HOLD FAST 2022 Featured Artists
Born in Karachi, Pakistan to a Pakistani father and a Chilean mother, Shazia Ahmad’s practice and research interests are centred on the notions of home and belonging, tied to the broader theme of otherness due to her interfaith and mixed-race background. Moreover, she pays tribute to her Pakistani heritage by merging elements of the country’s material culture with personal imagery in her visual vocabulary. Her practice comprises painting, printmaking and domestic microcosms encapsulated in handmade dioramas. A recipient of multiple Canada Council for the Arts Explore and Create grants, Shazia has exhibited her work in Canada, the United States, and Spain. She is currently the 2021-22 Don Wright Scholar at St. Michael’s Printshop in St. John’s, NL, and is exploring the transformation of the everyday into the epic using a vibrant limited colour palette.
Newfound Lad (Josh Murphy, he/they) is a drag/burlesque performer and dance artist currently based in St. John’s, NL/Ktaqmkuk. After earning his BFA in Dance in 2017, Lad began performing burlesque by joining BoylesqueTO, Canada’s Premiere Boylesque Troupe. Since then they have performed and toured across North America. Highlights include the Toronto and Vancouver Burlesque Festivals as well as the Burlesque Hall of Fame (Las Vegas, NV). Most recently they headlined for Frostease Burlesque in Anchorage, AK. Drag entered their artistic practice in 2020 after a move home to NL during the pandemic. They’ve quickly blossomed into a Draglesque entertainer carving their own unique path in the art form. Newfound Lad seeks to blur the lines of gender, play on Newfoundland/nautical themes and be god damn entertaining. Newfound Lad is ready to hook, line and sink their way into your heart.
Luca Jesse Apel
Luca is a mixed media artist and lifelong nomad: raised in Missouri, educated in BC, and a newcomer to the east coast. His work combines realism with upcycled items to create surreal, three-dimensional, and texturally engaging works. By juxtaposing depictions of nature with discarded objects, he hopes to remind people to coexist with the flora and fauna that call this world home. Luca has exhibited his work in galleries across BC, and as part of this summer’s Doorways to the Garden exhibit at the Memorial Botanical Garden.
Currently located in Vancouver, Faune Ybarra is a diasporic artist originally from Oaxaca and Mexico City. Due to the experience of constantly moving and adapting, Ybarra conceives of her body as a site of translation from whence she attempts to communicate with the other-than-human. Her iterative practice rejects the (art)object as a given outcome and instead speculates on how nomadic creative methodologies converge to document motion. Past repositories of her work have taken the shape of performance, photo-based objects, and diasporic gestures. They hold a BFA in Visual Arts from Memorial University of Newfoundland and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Simon Fraser University.
April White (they/them) makes art for exhausted, emotional, and overwhelmed people. They typically work with print media, sculpture, performance, animation, or whatever medium that fits the current project. They hold a BFA from Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of NL (2012) and spent much of their art career in St. John’s, NL. April is an award-winning artist whose work has exhibited extensively in the east coast of Canada. Their artwork considers the performance of the self in everyday life and seeks to name and upend personally and socially damaging neoliberal rhetoric around hustle culture. April lives with their cat, Coconut, in Tio’tia:ke/Montréal as they work toward an MFA in Print Media at Concordia University. April really likes banana bread, long meandering phone calls with friends, and rewatching favourite tv shows.
HOLD FAST 2022 Mural Artist
Nakita Morris is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist who is originally from Halifax, Nova
Scotia. With their passion for creating starting at a young age pulling inspiration from video
games, animation, and TV shows, now 19, they still find inspiration in those same medias. Many
of their works include portrait work, character design, fantasy aspects, and queerness.
Brought to Newfoundland to study graphic design, they’ve also explored incorporating their
focussed mediums, digital art and 3D printing with traditional printmaking and more. In 2019
through an apprenticeship, they learned about 3D printing technologies and software, as well as
participated in the creation of “Making the Invisible Visible” partnered with ArtsExspress
Halifax Regional Arts; a collaborative community projects centering civic leadership, addressing
systemic racism. The most important thing to Nakita is having fun within the process of creating.