UNIT/PITT presents the La Commune 2021 Artists in Residence! Each of the 10 artists below, who represent a variety of media, are tasked with responding to an aspect of La Commune 2021 Free School that resonates with their practice and with their lives. The responses will be presented online towards the end of the Free School, in May and June 2021 — and possibly, with an accompanying in-person exhibition in Summer or Fall 2021.
Born shortly before the tumult of the Romanian revolution, and currently living as a guest on unceded and occupied xwməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ lands, Ada Dragomir works across media feeling most at home somewhere between spoofed youtube videos and serious sculptural objects. By harnessing the power of absurdity and irony to point to uncomfortable political realities, her practice primarily addresses questions of productivity, value, and labour. A recent graduate of Emily Carr University (BFA 2020), Dragomir has participated in several exhibitions and curatorial projects including curating Ritual Union at the RBC Media Commons Gallery, addressing the political implications of technology on the body. Most recently, she exhibited a solo show titled Against Working as part of the 2020 Capture Photography Festival. Dragomir has been published in Femme Art Review and Woo Magazine, and finds immense pleasure in reading and writing as avenues for creative expression.
Find out more about Ada’s practice below:
Alysha Seriani is an emerging interdisciplinary artist working at the intersections of film production, pedagogy, media art and community projects. Her work proposes horizontal modes of collaboration and seeks to witness intersectional practices, intergenerational learning and queer joy. In 2019, she was a recipient of Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch program, and her first short film SOAK (2014) is distributed by the CFMDC. She developed a youth mentorship program and associate produced THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN (2019) and has been a contributor and collaborator for many media artworks and independent films that have exhibited at film festivals and galleries internationally. She has also led and participated in multiple community projects within and alongside artist-run and youth-serving organizations, public schools and museums including VIVO Media Arts Centre, Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG), Writers’ Exchange, Museum of Vancouver, Cineworks Independent Filmmakers’ Society, and Vancouver International Film Festival.
Find out more about Alysha’s practice below:
Emily Guerrero is an archivist and librarian living on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səlí̓lwətaʔ Nations. They research gossip as both information practice and a method of care. They have worked at Xwi7xwa Library, SFU, and most recently as the archivist at VIVO Media Arts Centre. They are a parent and a Leo.
Kara Stanton is a poet and cultural worker based on Lekwungen territories. Through poetry and interdisciplinary projects, they trace the relationships between land and body, articulating their entangled experiences of water, the weather, chronic migraines, and dyke embodiment. They have shown projects at the fifty fifty arts collective and the Comox Valley Art Gallery and published poems in Poetry is Dead and Arc Poetry Magazine.
Manuel Axel Strain is a 2-spirit interdisciplinary artist with Musqueam/Simpcw/Syilx heritage based in the stolen and sacred lands,waters and air of the Katzie/Kwantlen peoples. Although they have attended Emily Carr University of Art + Design they are more appreciative of the knowledge they have gained from their mother, father, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and ancestors. Strain uses their lived experience as a source of agency to investigate different ways of healing and knowing. Invested with personal and political histories, their practice includes painting, photography, sculpture, performance, and installation, through which mental and spiritual well-being take paramount significance. They have contributed work to Capture Photography Festival through Richmond Public Art, the Vancouver International Airport, and The Musqueam Cultural Centre, and have exhibited work in many places in the land that is now called Canada.
They are a guest lecturer at the Vancouver Community College, where they curated the Indigenous Art Symposium “Indigenizing Higher Education.” Some of their most meaningful curatorial and community projects include “My Blood Can’t Feel the Land” with Gallery Gachet and The Talking Stick Festival, “Resistance and Resurgence,” a 2-Spirit exhibition at Interurban Art Gallery, “Destigmatization and Harm Reduction” at the Musqueam Cultural Pavilion, “Ancestral Ties to the Flood”, and “The Land Can’t Hear Your Voices,” created during a residency as the Maple Ridge Artist in Residence, as well as open studio events at Lookout Housing and Raincity Housing.
Find out more about Manuel’s practice below:
Mary Rusak is a photographer and printmaker currently based out of Vancouver, BC. Her practice consists primarily of analog and alternative techniques including methods like cyanotypes and anthotypes. In 2014, Mary completed a certificate program at the Haliburton School of Art and Design which focused on drawing and painting. Following this, in 2020 she graduated with a BFA from Emily Carr University with a major in photography and a minor in social practice and community engagement. Her work explores themes of sustainability and reciprocity, and aims to understand the science of the world we live in.
Find out more about Mary’s practice below:
Pippa Lattey works with sculpture, movement, sound and place. She is artist-in-residence at the The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency in Jan-March 2021. She has exhibited in BC, Saskatchewan and Washington State. Outdoor projects include Gestures of Birds (2018) in New Westminster, and Banana Installation outside the Vancouver Art Gallery with ISEA (2015, in collaboration with Thomas Evdokimoff). Collaborative and curatorial projects include Parking Spot Projects, and Vending Machine Experiment.
Pippa gratefully lives and works on the unceded, traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. She studied at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (BFA 2016), Langara College (Diploma 2013), and the University of Victoria (BSc 2003). Awards include the Langara College Sculpture Studio Award, First Capital Realty Sculpture Competition, BC Arts Council Early Career Development, and Canada Council Research and Creation.
Find out more about Pippa’s practice below:
Rhys Edwards is an emerging artist, curator, and writer. He is Assistant Curator at Surrey Art Gallery, where he most recently curated the permanent collection exhibition Where We Have Been. He has written for Canadian Art, The Capilano Review, C Magazine, and BC Studies.
As an artist, his works employ classical and academic methods in the pursuit of anti-representation. In 2019, he was accepted into the RBC Emerging Artists program, and was also nominated for the Salt Spring National Art Prize. He graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia in 2014, and he lives and works on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh Nations, Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo nations.
Find out more about Rhys’s practice below:
Ryan Ermacora is an award-winning filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. His work investigates the visible and invisible ways in which humans have engraved themselves into natural spaces and is informed by an interest in avant-garde depictions of landscape and labour. His style is defined by a self-reflexive and structural approach to cinema. His work has screened at festivals such as Cinéma du Réel, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Images, DOXA Documentary Film Festival, and VIFF.
Find out more about Ryan’s practice below:
Stephanie Gagne is a Vancouver-based visual artist, with a BFA from Emily Carr University, and an MFA from Simon Fraser University. Her interests include popular culture, neighbourhoods, and childhood nostalgia. Stephanie’s interdisciplinary projects often involve sculpture, photography, and video.
Stephanie currently works as a teaching assistant in media history at Emily Carr University, and at the Polygon Gallery. Her recent project Ball and Chain was presented in the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza. She has curated multiple group exhibitions for Capture Photography Festival. Her event Plastic Picnic was part of the Canada 150+ celebrations in Stanley Park.
Gagne continuously volunteers for artist-run organizations such as Malaspina Printmakers, Vivo Media Arts Centre, and The Western Front. She has also organized public panels and educational programs for Britannia Shipyards, The Anvil Centre, North Van Arts, Gallery Gachet, Hillcrest Community Centre, and Roundhouse Community Centre.