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“Home” is an online art exhibition that focuses on themes of identity, diaspora, history, expression and much more! “Home” is published as part of the Arts Council Windsor & Region’s Diasporic Expressions project. Artist’s works will be published online from September 12 – October 3 as well as accompanying videos from the artists themselves explaining their process of creation.
Works featured by Alex-Andrei Ungurenaşu, Elena Reyes, Eugenio Mendoza, Gulnaz Turdalieva, Ostoro Petahtegoose, Sandra Jabbour, Yara El Safi, Talysha Bujold-Abu, Maryam Safarzadeh and Ayola Chusney.
Organized by Samantha Badaoa.
Alex-Andrei “Alexei” Ungurenaşu writes from the perspective of an outsider-become-insider. As a Romanian-Canadian artist living in Windsor, ON, they craft poems, zines, paintings, and collages summoning the various places where they lived and visited. Writing started as a hobby for Alexei, and it eventually led to them becoming Windsor’s youth poet laureate for 2021-23. Alexei draws much inspiration from their studies in literature and philosophy, with existentialism and romanticism serving as direct influences. In their poems, Alexei uses words to bridge the distance – be it physical, emotional, or temporal – between themselves and the places, people, and moments that they miss. When they aren’t reading or writing, Alexei seeks ways of staying involved in the local arts community. They are a member of the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective, and they often run events with the Art Gallery of Windsor and the University of Windsor’s Humanities Research Group.
Elena Reyes (they/them) is a queer Latinx theatre artist and creator, and recent graduate of the BFA Acting program at UWindsor. They were born and raised in London, Ontario, Treaty 6 Territory. Elena is deeply inspired by the opportunity to practice different avenues and perspectives of theatre through playwriting, movement composition, performance, digital media, and other interrelated planes. They strive to create art and spaces that implement equitable, accessible, inclusive, anti-oppressive and socially conscious practices. They are eager to learn and engage with decolonizing their work for their own healing process, and to invite others to do the same through storytelling. Selected credits: Performer, an ode to home (Taking on The World: Critical Responses for Soulpepper Theatre, 2021), Maria, Milagrosa Maria (University Players with Elena Reyes, 2021) Alicia, Thank You For Your Labour (University Players with Outside The March, 2020), Lone, Reloj No Marque Las Horas (Lacuna Theatre with Tall Tale Theatre, 2020), Tiresias, The Bacchae (House + Body, 2019).
Eugenio Mendoza is a Canadian artist who engages with his audience through public performance to showcase his process. Using striking colour and contrasted patterns his work transcribes the energy and emotion of creating through collages, body painted humans and public installations. Inspired by art as a form of communication and organic patterns in nature the art brings a different perspective to our everyday environments
Gulnaz Turdalieva (Windsor, Canada) is an artist who works in a variety of media. She exhibited at different venues in Windsor Essex including Artspeak Gallery (solo and group exhibitions), SB Contemporary Gallery (group exhibitions), Gibson Gallery (group exhibitions), Mackenzie Hall (group exhibitions), and was a 2012 recipient of Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant. Turdalieva makes work that deals with the documentation of events and the question of how they can be presented. She is interested in creating artworks that produce a contemplative or meditational response in the viewer. Turdalieva’s work allows the viewer to see something familiar, or to be touched by the colour and bring some emotional memories Her collected, altered and own artworks are being confronted as aesthetically resilient, thematically interrelated material for memory and projection. By applying abstraction, she absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation. Her works are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted.
Ostoro Petahtegoose is a biracial, Nishinaabe of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek with European descent, born and raised in the traditional territories of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, comprised of the Ojibway, the Odawa, and the Potawatomie, also known as Waawiiye’adinong (the place where the river bends – Windsor, Ontario.) Ostoro is an Indigiqueer, transgender, nonbinary writer, Goldsmith and multi-media artist who goes by “they/them” pronouns. Ostoro is attending the University of Windsor to finish their English and Creative Writing and Visual Arts BA and was the BIPOC Artist in Residence at Artcite in August of 2020. In June 2021 Ostoro has been given a grant through the Arts Culture and Heritage Fund to work on a research project on the Indigenous history of Windsor/Essex county to use in an anthology of short ghost stories, and is currently involved in a community consultation process with their band on a mural project for a company in Sudbury. In Ostoro’s personal and professional life they continue to work at finding meaningful ways to connect back to their Indigenous identity through the work of building relations while learning their cultural language Nishinaabemwin, all while being obsessed with themes of hauntings, ghosts and land.
“I am an artist born and raised in Windsor, Ontario with a Lebanese and Syrian background. I am currently in my 2nd year at the University of Windsor for Visual Arts. I have had a strong passion for painting and drawing my whole life. I began taking art classes with local artist Julia Conlon from the ages of around 10- 15, and later completed the WCCA Visual and Media Arts programs at Walkerville Collegiate Institute. I have participated in the TARTS Festival twice; I have displayed my artwork at local restaurant Baker’s Bar and Grill and I have displayed my work at the Artspeak Gallery in Windsor several times. I mostly work with acrylic paint, oil paint and graphite, but I am exploring my newfound passion for photography and digital art. I am part of the Vanguard Youth Arts Collective in hopes to get involved in the arts community in Windsor- Essex and to continue to learn and grow as an artist and a person.”
Yara El Safi
Yara El Safi is a Queer, Lebanese, Muslim, visual artist and Performer. Raised in Tripoli, Lebanon, El Safi immigrated with her family to Windsor, Ontario in 2002 in search of better education and economic standing. El Safi completed her BFA Honours Specialization in Studio Art and minor in Women’s Studies at Western University in 2016. Currently based in Toronto, Ontario, her BFA aided with the establishment of her artistic discipline in formal studio practice, while her background in Women’s Studies informed her foundation to understand herself within a Canadian context and the intersections of identity in her ongoing practice.
Talysha Bujold-Abu (she/her) is an artist-illustrator, researcher, and cultural administrator – she holds a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Windsor (2018) and is recipient of the Conundrum Press Mini-Comic Bursary for Black and Indigenous Creators (2021). Residencies include: New Zealand Pacific Studio (2016), ArtsPond (2020-2021), and Pelee Quarry – Stone & Sky Artists Residency (2020-2021).
Bujold-Abu has spoken and exhibited at the Intersections | Cross Sections Conference in Toronto, ON (2018) and participated in the Structures of Anticipation Research Symposium and Exhibition in Windsor, ON (2019). In research, Bujold-Abu examines the cross-border relationship between the black communities of Windsor ON, and Detroit USA (1930 – 1950’s) during The International Miss Sepia Contests held as part of the Emancipation Parade and Freedom Celebrations of Windsor, ON.
Recent panels/presentations include: Reclaiming Hidden Histories: Researching, Writing, and Re-Imagining Community Narratives with Arts Council Windsor & Region (2019), the Black Creators Series/Discussion with the Art Gallery or Windsor (2020), and Growing Creative Careers with Work In Culture Windsor, ON (2021).
Selected exhibitions include: The Truth Has Legs in Leamington ON (2019), The Body Electric – Diversity in Residency Education: Training in a World of Differences, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (RCPSC) Ottawa ON (2019), Postcards from the Pandemic, Covid-19 – Online (2021).
Cinematic, honest, and bold – on his debut EP Scum, singer-songwriter Ayola effortlessly blends his Nigerian roots with a Western pop sensibility, crafting powerful and immaculately-produced recordings. From the lush and soulful proposal of “Fe Mi” to the protest-inspired closer, “Home”, Scum is a sanctuary of emotional wisdom and a frank approach to modern relationship drama.
Born in Osun State and raised in Kwara State, Ayola grew up singing at home, competing with his mother over who had the better voice, and listening to the nostalgic Afro-juju songs of King Sunny Ade on road trips with his father. “I think that kinda taught me what good music sounded like,” reflects Ayola.
One of ten children in his family, his education was his primary focus in his young adult years, eventually leading him to London, UK for his first masters degree at UCL. It was there that his long-held love for music finally bubbled to the surface, discovering a deeper need to write his own songs and explore what makes a good song, spending hours deconstructing hits from Coldplay, Passenger, and Fun!. The encouragement of local musicians led to his first record deal, which he turned down in order to focus on his studies. “I was always scared of not meeting the standards I’d set for myself in my head.”
Ayola moved to Windsor in 2016 for his second masters degree at the University of Windsor. Relaxing the pace of his non-stop education, Ayola finally had time to explore his love for music again, taking the plunge and recording his first three singles – the deeply sensual R&B jam “Akoto”, the uptempo Afropop song “Bola”, and the cinematic folk soul ballad “1974” – experimenting with new creative territory in English and Yoruba. Ayola continues to explore the intersection of diverse genres with his authentic Naija voice and effortlessly melodic style.
Painter and Poet
Born on 1977
Maryam Safarzadeh is an Iranian Poet and Painter who recently moved to Canada 2019.
Maryam started painting at the young age of 10 and learned many different techniques from various masters of painting in Iran. After graduating from university with a degree in Graphic Design, she started studying with the renown Iranian artist Taha Behbehani. These classes opened doors to many new dimensions in her art. Maryam has had many successful solo and group exhibitions since.
Maryam has been teaching art and creation for more than 16 years in various art schools. Currently she is creating art and running art classes at “Sho art spirit & performance”
In addition to her work as a painter, Maryam is an accomplished poet. Many Iranian composers have created songs with her poems.
Home by Ayola
What I Know Now by Elena Reyes
September 12 - October 3