Artist Talk

Creating the Rainbow: Rapid-fire Talks by LGBTQ+ Artists

The Power Plant, as part of Pride Toronto's Virtual Pride 2020, presents Creating the Rainbow: Rapid-fire Talks by LGBTQ+ Artists. During short virtual presentations, the five artists and one artist collective will speak about their studio practice during the current COVID-19 pandemic and their vision of the future. Following the presentations, the artists will respond to questions from the audience.


BRENDAN FERNANDES (b. 1979, Nairobi, Kenya) is an internationally recognized Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based out of Chicago, Brendan’s projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest and other forms of collective movement. Always looking to create new spaces and new forms of agency, Brendan’s projects take on hybrid forms: part Ballet, part queer dance hall, part political protest...always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity. He is currently artist-in-residency and faculty at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. www.brendanfernandes.ca

ONYA HOGAN-FINLEY is a multidisciplinary artist and educator currently based in K'jipuktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her practice activates public space outside of conventional gallery contexts through artist multiples, drawing, installation, performance, and community arts events. Past projects have responded to collections of 2SLGBTQ+ archives to reveal feminist iconographies by offering counter-narratives to unpack and celebrate minor histories. Her work has been exhibited at The Power Plant, Oakville Galleries, SAW Gallery, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, ONE Archives, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin and others. She holds a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from the University of Southern California. www.onyahoganfinlay.com

PAUL WONG is a media-maestro making art for site-specific spaces and screens of all sizes throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He is known for pioneering early visual and media art in Canada, founding artist-run groups and organizing events, festivals, conferences and public interventions since the 1970s. Among numerous honours, Paul received a 2005 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Art. He recently completed 身在唐人街 / OCCUPYING CHINATOWN, a year-long residency. Inspired by letters and familial artefacts of his late mother Suk Fong Wong, Paul created exhibitions, public art, talks, events, workshops and a website: www.occupyingchinatown.com. He is Artistic Director at On Main Gallery and Artistic Director of Pride In Chinatown, a festival focusing on queer-Asian artists. www.paulwongprojects.com

SHERI OSDEN NAULT is an artist of Michif and mixed European descent. Situated within personal and political contexts, their art practice and research are grounded in queer, feminist, and Indigenous world-views. They strive to elicit a sense of social and ecological responsibility and intimacy on a damaged planet, recently focusing on connections between bodies, sexuality, and nature. Recent exhibitions include Where the Shoreline Meets the Water at the ArQuives, Toronto (2020); Shapeshifters curated by Amanda Amour-Lynx, Toronto (2019); Off-Centre at the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina (2019); Fix Your Hearts or Die at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2019). www.sherinault.com

SYRUS MARCUS WARE is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture, and he’s shown widely in galleries and festivals across Canada. He is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto, a part of the Performance Disability Art Collective, and a PhD candidate at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. His on-going curatorial work includes That’s So Gay (Gladstone Hotel, 2016-2019) and BlacknessYes!/Blockorama. www.syrusmarcusware.com

PUBLIC STUDIO is the collective art practice of filmmaker Elle Flanders and architect Tamira Sawatzky. Since 2009, Public Studio has employed a diverse range of media resulting in large-scale public art works, films, immersive installations, lens-based works and socially engaged projects. Public Studio was founded with the intent of exposing the antagonisms that define issues of public space and its disappearance, as well as the effects of globalization on our everyday landscapes. Their multidisciplinary practice has engaged topics such as war and militarization, ecology and urbanization, and political dissent. Central to their work is a desire to bridge notions of the aesthetic and the ethical, and question the role art can play in not simply "making meaning," but "making meaning matter." www.publicstudio.ca