Meet the Artists: Luminato’s 2022 Artists in Residence Cohort
We’re thrilled to announce the 2022 cohort of 5 local artists in our Artists in Residence (AIR) program.
Luminato’s AIR program is a residency for Toronto-based mid-to-senior career artists, working in any genre or medium, who are prepared to expand their professional network, share their knowledge with other artists, and develop their personal practices in ways that reflect Luminato’s mandate for visionary large-scale works. A committee of arts community leaders and Luminato team members selected 5 provocative local artists from over 85 applications.
The residency focuses on intentional relationship building between artists and their communities. It is structured around group workshops, dinners, walks, informal conversations, and other strategies which cultivate relationships and expand networking opportunities. The 5 resident artists are encouraged to deepen affiliations with other artists working in different mediums while continuing to develop their own projects.
We can’t wait for you to meet these exceptional artists. Read on to learn more about them and their work.
Ansley Simpson (Alderville FN) is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabe musician known for poetic lyrics, dream-like arrangements and deeply moving vocal-only performances that hold audiences spellbound with storytelling embedded in song. In 2018 they won an Indigenous Music Award for their debut album Breakwall and a place on the 2021 Polaris Shortlist for their collaboration with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Theory of Ice. Ansley’s original score enlivened the powerful message throughout Tanya Talaga’s award-winning documentary Spirit to Soar and their highly anticipated sophomore album She Fell from the Sky is a journey through Indigenous reclamation coming out May 2022 on Gizhiiwe.
“For me, being an artist is both a challenging and deeply rewarding profession that allows me to be in this world in a way where I can both nurture my own innate desire to create and use that created work to help others. I find this very true in songwriting in particular. When I have hit on the right lyrics, enhanced those words with music and finally play the songs live or recorded them, I can deliver what is maybe an important or powerful message right into the ears of those listening. If I tried to deliver the same message through a conversation it is less powerful or perhaps brushed off.
Art has the ability to lower our guards, to let things in we normally wouldn’t even notice or hear. For me, it is a huge honor and responsibility to create art, to be an artist. It’s a path I will continue to be on for as long as I’m alive. It’s a path that has allowed me the space to feel and create on a timeline that works in balance with both my daughter and myself.”
– Ansley Simpson
Listen to Ansley Simpson’s performance at Venus Fest.
Adeyemi Adegbesan is a Toronto-based multi-disciplinary artist whose practice aims to examine the intersectionality of Black identity. Reflecting on Blackness through pre-colonial, colonial, present day and future timelines; across regions, religions, varying levels of income and political lines, Adegbesan examines the dichotomy of the richness of Black experiences with the imposed societal homogeneity of ‘Blackness’. Through his work Adegbesan pulls from these varying elements to create Afro-futuristic portraits that embody the history and future of Black culture. Adeyemi is a self-taught artist whose practice incorporates photography, mixed media collage, murals and assemblage. He works out of his studio in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighborhood and has shown work in Canada and the United States. He has also worked with brands such as HBO, Instagram, and the Toronto Raptors on commercial collaborations.
“I believe the role of the artist in society is to transmute experiences and make them accessible to a broader audience. Ideally, this fosters a greater sense of awareness and increased empathy for experiences and situations that exist in society outside of the scope of our own lived experience. I believe that the awareness and empathy art has the potential to generate transformative properties that can facilitate critical reflection, healing, and innovation.”
– Adeyemi Adegbesan
Since 2011 Candice Dixon has been designing and producing costumes for Caribbean carnivals globally. Her approach builds on traditional craftsmanship rooted in Caribbean culture, combined with advanced digital fabrication methods. In 2016 she was awarded the “Access and Career Development” grant through the Ontario Arts Council, where she traveled to Trinidad to mentor under some of the most revered Caribbean carnival costume designers. Since 2017, her company SugaCayne has been incubated by the Design Fabrication Zone at X University (Ryerson). As design lead, she has produced three projects bringing the craft of carnival arts to X University and OCAD students. These costume projects were the first in the world to incorporate 3D-printing and laser-cut technologies into carnival arts. The designs have been published by media outlets like Breakfast Television, CP24, NOW Magazine and others, and have been exhibited in the Design Exchange Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto City Hall.
“With a yearning to share my beautiful culture with the world, I have made it my life’s mission to professionalize the Carnival Arts space. I have been selling my costumes globally since 2011 in places like Toronto, Miami, Cayman Islands, Chicago, and Trinidad. It has become very evident to me that the carnival experience is infectious, and once you’ve had a taste, you will always come back. The work is not only rewarding financially, there is also something otherworldly about witnessing what was once a thought come to fruition on carnival day with hundreds of people reveling in the sunshine and wearing my designs.
I also use my work to tell the stories of my ancestors and culture. Caribbean carnival as we know it, started as a resistance to African enslavement on the islands, and it has grown into a celebration of our freedom and a display of our unity. With this work, I have been able to further innovate, educate, and engage Caribbean carnival enthusiasts with traditional carnival culture and introduce the artform to newer audiences.“
– Candice Dixon
Lisa Pijuan-Nomura (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist who works in mixed media collage, story, dance and sound. She currently lives in Hamilton and is the co-founder of Studio Beulah, a community gallery focused on Art, Performance and Community. Alongside her personal art practice Lisa offers support to artists as a creativity coach and an organizer of art happenings. She is focused on MIGHTY BRAVE Youth Arts Collective which helps youth learn about putting your art out into the world. As a storyteller, she creates one person shows which explore themes of family, aging, food made with love and invisibility. For more information please see www.studiobeulah.com
“When I was 13 years old, I announced to anyone who would listen that I was going to become an artist and work with performance, books and kids. At 15, I found an agent and was auditioning for television and film. I soon became tired of a world where I was typecast and told I wasn’t thin enough, or pretty enough. I was told that I was very talented but just had a “unique” look that they couldn’t quite place. At 25, I left that world and convinced myself that I should not be an artist. Yet here I am 24 years later.
I create one woman shows that combine personal story, movement and sound. I became a dance theatre artist and performed with some of my most esteemed mentors. I taught myself how to be a collage artist after being burnt out by curating RED: A Night of Live Performance. And now, I spend my time putting all of those things together to create happenings. I can’t not be a professional artist. I can’t just dabble. I can’t just do it part time. Art has and always will be what I do.”
– Lisa Pijuan-Nomura
Born in England, Viv has danced, choreographed and acted, both collaboratively and as a solo artist since 1979 (Australia, England, Sweden, Canada). She has studied Dance, Acting, Clown, Bouffon, Butoh and Stage Combat. Selected credits: Co-founded Remote Control with Dave Wilson (1979); Fujiwara Dance, Sashar Zarif, Allison Cummings (Dance); Theatre Rusticle (Actor); Damien (Actor, A&E TV); Theatre Direct (Choreography); outside eye/Movement Coach – dance and theatre productions; community dance – London, England and Canada (RNIB, CNIB, deaf & partial hearing, multi-abilities, psychiatric survivors); Past National Coordinator of Fight Directors, Canada; Dance/Movement Professor, Humber College; curator/festival presenter (60×60), Nuit Blanche (Dance Ontario, Distillery); Artistic Director Body Percussion Festival; Received: Harold (1998-99); Paula Citron 1999 fFIDA Award (Bogie Woman) and several Dora nominations. Solo performance Worcestershire Saucy inspired by eclectic mix of Theatre, Dance, Music Hall, English Clog and Step Dance, Stage Combat and Butoh; Chalmers Arts Fellowship research (2012) – English Step (Kent); Bullwhip, Knife, Tomahawk, Archery (L.A.); Butoh (Vienna)
“As a Movement centered artist, I prefer to use my body to relay stories. My response to the residency is fueled by my interest in the raw underbelly of Outsider Art; the character opportunities of Butoh and Bouffon; the innate history of Eccentric Dance; the strength and physical manifestation of fear and ferocity; and my passion for Body Sovereignty, Spirituality and Family Lines.
I am fascinated by how we tread on this planet and intrigued by communication and sharing, based in whichever reality we are in. Who is correct? Is there a ‘right?’ Who decides? Who Labels? Why do we follow or not follow? What is ultimately more interesting? How do we stay visible and fight the urge to sink? How do we keep afloat in the vats of excrement we find ourselves in? How do we transform and stay in that balance of being sparked or dulled or charge forward into the massive light? Why is disappearing not an option to me, even in loss and change?”
– Viv Moore
Learn more about Viv Moore in this interview.