I spy… is a mail art program created by UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness. This year, 30 participating artists were mailed a disposable camera and a unique text prompt written by poet, editor and writer Jane Shi. They were instructed to photograph whatever they want, as long as one photograph responds to the prompt. UNIT/PITT will choose nine unedited photographs from each roll to showcase online and in a final photo catalogue designed by Ricky Castanedo-Laredo.
This year’s project will feature photographs taken between August-September 2022 by Ada Dragomir, Alger Ji-Liang, Ana M Tonso Alonso, Angie Rico, Atheana Picha, Celina de Leon, Chloe Hardmon, Dani Neira, DANI YOUR DARLING, Dax Heaven, Hannah Dubois, Jake Kimble, Julia Chang, Kaila Bhullar, Kara Ditte Hansen, Karl Hipol, kathy feng, Louie Villanueva, M.V. Williams, Marv Houngbo, Melanie Evelyn, Pari, Samantha Walters, Sara Wylie, Sarah Madgin, Sarah Wong, Snack Witch aka Joni Cheung, Soloman Chiniquay, Timothy Fernandes, and Zuleyma Prado.
This year’s participating artists were selected by Programming Committee members Michael C.K. Ma, andi icaza-largaespada, and I Spy Project Curator Rachel Lau, through an open call for emerging and student artists.
I spy…2022 is funded with the generous support of Canada Council for the Arts.
2022 artist bios
Ada Dragomir’s work feels most at home somewhere between spoofed youtube videos and serious sculptural objects in so-called Vancouver, BC. By harnessing the power of absurdity and irony to point to uncomfortable political realities, her practice addresses questions of value and labour, but ultimately aims to point stubbornly towards life. Website
Alger Ji-Liang 梁家傑 (he/him) is an emerging interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, BC on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Alger uses experimental lens and sound based practices to express individual and communal experiences of navigating grief, identity, and space. He is currently working on community-engaged multimedia projects, and a body of movement-based photographic work. Lately, Alger has been thinking a lot about (chosen) kin, community, and (re)orientations. Website
Ana M Tonso Alonso (she/ella) is an Argentine-Canadian photographer and cinematographer. You can usually find her trying to discover little clues about herself through a reading of her own work, where she uses solitude, nostalgia and suspense as a guide. She’s passionate about documentary, experimental and analogue projects. Website
Angie Rico is a Mexican-born cultural worker whose primary mediums of communication are writing and the moving image. She employs tactics like bilingualism, humor, and DIY aesthetics to point at moments of fracture and slippage. Her work currently focuses on themes of family & collective memory, immigration, and sexuality. Instagram
Atheana Picha is a Salish artist from the Kwantlen and Tsartlip nations. She is an interdisciplinary artist working in 2D and 3D media such as printmaking, wood carving, painting, and silver engraving.. Atheana is currently doing two mentorships with Musqueam weaver Debra Sparrow, and Squamish artist and educator Aaron Nelson-Moody. Website
Celina de Leon is a Filipina-American experimental filmmaker residing in Unceded Coast Salish Territories. Her work explores materiality, coming of age themes, and embodiment through digital and analogue processes. She recently graduated with a Bachelor’s of Media Art from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Vimeo
Chloe Hardmon is a street photographer exploring the peripheries of society. As a person of colour, Chloe identifies strongly with others who may feel marginalized. She seeks to tell universal stories though the representation of individuals in everyday street scenes. She’s been photographing for five years. Instagram
Dani Neira is an emerging curator, artist and writer. They are a second-generation settler of mixed Colombian ancestry living and working on Lekwungen land/Victoria, BC. Rooted in collaborative and care-based ways of working, their interdisciplinary praxis considers memory transmission, cultural hybridity, land relationships and queer embodiment. Website
DANI YOUR DARLING is a self taught multidisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations peoples. They utilize mediums such as photography, poetry, producing, painting, singing, songwriting, illustration, digital media, and creative directing. Instagram
Dax Heaven (they/them/theirs) is a multidisciplinary photographer, filmmaker, writer, and visual artist living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. They recently graduated from University of British Columbia with a BA in Film Studies. Their practice is informed by their continuous curiosity on the phenomenon of boundaries. Through the joining of a variety of mediums, their multi-media work highlights the interconnectedness amongst all things in the universe. Website
Hannah Dubois is an interdisciplinary artist currently living on the unceded lands of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam peoples. Her practice employs photography, film, and sometimes, ceramics, to interrogate given histories and identities of her “homeland”, and foster opportunities for personal and societal reflection and connection through socially-engaged collaborative works. Instagram
Jake Kimble is a multidisciplinary Chipewyan (Dëne Sųłıné) artist from Treaty 8 territory in the Northwest Territories whose practice revolves around acts of self-care, self-repair, and gender-based ideological refusal. Kimble currently works on the stolen territory of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Website
Julia Chang (b. Taipei, Taiwan) is an interdisciplinary artist who has lived in seven cities across four continents and currently based on the unceded traditional territory of the Semiahmoo, Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations (also known as Surrey, BC). Through her work in photography and ceramics, she archives and builds upon possessions that present paradoxical realities, drawing from her experience as a nomadic person often situated between opposite cultural and conventional expectations. Her artistic inquiries into our making and occupancy of spaces, both physical and conceptual, are informed by a previous practice in architecture. Website
Kaila Bhullar is an interdisciplinary artist who specializes in editing, photography, mixed media, and audiovisual works. With a particular interest in abstraction and digitally-based art forms, Bhullar uses art-making as an introspective tool that explores various internal psychological and existential dispositions. Website
Kara Ditte Hansen is an artist and filmmaker. She is a master’s student in the Cinematic Arts program at University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She loves all things pickled. Instagram
Karl Hipol is a Filipino immigrant settler and multidisciplinary artist based in North Vancouver. He holds a BFA (2022) from Emily Carr University. He recently exhibited at the Burnaby Village Museum (2022), and Burrard Arts Foundation (2022). He was also awarded the 2022 Artist-In-Residence by Herschel Supply Co, Gastown. Website
kathy feng is an interdisciplinary artist born in Guangzhou, China, and is a guest living on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations. Her practice address themes of memory, nostalgia, and temporality through images and text—a framework deeply informed by growing up as an immigrant. Website
Louie Villanueva (b. 1995) explores identity with a dialectic between art and craft. Documentary style photography provides a base for Villanueva’s examination of form and subject—while an autobiographical approach provides generous mechanisms for communication. Villanueva is the photography technician for the University of Calgary Department of Art and Art History. Website
M.V. Williams is a Skwxú7mesh/ Wet’suet’en 2 Spirit, photo-based artist. Their work focuses on memory, personal narrative and documentation, while working through various mediums, photography, print media, and weaving. They graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design with a BFA in visual arts. Instagram
Marv Houngbo is a Multidisciplinary Artist who creates in Photography that includes portraiture/ self portraiture and photo journalism, Painting, Music and sound Production, Writing, Fashion design/ styling and experimental set designing. A lot of Marv’s work is about building a world out of pretty much nothing, bringing together community, mental health and exploring one’s self identity. Marv is also the founder of Unity Art collective, the Art project Floating thoughts, A clothing brand named Dopeclass and No guidance Records which is a Record label and Music collective. Instagram
Melanie Evelyn is an interdisciplinary artist and educator residing on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ílwətaʔɬ and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm people. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr, and a BEd in Art Education from SFU. Evelyn draws inspiration from artists such as Nan Goldin and Tracy Emin, as well as the rituals and mythologies of her own childhood. Evelyn examines the visual lexicon of feminine aesthetics located in the everyday, and joyfully arranges and rearranges them into photographs, happenings, comic books and plays. Website
Pari (he/they) is an BIPOC settler artist whose multidisciplinary work engages with intersectional identities, transgenerational memories and mythologies through the in-between boundaries of writing, visual art and archival photography. Instagram
Samantha Walters is an interdisciplinary performer, writer, and creator. Her most recent works examine ecological relationships and post-human spiritualities, with a favour towards the weird, the dark, and the camp. They hold a BFA honours in Theatre Performance from Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts. Instagram
Sara Wylie is a non-fiction filmmaker, producer, researcher and occasional photographer from the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She graduated with distinction from X/Toronto Metropolitan University’s Documentary Media MFA Program (2019), and her films have screened in festivals across North America. Website
Sarah Madgin is a multidisciplinary artist working and residing on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ nations. Her practice revolves around notions related to identity and memories deployed in different mediums such as printmaking, alternative photography processes and installation.
Sarah Wong is an emerging interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Her work emerges from her lived experience as a queer and chronically ill second-generation Chinese-Canadian woman, focusing on archival processes and accessing embodied intergenerational knowledge. Website
Snack Witch Joni Cheung is a grateful, uninvited guest on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish and Kanien’kehá:ka peoples. Their interdisciplinary practice investigates the relationship between objects↔place↔identity. A wicked #magicalgirl eating art + making snacks—currently pursuing their MFA at Concordia University to become a Certified Sculpture Witch. Website
Soloman Chiniquay is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. His lens-based work explores the ways he is welcomed to witness expressions of Indigeneity, creating imagery that attempts to show, in sometimes raw ways, the land and the people on it, the ways people use and connect to the land. Website
Timothy Fernandes is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on the intersection of technology and society. His work aims to subvert the subjective relationship with media technologies. Timothy is the Digital Media Technician at UBC’s department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory. He holds a BA in Cognitive Systems and a Masters in Digital Media. Instagram
With a unique DIY background in the arts of photography, Zuleyma Prado is not your average Artist. Being from Eastside Vancouver, the Afro-Indigenous artist has always had a deep rooted love for creating with her community and reaching to people in an unapologetically raw and sincere way through her Creative direction, writing and photography. Building out her own vision, she founded Thotful Studios. An LGBTQ2+ and POC focused/accessible creative space founded alongside her sister taking photos at all-ages underground events and of artists she met alongside her sister upcoming Vancouver artist Prado Monroe. In the meantime she is currently focused on creating image artwork with artists for independent labels and art communities in both the US & Canada. Instagram
The inaugural I spy… in 2020 featured photographs by Gloria Wong, Jackie Dives, jaz whitford, Katayoon Yousefbigloo, Mona Fani, Phoebe Huang, Rachel Lau, Rebecca Wang, Ryley O’Byrne, and Svava Tergesen.
I spy…2021 featured photographs by andi icaza-largaespada, Brandon Leung, Daniela Rodriguez Chevalier, Jae Lew, Meesh QX, and Sidi Chen.
Photographs from 2020-2021 can be revisited here.
Promotional background photo by Rachel Lau for I spy…2020.