjoys breathing new life into discarded vintage tile by making mosaic pieces. He also works in wearable art, using packing tape, mylar, cellophane and LED lights. He has recently been making installation art and taking photos in his home mirror infinity room. He's shown at Queer Landscapes, Queer Intersections at the John B. Aird in Toronto, and the Queer and Peace Vernissage, Dawson College, Montreal. More recently, he's shown at Resilience in Art, Paris.
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[Image Description: A photo of Philiz, a Southeast Asian woman who has a disability, looking at the camera with a radiant smile. She has straight dark hair and is wearing glasses, a white blouse, and a light grey suit jacket with a white background]
Philiz Goh (she/her) is a certified oncology registered nurse who cares for breast cancer patients. She is a patient advocate for integrated care and accessible spaces and is currently on the organizing committee of the first North American Conference on Integrated Care by the International Foundation for Integrated Care in Toronto on October 4-6, 2021. Philiz is presently completing a self-help Acquired Brain Injury book while also volunteering in her community to assist the homeless by developing a financial literacy program. In her spare time, she enjoys painting with acrylics on canvas and uses art as therapy for her disability.
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[Image Description: A waist-up photo of a white woman with blue eyes and long blonde hair in a high ponytail. She is smiling broadly with her arms outstretched, singing into a microphone on a small stage, wearing a dark blue t-shirt dress and a denim shirt]
Ali (she/her) is a Toronto-based performer with a passion for advocacy. With the dream of making this industry as accessible and inclusive as possible for those who create and those who consume, Ali is currently studying ASL and Deaf Culture at George Brown College as well as Leadership in Accessibility and Inclusion at Ryerson University. A proud graduate of Randolph Academy, Ali has had the pleasure of taking on some dream roles in her career thus far such as Little Sally in Urinetown and Anne in Anne of Green Gables.
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[Image Description: A woman with dark blonde curly hair and bangs is looking off to the left of the frame and smiling. She is wearing a denim shirt and behind her there is a wall of green leaves]
Faye Harnest (she/her) is an artist living in Toronto. Since her brain injury five years ago, disability and mental health has become the subject of her work.
Faye has acted as a session panelist for the Ontario Brain Injury Association to educate rehabilitation workers, and has helped to facilitate a group project with other disabled artists for the upcoming CripRitual exhibit at Tangled Art + Disability gallery. She is currently illustrating a graphic memoir, work from which was part of Life on the Line, a mental health awareness campaign with the Toronto Transit Commission that was featured in Colossal, Hypebeast, Toronto Star, and Unsinkable.
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[Image Description: A full-length photo of a white man with swooping, wavy, dirty-blond hair and red facial hair, smiling at the camera, standing in front of a maroon van. He is dressed all in black: a black button-up cowboy shirt with metal snaps, a black leather belt, black jeans and black sneakers. His right pant leg is rolled up over his knee, showing off his broken prosthetic leg, which he has repaired himself using tape and bandages. The look in his eye says he knows how ridiculous this is but this is amputee life]
Andrew (he/him) has been a drummer for over 20 years, playing all kinds of music in all kinds of venues - from festivals in Shanghai and New York to illegal DIY shows under train tracks. Andrew has a guiding belief that there is no right or wrong way to create art, and that as disabled folks we are always finding our own ways of doing, being, making, and creating.
Andrew is dedicated to challenging harmful 'inspiration porn' narratives around disability. He performs under the artist name "Howlin' Heule" and currently resides in Tkaronto (Toronto) with his partner, his dog, and all of his plant friends.
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ANDREW "HOWLIN" HEULE
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[Image Description: An Indigenous woman with light skin, shoulder length dark hair, and brown eyes, wearing a black shirt and glasses, is holding a paintbrush and paint palette. They are looking at a canvas and are painting on the canvas intently. They are surrounded by paints and brushes]
Danielle Hyde (they/them) is a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist and persons with a disability (OCD). They are also a member of the Red Urban Nation Artists Collective (RUN) that creates and installs Indigenous murals (most recently at the Bickford Centre) and supports emerging Indigenous artists and place-making.
Their work blends traditional with non-traditional mediums; painting and photography with public art and performance. Central to their practice is the fundamental generosity and agency of Art. Art is alive and everything within it is an act of co-creation. They collaborate with all the beings; seen and unseen, human and non-human, in creative chorus to tell stories.
The Art comes from this interconnected place that acknowledges all the relationships involved. This process is a challenge to colonial ideas of mastery, ownership and treating land or people as property. Creating windows of understanding in an interconnected generous place we hold space as participants in conversation, building community with Art. Here Danielle works to humanize mental wellness, dismantle barriers to wellness, and extend the scope of what we imagine wellness to mean to include relationships with all beings and ecology.
[Image Description: A close up of a smiling white woman with curly brown hair, blue eyes, and glasses with frames that have splashes of blue, pink, and yellow. Kim is looking up at the camera and is wearing a purple, green, and coral sleeveless summer blouse. There is green foliage on the ground]
Kim Kitchen (she/her): Settler, Activist, Advocate, Mother, Crone.
A multidisciplinary artist living in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. Prior to Kim’s art education, she worked for years on front lines in anti-violence prevention throughout Canada.
Kim explores the collective cultural understandings at the intersections of the female body as it finds itself in the natural world.
Sound art and film currently lend to her practice of critical inquiry of body-land relations and the self-reflexive relationship between ability and artistic production.
Her community activism is inclusive, celebratory, and exuberant. In contrast, her work is introspective, thoughtful, and prompts quiet reflection.
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[Image Description: A self-portrait painting of a mischievously smiling tan-skinned woman with dark brown eyes and black glasses. Her salt-and-pepper hair is in braided on either side and tied with an orange elastic. She is wearing a black top hat with a red scarf worn as a ribbon band]
Laurie Landry (she/her) was born in Calgary, Alberta to a nurse and an oil industry worker. They moved to Wells, BC when she was 3 months old, and then to Prince George, BC at the age of 3 for the educational resources available to her as a Deaf child.
Laurie pursued art from an early age, excelling in high school, and then to Emily Carr for a semester. After a long break where she worked as a graphic designer, she decided to return to painting as a professional artist. She went back to Emily Carr University of Art & Design and completed the Fine Arts Techniques in 2008, and has since continued training with a mentor program and in-class workshops.
In December 2010, she completed training in life drawing at Studio Escalier in Paris, France, where Timothy Stotz and Michelle Tully passed on their training that could be traced back to the Old Masters such as Michelangelo and Raphael. Laurie says: "My biggest highlights of that month in Paris were training at the Montmartre studio that was once the studio of Suzanne Valadon and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec; and being able to sketch-study in the Louvre everyday."
Laurie now lives and paints in Vancouver, BC, on the unceded territories of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Her current projects include "Deafies" - a series of portraits of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind, and Deaf+ Canadians; and "Audiometry" - a series of abstract self-portraits based on her audiology tests through the years, using colour, texture and materials to personalize each audiology test results.
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[Image Description: A close-up of a white woman with brown hair and brown eyes, wearing an olive green tank top and crossing her arms in front of her. She's wearing rust-coloured lipstick and smiling broadly]
Melissa MacKenzie (she/her) is a performer, creator, and activist from Prince Edward Island. She's trying to figure out how to build a life around storytelling, menstrual equity, and loving other humans — while managing her shifting understanding of her body's limitations. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance from Sheridan College and is a co-founder of both Diva Day International (@ddivaday) and Kitbag Theatre.
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[Image Description: A close-up of a 28-year-old Latina woman with honey-coloured eyes and long, light-brown hair. She is smiling and wearing a sleeveless dark shirt]
Márcia Ramos (she/her) was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro and moved to Montreal in September 2017 to pursue a master's degree in Nutrition. She decided to quit halfway through the program in order to recover from her eating disorder (ED) and follow her dream of being a writer. She realized there are many other ways to help people who struggle with EDs besides being a dietitian - such as being a motivational speaker, writing about her own battles, or simply being transparent and sharing her experience. Márcia recently graduated in Honours English Literature at Concordia University and is a poetry editor of the literary journal Soliloquies Anthology.
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[Image Description: A self portrait of Asma, done in embroidery by using Asma’s own hair on white fabric, with many black and white lines and circles and constellations, looking at the viewers, smiling]
Asma Sultana (she/her) is a Bangladeshi born British freelance visual artist, currently living and working in Canada. She has received her training in Fine Arts and Art History from Dhaka, London, and Toronto. Asma organized several solo exhibitions and participated in many group exhibitions in Canada, England, India, and Bangladesh. She uses the unique signature of her body to explore identity in time and place. With the tip of her fingers, using her hair and footprints, she imprints her emotions onto different surfaces to express the inimitable chaos of her inner and outer world.
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[Image Description: A photo of TextaQueen looking straight at the camera. Their hair is blowing in the wind as waves crash behind them]
TextaQueen (they/them) has been widely and wildly showing their felt-tip marker and other creations for over twenty years. Their work de-tangles impacts of cultural and colonial legacies on personal identity, including their own as a queer, disabled, non-binary femme of Goan Indian descent. Texta lives on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung people, in so-called Melbourne, Australia, where they are preparing the launch of TheySwarm, an artist residency for queer and trans* Black, Indigenous and people of Colour with priority to disabled artists.
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Keze Whitlow (she/her) fell in love with cooking as a child. She was further inspired by her grandmother's kitchen garden and many local herbs grown there. Years later, her dream was realized when she became a chef. How enjoyable this process had been until she was deemed disabled due to an agonizing condition. Since then, Keze has ventured into entrepreneurship, starting a small business, Keze's Spices, where she aims to add to or enhance the flavour of one's food.
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