2019 BC Culture Days Ambassadors
In celebration of our tenth anniversary, ten emerging artists were selected from across the province to act as Culture Days spokespeople and present an activity for the Culture Days weekend. Congratulations to this year’s successful applicants!:
Tiffany Blaise (Vancouver) -
Tiffany Blaise is a visual artist with a fascination for capturing emotionally charged landscapes with oil on canvas. Born in Vancouver, Tiffany has been inspired by the beauty of natural landscapes from a young age. After having recently traveled to explore her artistic practice and an artist residency in Melbourne, she has returned to her home base in Vancouver. Tiffany has received formal fine arts training at Concordia University where she earned a BFA Major in Design. Tiffany has held two solo exhibitions featuring different collections of landscape-inspired artwork. In 2015 she was the sole recipient of the “Surface 3 Design Excellence” award for emerging design talent, and in 2016 she was elected as a top ten finalist for the international LAMP lighting design. In 2018 Tiffany worked on two public art installations for community events in the city in Vancouver. Her most recent solo show, “Unearth” took place in Melbourne in early 2019.
Brock Gratz (Kelowna) -
Brock Gratz is a fourth year Visual Arts major at UBC Okanagan, focusing on art in media, technology, promotion, and events. He believes in making art that is tackling contemporary topics and techniques, while still being accessible, fun and interactive for the viewers where possible. He does a little bit of everything from acting, animation and stagecraft to painting, sculpture, costumes and comics. Some of Brock’s previous works include a fully functioning arcade machine created using an old empty arcade cabinet, a chandelier made from security cameras that plays audio clips from media and informs passersby that it is watching them, and various comics and manga submitted to international contests. Brock is also one of the founders and producers of Kelowna Fan
Experience, a yearly festival put on by New Vintage Theatre since 2014 that celebrates art, pop culture, and creative works in all forms.
Molly Gray (Township of Langley) -
Molly Gray is a multi-media artist working predominantly
with acrylic and watercolour paint, and printmaking as Goat
& Pebble Co. She received a bachelor’s degree with honours
in studio art from Bishop’s University (2009) and a
certificate with distinction in Media Design from B.C.I.T
(2011). Themes in her work vary between mediums. Her acrylic
paintings explore questions of instant media culture, often
juxtaposing classic known works with the stark interruptions
of technology. These satirical pieces playfully challenge the
viewer to question how our culture’s values have shifted
over time. In contrast, her watercolour and relief print works
concentrate on the simplicity and beauty found in
nature. Gray captures still life with series that focus on
animals, plant life, and inanimate objects, often finding
inspiration in her outdoor surroundings or the simple beauty
of the everyday. Currently Gray has been focusing on
printmaking using linocut and silkscreen techniques.
The evolution of her work is influenced by her curiosity of
the world around her, which is currently a wide open space
in Fort Langley, B.C. She is most influenced by the
impressionism and post-impressionism art movements.
Instagram: @mollygrayart @goatandpebbleco
Alyssa Harms-Wiebe (Vancouver) -
Alyssa Harms-Wiebe is a Brazilian-Canadian arts educator and writer based in
Vancouver. As an instructor at the Bolton Academy of Spoken Arts, she
teaches students how to develop personal voice through storytelling, creative
writing, acting and public speaking. Earlier this year, she participated as a
writer-in-residence at the Gullkistan Centre for Creativity in Iceland, where she
explored the intersection between landscape, conversation, and environmental
sustainability. She holds a BFA in Scriptwriting from Concordia University,
where she also studied directing and theatre for social change. While pursuing
her studies in Montreal, she was offered the opportunity to direct several
theatre productions across the city and had her scripts produced at the
Mainline Theatre, the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, and at Concordia
University. She is now en route to completing a MEd in Education for
Sustainability at UBC, in hopes of exploring the development of place-based
educational models that connect students to healthy practices of
environmental stewardship through creative and artistic play. She has an
immense fascination with words and languages, and loves to pick up new
phrases whenever she travels. She speaks English, Portuguese, and French, and
sometimes even dabbles with German.
Mundia Kabunda (West Kelowna) -
Mundia Kabunda, also known by the stage names Lady Dia Melodia, The Lady Melody, Melodidi or Dia, is a singer/songwriter, Lozi artist, community organizer and activist living in Unceeded Syilx Territory. She was born in Zambia, but moved to Turtle Island (Canada) at the age of six. Dia is a mother to a four-month-old child and an undergraduate student currently attending the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus, receiving a degree in the Bachelor of Arts with a major in Indigenous Studies. Dia is one of the four founders of HEaRth, a collective of Black and Indigenous sisters who create communal spaces of learning and knowledge sharing on whole-istic (holistic) living, sovereignty and culture. Using creative methods such as music, dance, storytelling and poetry, HEaRth seeks to transcend limiting narratives of their peoples. Dia is also a member of Kinfolk, known for their beautiful blend of storytelling, soul, and African/ Caribbean vibes. This creative tribe celebrates life with art, and practices the Ubuntu proverb which means “I am because you are”. Dia has a passion for the youth, and encourages them through music and storytelling to trust their own stories and create from their experience. Dia stands in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and seeks to inspire children to understand the long-shared history that Indigenous peoples have with Black and Chinese people. Creating spaces for new friendships, deep conversations, and magic to spark is what happens when Dia and the youth get together.
Julian Legere (New Westminster) -
Born and raised on unceded Coast Salish/Qaqayt territory, Julian is a bi/queer artist, producer, administrator, educator, and activist. He has a Bachelor’s of Performing Arts from Capilano University and fourteen years of experience working on community and professional theatre productions. Currently, he works at the Massey Theatre as a programmer and community liaison. He is also a freelance and independent producer, actor, director, stage manager, and writer. His particular focus is on community-engaged art and art for social change/decolonization. Current projects in development include a verbatim dance theatre/documentary film piece exploring women’s reproductive health care, a Web Play centred on the mother of a fictional mass shooter, and a site-specific feminist reimagining of Macbeth and the Henry VI trilogy focussed on the Weird Sisters, as well as an ongoing writing practice for his blog, of Wit and Whiskey. Aside from supporting and making art, he spends his time doing Tarot readings, cooking, finding humour in the existential dread that is our new collective reality, and binging TV shows and podcasts.
Sebastian Nicholson (Prince George) -
Since his childhood at Ness Lake, British Columbia, Sebastian has always shown an insatiable interest in art, nature and dreams. His intent observation of bugs and wildlife lead naturally to drawing. He took art classes as a child and developed his skills through to high school and became very active in the schools’ art club. He assisted in leading the Young Associates artist group at the Two Rivers Gallery where he took part in his first group show: Out of Tune (2012). Sebastian has since volunteered for numerous events around the community including ones held by the Gallery. He is a graduate of the Fine Arts program at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) and continues his passion in the creation of art as a practicing artist and academic in Prince George.
Olivier Salvas (Vancouver) -
Originally from Montreal, Olivier is an artist who uses abstract painting, photography, and various media to deliver his stance on social causes and to foster conversations about identity and arts education. Olivier works as an artographer, where he combines his occupations of artist, teacher, and researcher. Olivier’s areas of research and of creation are inspired by graffiti art, street art, urban culture and contemporary artists from Les Automatistes (theory of automatism) in Quebec such as Jean-Paul Riopelle, Fernand Leduc and Paul-Émile Borduas. Olivier is the artistic director of La Maison Create|IV (www.createiiv.com), where he publishes his visual work, artistic magazine, and education articles as well as the work of other local artists. Olivier is happy to use the OutlookTV platform to showcase the LTBTQ2s+ artists and activists across Canada, reporting stories mainly from Vancouver and Montreal.
Emily Shin (Richmond) -
Emily Shin is a Vancouver-based emerging artist. Her works are usually bold, vibrant, and realistic. She paints with acrylics and stretched canvas most of the time. Emily is a self-taught artist. She was inspired by the deep and rich art culture in France when she traveled abroad seven years ago. She always loved looking at paintings, but never knew she had an artist inside her. First she thought painting was just one of her many temporary hobbies. Then she realized it had become a part of her daily life. She started selling her works, being involved in the art community, and showing her works in art shows and exhibitions. Emily’s passion for art is unlimited. This year she decided to share the joy of creativity through her fun and casual painting classes. She’s hoping to help someone out there who is just as clueless as she was, who might not know what’s inside them yet, or who might be thinking of giving it a try but is not too sure where to start.
Dyana Sonik-Henderson (Victoria) -
Dyana is a choreographer, instructor, and the Executive/Artistic Director of the indie, non-profit, Victoria-based dance company Broken Rhythms Victoria Society. She is a staple in the Victoria dance community with weekly classes at the iconic Raino Dance studio and Victoria Academy of Ballet, and is a popular guest instructor at many studios across Canada. She has been recognized for her choreography, community work, and artistic direction with five Pick of the Fringe awards, nominations for the inaugural Pro Arts Regional award, and finalist for Monday Magazine’s Best Dance company; she was awarded the LOLA Project International, working with Gabi Beier from Berlin, Germany. Dyana has had featured work in Dance Current Magazine and Boulevard Magazine with her touring performance named as one of Toronto Star’s “can’t miss shows.” She has been commissioned to set choreography on local and national companies, received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council and the CRD, and has lectured on artistic expression and creativity. She is continuously collaborating with artists across the disciplines, while simultaneously working with her company on creative projects. Her productions and choreography have been performed nationally, including Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and across B.C. She has studied and performed widely, including at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London, England), Decidedly Jazz Dance Works (Calgary), and One Immigrant Productions (Toronto). She continues to study and develop, most recently having completed her Honours thesis at UVic on the themes of gender and movement.
Facebook: Broken Rhythms Victoria Society