This summer Arts Etobicoke launched our first-ever Arts in Wincott Park Summer Series. The program was adapted from our popular Park Party in Bell Manor Park to bring a series of free arts and culture activities to the Wincott Park community. The workshops were conducted in small and safe groups with social distancing and proper health and safety protocols in place. Over 6 weeks we held a total of 144 workshops in Visual Arts and Crafts, Theatre, Music and Dance. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with over 30 amazing artists and art collectives who brought their passion and creativity to Wincott Park every day. Thank you so much to all the incredible artists who made our first Arts in Wincott Park Summer Series such a success! Read more about our Arts in Wincott Park artist facilitators below.
Arts in Wincott Park is in partnership with Delta Family Resource Centre and supported by an Animating Toronto Parks grant by the Toronto Arts Council in partnership with the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Arts In the Park initiative.
Abdifatah Hussein (Hidaayah House)
Abdifatah is a spoken word artist who is able to actualize the realities of first-generation Somali youth experiences in Toronto. His distinct approach to spoken word, whereby he blends narrative, visuals and beats, afford him the opportunity to reach audiences across various ages, backgrounds and beliefs.
Ayan Bashir is a Somali Canadian, Visual Artist, Arts & Community Educator based in Toronto, ON. Over the past four years, Ayan has shared art through various mediums; natural henna/jagua artist, calligraphy and graphic design. She is passionate about advancing equity and building youth capacity access to opportunities. Ayan has developed roots and immersed herself within her community to maximize her impact. She creates beautiful pieces for any event, occasion or just for fun! Each piece uses simple natural ingredients, a vast selection of tools, and of course with some personality.
Black Stars Collective
Black Stars Collective came to life in 2012 under the visionary direction of Esie Mensah, one of the top professional dancers and choreographers in Canada. The Black Stars is a coalition of afroinfluenced dancers committed to becoming nowadays leader group of AfroFusion Dance. Their pallet of skills combines more than 7 African dance styles including Azonto, Kuduro and Ndombolo, which they talently showcase as one flawless artistic expression.
When it comes to AfroFusion dance, The Black Stars’ intention is to set the highest standard within the industry. With a strong core belief in the power of diversity, they continue to showcase this value all the way down to the diversity of the company ensemble. The idea that any person can completely embrace the African culture is held strongly by all members. From drop-in classes to workshops, The Black Stars continue to share their knowledge and strengthen the recognition of AfroFusion Internationally.
Carmen Leardi is a Toronto based performing artist and instructor, with roots in Windsor-Essex. Carmen has trained all her life in a variety of dance styles, from classical ballet, to jazz technique, through the umbrella of hip-hop dance, and in tap and musical theatre, just to name a few. You can currently find her teaching fitness at Barre3 Toronto, or dance at The Institute for the Performing Arts, or performing with companies like Bravo’s Dance Company, and Proper Etiquette. Carmen is a travelling instructor and choreographer, and has worked with students of all ages from across the province of Ontario. She is a graduate from Randolph College for the Performing Arts.
The Concerned Kids
TCK educates children about important social issues through the uniquely engaging art of puppetry and empowers young people to make smarter and kinder choices in all areas of their lives. The Concerned Kids strives to support schools and communities in fostering safe and healthy environments where children are free to learn, live and play. TCK uses interactive puppet performances to educate elementary school-aged children about serious and sensitive social issues that affect their daily lives.
TCK has over 60 life-sized puppets that represent a diverse group of ethnicities, abilities, and gender-expressions, proudly reflecting Toronto’s multiculturalism. Our programs deal with a variety of important issues including bullying, consent, physical safety, autism awareness, mental health awareness, peer pressure and substance abuse, as well as cyberbullying, gender expression and family diversity. TCK’s goal is to arm students with the necessary skills for healthy social development, and to empower young people to fulfill their potential as successful and contributing adults.
Jenny Chen is a multimedia artist, currently working in watercolor, pen and clay. Her work uses symbols to create otherworldly environments while considering themes of existentialism and spirituality. Her exhibition history includes the Living Arts Centre (group), Toronto Media Arts Centre (group) and United Contemporary (solo). She is a recipient of grants from the Ontario Arts Council.
Jessica Bowmer is a Toronto based actor, model and theatre creator. She is a Humber College Theatre Performance graduate, with high honours. She speacializes in devised and physical theatre, where most of her feminist theatre projects originate from. She has and is currently workshopping her own piece titled Vermilion, which will make an appearance in 2021. Other selected acting and creation credits include; DopoLavoro Teatrale’s The Stranger 2.0, Toronto Fringe’s Who You Callin’ Black, Eh?, Lost & Found Theatre’s Christmas Variety Show, Best of Toronto Fringe’s F*cking Perfect and KW Youth Theatre’s The Giver. Jessica also works as a Patron Services Representative with Native Earth Performing Arts and Theatre Passe Muraille.
Kate Nankervis is an artist, producer, community organizer, teacher and curator working in dance. Her work is motivated by the dancing body and collective creations, and in all its manifestations aims to uplift and inspire the perception and position of dance in the public sphere and collective consciousness.
Khadija Aziz is a textile artist and educator who makes glitch art using textile-making techniques and collaboration with digital technologies. She graduated from OCAD University’s Material Art & Design program in 2020 with a BFA, and she will be attending Concordia University to pursue a Master’s degree in the Studio Arts, Fibre and Material Practices program this fall. In recognition of her creative practice, Khadija received the Creative Promise Award from the Surface Design Association in 2020 and the Craft Ontario Volunteer Committee Scholarship for Undergraduates in 2019. Khadija has designed and facilitated unique craft workshops for the Textile Museum of Canada, Harbourfront Centre, and the Art Gallery of Mississauga. She has been an artist-in-residence at Younger Than Beyonce Gallery and Harbourfront Centre. Khadija’s artwork was most recently exhibited in Toronto and Mississauga in Canada and Fitzroy in Australia.
Khaula Mazhar is an award winning, self-taught visual artist. She works with a variety of mediums and enjoys painting different subjects. A true believer that art is good for you, she loves to share her passion and get the community more involved in art through a variety of different paint activities she organizes as well as painting public art projects. Her outdoor murals can be seen around the GTA on Bell Boxes as well as walls in parks.
Marjan Verstappen is a visual artist, her practice encompasses drawing, sculpture, photography, and making art with communities. She has been teaching art since 2013. Recent exhibitions include INSTRUMENTA II (National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta) Atlas of Nowhere (Ashburton Art Gallery, New Zealand) and Know The Ways (Flux Factory, NYC). Verstappen was born in New Zealand, where she received her BFA in Sculpture from Dunedin School of Art. She moved to Canada in 2012 and graduated from OCAD University with an MFA in 2014. She lives and works in Toronto, where she is a founding member of Younger Than Beyoncé (YTB) Gallery.
Maureen Da Silva
Maureen Da Silva (she/her), is a Toronto-based printmaker and arts educator. A 2008 graduate of York University’s B.F.A program, with an masters from the University of Toronto in Women & Gender Studies (2009), Maureen has taken her artistic passions into the founding of the printmaking group inPrint, as well as serving on the committee for the Feminist Art Collective (FAC). She has many years of experience in arts education, honing her skills in guided arts experiences across the GTA with organizations including the Art Gallery of Ontario, VIBE Arts, and Blank Canvases as well as a member of the Speedball Demo Artist team. Her own practice in feminism and printmaking, as well as the artistic wealth of her print community has inspired Maureen to a lifetime of creativity.
Meryem Alaoui is a dancer-choreographer born in Rabat, Morocco, currently living in Toronto, Canada. She is the Artistic Director of Jasad Dance Projects. A graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, she has collaborated as a dancer with various choreographers including Amanda Acorn, Peggy Baker, Jennifer Dallas, Karen Kaeja, Antony Hamilton (at Dancemakers) and Julia Male. She is currently working on the creation of a group piece with dancers from Morocco and Canada. Her work is often an invitation towards a softer, more contemplative way of experiencing dance, and is propelled by a fascination with the complexity of the human body in its most beautiful simplicity.
Rafia Shafiq is a craft artist based in Oakville, Ontario. She launched a program called Dhaga Art which focuses on reviving Phulkari craft – a traditional Punjabi embroidery technique of Pakistan and India. Through a series of interactive workshops at various textile studios, art galleries, colleges and museums in the Greater Toronto Area, she has found a great appreciation and interest for Phulkari embroidery in the local artist audience. Her work has been displayed at various art exhibitions and she takes custom orders through her Instagram profile.
Sahra Nur is a West end Toronto based photographer and creative, who craves to include and uplift Black stories and faces in her photography. Her work is motivated by a desire to bring something new to photography, to include stories that center people who have long been othered in photography and bring their joy and rich stories to the forefront.
Samara Stern is an Indie Series Award nominated actor and improviser who teaches improv at The Second City. She has her Bachelors of Education from OISE (University of Toronto) and an undergraduate degree in Theatre and Drama Studies. Her favourite thing to teach is improv and she is excited to be back at Arts Etobicoke!
Sanaaj Mirrie is a social entrepreneur with a clear vision of the benefits of dance, drumming, and connection to one’s roots. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Afiwi Groove School, a cultural arts Ambassador, and a dancer who migrated to Canada from Jamaica at 14 years old. Since age 17, Sanaaj has been formally trained by renowned artists, including Albena de Assis, B’memba Bungora, Ngoma Drum and Dance Ensemble, and Vivine Scarlett, and Master Amadou Kienou. She has trained and performed locally and around the world in Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Ghana, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Sanaaj attended York University in Toronto where she earned a Bachelors of Arts in International Development Studies with a focus on Social and Cultural Development. She has successfully integrated her formal education and her passion for dance and drumming to create a school that uses the arts as a tool for social change and community development.
Sérgio Xocolate is a Capoeira Master, International Recording Artist, Singer/Songwriter, Award Winning Composer, Percussionist, Artist-Educator, Social Outreach Facilitator and Artistic Ambassador of Traditional Indigenous & Afro Brasilian Cultural Arts. Mestre Sérgio Xocolate revels in an explosive artistic career; his main focus, XOCÔ (aka: ‘Casa de Marimbondo’) is an Indigenous & Afro Brasilian Psychedelic Rock Band he conceived in his hometown of Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil, yet it was actually born in his new home of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. XOCÔ features a talented, diverse, poly-lingual, multidisciplinary ensemble. With a penchant for composing songs on the streetcar, Sérgio’s written an entire new album for XOCÔ; merging his poetry, politics, spirituality while paying tribute to his Indigenous Ancestor’s by breathing new lyrical life into traditional rhythms.
Zarita is a Kenyan crafts facilitator and creative entrepreneur who holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management. She enjoys working on art projects that foster social integration, cultural inclusion and personal wellness. Zarita is currently producing an East African crafts and culture magazine to tell stories of African creators in an authentic and honorable way.
Born 1985 in Zadar, Croatia, and currently living in Toronto, Canada, Sladana Zivkovic holds a Bachelor degree of Fine and Applied Arts from the College of Fine and Applied Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. Zivkovic is a self-employed artist working as an art educator, curator, and charity activist.
“My work explores the relationship between natural heritage and the products of modern society seen through a surreal prism. It is both formalistically representational and occasionally abstract. Recently I started developing a new series, which brings awareness on pollution.”
Suchiththa Wickremesooriya is a Multi-disciplinary actor, trained in Musical Theatre and loves to introduce new things into his practice all the time. This workshop incorporates his two favourite elements of theatre, Voice and Movement. We will learn to move with our text, we will have fun with some games, and explore the world around us with our bodies. Be prepared to move, be heard and have fun!
Suzanne Roberts Smith
Suzanne Robert Smith offers the very best and most uplifting of her lifelong ongoing theatre and performance training. Her classes and workshops are rituals in focused fun and a blend of discovery and celebration, balancing individual rhythms with the power of the ensemble. Through a series of spirited games Suzanne weaves together where breath meets body, movement meets rhythm, clown meets improv, character meets story, and sound creates worlds. Let’s embrace our uniqueness! Lets wake each other up with our bold presence! Let’s meditate and revel within the boundless energy of inclusion and togetherness.
Styx found breakin’ at the age of 12 and shortly after was taken under the wings of Maximum Efficiency Crew, one of Canada’s top breakin’ crews. Styx since then gained recognition in the breakin’ community for his combination of intricate and dynamic moves. Styx has won over 40 competitions and worked with companies such as Blue Jays, Canada Goose, and Disney. Styx now continues to compete internationally with the Canadian all stars team, United Rivals.
Born and raised in Montreal, Tanveer Alam started his training in the Indian classical dance form of Kathak with Sudeshna Maulik and continues to study with guru Sandhya Desai. Alam also trains in Taal Vidya — the knowledge of Hindustani classical music, with guru Pandit Divyang Vakil. He is a 2019 graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Alam has performed in the works of Pandit Birju Maharaj, Janak Khendry, Rina Singha, Lata Pada, Brandy Leary, Noémie Lafrance, and Sanjukta Sinha. An emerging choreographer, he hopes to carry forward the art form of Kathak in relation this his own truths as a diasporic artist, as well as reflect on the different trainings his body holds. His work has been presented at Dance Ontario DanceWeekend, New Blue Emerging Dance Festival, London Dance Festival, MAI – Montréal, arts interculturels, SummerWorks Festival, and Tangente to name a few. In 2020, he was a recipient of a Professional Development grant from The Canada Council for the Arts, to engage in a mentorship with Sanjukta Sinha.
Timaj Garad is an Ethiopian-Harari Toronto-based multi-disciplinary storyteller, Arts Educator, and Community Organizer using poetry, theatre, and music to bring her stories to life. Her art is autobiographical, working at the intersections of a black Muslim woman challenging injustice, unearthing truths, and healing. As an award-winning Artist & Educator, Timaj has graced over 300 stages and facilitated several arts-based workshops. Timaj is the Founder of LUMINOUS Fest – Canada’s first Black Muslim arts festival, and Co-founder of The Sisters’ Retreat – a retreat series hosting local and international arts-based wellness retreats for Muslim Women.
She is currently living in Toronto, sharing her poetry on stages across the province, continuing to organize arts events, and working on her debut EP ‘Blooming at the Mouth’ to be released in Fall 2020. Timaj believes in the transformative power of the arts to build capacity and strengthen communities.
Hi everyone. My name is Yusra Mukhtar; I am a Toronto-based Pakistani artist. I graduated from OCAD University in 2019 with a BFA in Material Arts and Design, specializing in textile arts. My work also involves a lot of watercolour and pen and ink illustrations. I love to explore stories of cultural identity, how it feels to grow up/live in between two cultures and how we preserve and evolve culture, with an emphasis on Pakistani culture. I’m also very passionate about teaching art, I think arts education is very important for a healthy and happy community.
Yvonne is a young teacher, who is always developing her craft. Her Dance journey started back home in Ghana, where she performed at cultural and church events. Then in High School, learned a few Western style dances. University is where she really discovered herself as a person and a dancer, by leading a dance crew. She has since experimented with different dance styles and appreciates the beauty of dance. Yvonne has been dancing with Afiwi Groove for 3 years, assisting and teaching dance classes. Afrobeats is her genre of dance, but appreciates West African because it is the foundation. Yvonne loves to combine the two styles to ensure her students have a fun time.
Zahra is from Ghana but grew up in Montreal, Quebec. Her passion for dance started at a very young age as a means to understand and learn about her African heritage. She is a trained Traditional West African and Afro-Caribbean folklore dancer. Zahra is knowledgeable not only in traditional styles but she is skilled and trained in Afrobeats and Soca. Dance for Zahra is her means of communication to show the beauty of the Diaspora. She is the founder of ZahraMoves, an educational and performance based company composed of dancers from different backgrounds whose sole purpose is to showcase dances that are fusions of African and Carribean styles as well as demonstrate the beauty and power behind Black/Brown girl magic. Zahra also teaches all over the GTA and uses her classes as a means to not only educate people about her culture but also to promote happiness, self expression and confidence.
Zita Nyarady is a dance, theatre and circus artist. She has worked on projects with Anandam Dance Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Nightwood Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Native Earth, Theatre Direct, Shakespeare in Action, Look up Theatre, Hercinia Arts Collective and Odin Teatret. Zita is a graduate of Dell’arte International. As co-artistic director of The Grand Salto Theatre she has performed new interdisciplinary dance/theatre/circus work all across Canada.