Artists in Residence - Nia Centre for the Arts

Artists in Residence

The Artists-in-Residence program provides Afro-diasporic artists with the resources, tools, and opportunities to jump start their creative careers.

Understanding that space, financial constraints, and a sense of community are often significant barriers faced by Black artists within Toronto, the Artists-in-Residence program provides participating residents with an environment that holistically supports their growth in ways that allow for each resident to push their creative limits. Each year, the Artists-in-Residence program provide:

  • Access to shared studio space
  • A materials stipend
  • Curatorial support and guidance
  • An artist fee
  • A culminating group exhibition


Current Artist in Residence

Chawntay Barrett

Chawntay Barrett (she/her) is an emerging artist and designer based in the Greater Toronto Area. Community is an important aspect in Chawntay’s creative practice, she is a recent alumni of the ArtworksTO Next Stream program and the Remix Project, and is currently on the Vibe Arts emerging artist roster. Chawntay works primarily with oil and acrylic paint on canvas as well as with digital media for illustrations and design. As a woman of Afro-Caribbean descent, Caribbean culture is a vital underlying theme in many of her artworks; the majority of her work explores womanhood and the overall black experience in the modern era.

Previous Artists in Residence

2023 Artists in Residence

Apanaki Temitayo is a pansexual, multi-disciplinary, multimedia fibre artist and art facilitator based in Toronto, originally from Trinidad & Tobago. With a deep connection to her Trinidadian heritage and spirituality, her canvas compositions serve as a powerful expression of her artistic vision. Apanaki is currently represented in the Sales and Rental Program at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and is an esteemed member of the Women’s Art Association of Canada.

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2019 Artists in Residence

Idil Djafer is a Scarborough-based multidisciplinary conceptual artist working with photography, video, drawing and installation. Djafer’s practice focuses on racial, religious and feminist issues and explores the intersection of her three identities as being a visible Black Muslim Woman.

Hameeda Mahmoud is a multidisciplinary creative from Toronto working primarily with oil paint on canvas. The images she produces are reflections of how she, an African Canadian woman, experiences the world and serves to tell stories of those who have been underrepresented in traditional art spaces. Her aim is to inspire onlookers to reflect on their personal journeys and find comfort in the uncomfortable.

Jamilah Malika Abu-Bakare is a transdisciplinary artist and writer who recently earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2019). she works text in sound, video and textile, has exhibited work in Guelph, Vancouver, Toronto, Peterborough and Burlington and recently published with Black Power Naps (Siestas Negras.)

Alexander Robinson is a self-taught emerging artist based in Toronto. He primarily works with acrylic paint and he sometimes incorporates a duo canvas technique to create a distinct sense of depth to his work. His primary influences are great artists like Kerry James Marshall and René Magritte. Robinson’s work is often recognized by the surreal and symbolic use of flowerpots.

2018 Artists in Residence
Solana Cain is a news photographer, who currently works for the Global Mail; she was apart of the 2018 Artist in Residency Cohort and created works for the Exhibition “From the Ground Up” an exhibition that explored themes of: Black life, personal histories, spirituality and identity along with Soko Negash, Desmond Miller, Shantal Miler, James Yeboah and Aaron Jones.
Soko Negash is a Film and TV director and while she was apart of the 2018 Artist in Residency Cohort she created “Black like Water”, a meditation on Black process, movement and shape.
Desmond Miller is an artist/researcher who explores themes of family ancestry, and balancing the masculine and feminine; his practice employs textiles, poetry and photography. Desmond was a part of the 2018 Artist in Residency Cohort and created “All my Blues” a series of textile – based images which were a product of his lessons learned about fractals, the series represented his learning to apply more play and fun into his artistic practice.
Shantal Miller is a visual artist whose figurative paintings represent lived and imagined experiences that often situated the body in moments of vulnerability and introspection, as a part of her creative practices she uses body language symbolically to suggest relationships of tension and intimacy. Shantal was apart of the 2018 Artist in Residency Cohort and created ” The Meeting Place”, a representation of Black homes was the theme she explored in her practice as a domestic site for drawing relationships between social and cultural traditions.
James Yeboah is a visual artists, and while he was apart of the 2018 Artist In Residency Cohort he created “Sankofa: The Pursuit of the Ancestral Memory” his work addressed various notions of Black masculinity and the many ways we understand it and seek to change its implications.
Aaron Jones is a photographer/ visual artist who created objects and images to explore the inherent possibilities in world building and abstraction by employing found images, video and lens based media, he works with different forms of collage to build characters and spaces that reflect upon the nuances of his own upbringing and current life. Aaron was a part of the 2018 Artist in Residency Cohort, and during his residency he created “Untitled”, a collage understand and reimagine what it is to be Black.

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