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Artists & Curators: Art as a Tool for Change

Project Artists


Nasim Makaremi Nia graduated with an MSc in solid-state Physics, but she is an artist who lives in St. John’s NL. She has been painting and making artwork for 15 years. Her Physics background helps in the development of her art as well. She has shown works in several group exhibitions. Her art is focused on subjects such as humanity, and the lives and emotions of women. She uses animals as symbols to deal with sexuality with the intent to magnify gender discrimination and censorship.



Violet Drake is a white settler disabled queer+trans writer, visual artist, actor, & activist born and raised in the coastal community of Lawn on the Burin Peninsula. Now based in St. John’s, her multidisciplinary experimental practice has been self-taught since youth, writing hybrid poetry and designing mixed media digital illustration since the age of 13. Blending life narrative, land-based photography, self-portraiture, performance, and autoethnography, her work emerges from her conceptual framework of trans+corporeal cartographies and existential ecologies. Her work has been exhibited and performed at artist-run centres, galleries, stages, festivals, and classrooms throughout Ktaqamkuk (colonially Newfoundland) including Eastern Edge, St. Michael’s Print Shop, Unscripted Twillingate, LSPU Hall, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, and Memorial University. Co-author of transVersing, she has recent and forthcoming publications locally and nationally in Riddle Fence, Understorey, HELD, Verses, and Home Out of It.


Ethel Brown is a visual artist living in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Ethel immigrated from Capiz, Philippines with her family, to Newfoundland, Canada in 1987. She has also lived in Calgary, AB and Washington, USA. Upon returning to St. John’s 7 years ago, Ethel has worked primarily in the medium of photography; documenting art exhibitions for the prestigious Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, Eastern Edge Gallery, and The Christina Parker Gallery. Ethel is a portraiture and landscape photographer. Her photographs are documentary and storytelling in nature and convey her love for community, culture, family, and friends. Ethel is known for her patience in finding the perfect composition and for capturing the ephemeral beauty of natural light. Ethel has had artwork exhibited at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in the 2019 Arts and Letters Competition.


Project Curators







Bushra Junaid is a multidisciplinary artist and curator based in Toronto. Her work probes themes of history, memory, cultural identity and placemaking in the diasporas of African-descended peoples through mixed media collage, drawing, painting, illustration and installation. Most recently Bushra curated What Carries Us: Newfoundland and Labrador in the Black Atlantic at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery (2020). Pivoting on Paul Gilroy’s concept of the “Black Atlantic,” the exhibition was also inspired by and reflected on, John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea (2015). What Carries Us included video, mixed media, mural and photo-based works by Canadian and international artists as well as rare archival items. In 2016, Junaid co-curated (with Pamela Edmonds) New-Found-LandsAn Art Project Exploring Historical and Contemporary Connections between Newfoundland and the Caribbean Diaspora at Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Junaid’s work has been exhibited as part of Future Possible: The Art of Newfoundland and Labrador to 1949(The Rooms, 2018); Like Sugar (Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, 2019); and They Forgot That We Were Seeds (Carleton University Art Gallery, 2020); and at the Royal Ontario Museum; Montreal Museum of Fine Art; and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, among others.

Junaid’s work is included in The Rooms, Carleton University Art Gallery, Tang Teaching Museum, TD Bank, Toronto Public Library Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books collections.


What Carries Us: Newfoundland and Labrador in the Black Atlantic  

Listening to Silence – Visual Arts News 

Art in the Spotlight: Visualizing Freedom Dreams 

New-Found-Lands: Exploring Historical and Contemporary Connections between Newfoundland and the Caribbean Diaspora 

New Founds Lands Magnifies the Margins – Visual Arts News 

Two Pretty Girls… 2016  

Archival photograph and archival text printed on backlit fabric panel

(176.8 cm x 89.5 cm)

Bushra Junaid  (Toronto) embraces a 1903 stereoview of women in a Caribbean sugarcane field as family portraiture. By intervening in this archival image (“Two Pretty Girls I Met in a Cane Field,” St. Kitts, B.W.I.) with period ads from the St. John’s Evening Telegram for sugar, molasses and rum and magnifying the image, Junaid highlights the little-known, centuries-long Newfoundland-Caribbean trade in commodities produced by and for enslaved Africans. In so doing, Junaid reflects on the transnational reality of slavery and its afterlife and complicates our understanding of the Black presence in Atlantic Canada.



Programmed Artists


Dion Kaszas is a tattoo artist, cultural tattoo practitioner, painter, teacher, and scholar of Hungarian, Métis, and Nlaka’pamux (Interior Salish) heritage. He works in the artistic mediums of oil, watercolour, graphite, mixed media collage and video. Dion’s passion for tattooing extends beyond his artistic work into a Masters’s degree in Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna, British Columbia. His area of research is Indigenous tattooing, focusing keenly on the revival of Indigenous peoples tattooing practices, using Indigenous and creative research methodologies.Dion is one of the founding members of the Earthline Tattoo Collective which aims to enhance, expand and support the work of traditional and cultural Indigenous tattoo practices across Canada