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HOLD FAST 2024 Featured Artists

Brenda Mabel Reid

Brenda Mabel Reid (they/them) is an emerging non-binary visual artist with a social practice. They are based in the Haldimand Tract, in the Willow River (Grand River) watershed. Their work investigates power dynamics in Canadian society, places of friction, including issues around land ownership, queer space, the ‘justice’ system. Their practice includes textile, print, sculpture, installation, and audio.

Brenda holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Waterloo (2021). Their work has been exhibited throughout Canada and has been featured on national CTV News. They have received grants from the Canadian Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Art Crawl Project: Underlay

“Underlay” is a large-scale modular quilt exploring gender queerness and public space. Through quilt-architectural forms, it questions labels of “women’s work” and who architectural space is for. The quilt consists of 53x 4ft hexagonal blocks made of waterproof construction-grade materials.

St. John’s is invited to take a nap. Not only is napping fun, but taking up space is a political act! This project carves out some public space for rest, joy, and community—a space for everyone. 

This installation is part of a national tour. “Underlay,” will be experienced in Saint John, NB, Saint John’s, NL, and Kitchener, ON, this summer.

Sarah Khraishi & Beck MacLeod

Sarah Khraishi (she/her) is a Palestinian-Canadian textile artist and tatreez practitioner who was born and continues to reside in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Her work uses traditional Palestinian motifs to explore intersections of culture, politics and collective memory, often with a contemporary or playful twist. She received an MA in Philosophy in 2012, and has previously taught textile classes at Eastern Edge.

Beck MacLeod (they/them) is a textile artist and instructor with a focus on weaving, embroidery, and natural print and dye work. They are a Jewish, queer, and disabled artist who uses art as a form of self-expression and healing. Themes in their work include place, identity, disability, activism, and nature. Their background in ecology and environmental studies fuels their focus on natural fibres, dyes, and the use of found and thrifted materials.

Art Crawl Project: Co-Creating Homeland

Tatreez has been used by Palestinian women for centuries to adorn their traditional robe, or “thobe” (ثوب), and uses cross-stitched designs to depict the flora, fauna and landscapes of Palestine. After the Nakba, the expulsion of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland in 1948, embroidery as an artform has evolved to reflect Palestinians’ political aspirations, and is done all over Palestine and in the diaspora.

In this collaborative project, you’ll stitch designs onto a community tapestry depicting both local scenes and historical Palestinian patterns to jointly create a work that reflects layers of belonging and displacement—here and in Palestine. Pick from prepared patterns that reflect traditional Palestinian motifs blended with places of Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland), or color your own motif reflecting ideas of home and leave it for someone else to stitch.

D’Arcy Wilson

D’Arcy Wilson (M.F.A. University of Calgary, B.F.A. Mount Allison, she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Corner Brook in Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland). Wilson’s work laments colonial interactions with the natural world; as a descendant of European settlers in so-called Canada, she interrogates instances in which her culture’s affection for nature has been impeded by its tendency to harm. Shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2019 (longlisted 2018, 2020), she has exhibited in museums and galleries nationally and internationally. She is Associate Professor in Visual Arts at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus.

Art Crawl Project: Lost Curlew

Flocks of Northern Curlews have not arrived on Newfoundland’s shores in generations, and the bird has not been sighted anywhere in almost fifty years. There is a single specimen of this lost bird within the Rooms’ Natural History Division; however, the 19th century body of the bird was preserved with arsenic so that it is toxic to hold. The bird is now sensitive to the light, and remains encapsulated within a metal storage locker, to keep safe. In the video installation Lost Curlew viewers are invited to meet this now solitary bird, and to watch over him while he sleeps.

Mark Bath, Robin Peters & Matt Samms

Mark Bath (he/him) is an artist with a background in dramatic literature, performance, film, theatre, and visual art and design. Mark’s recent work “Someone Else’s Dream” (2022) merges contemporary dance and animation. It was presented at the Festival of New Dance (St. John’s), CB Nuit (Corner Brook) and Fluid Fest (Calgary).

Robin Peters (she/her) is a musician, theatre student, board member of Just a Concept Productions, and the sole proprietor of She composed music for “Presentation” (dir. Jamie Silken), designed lighting for “Animosity” (dir. Cassandra Munroe), and performed the solo audio-visual piece “The Natural Habitats of a Modern Woman.”

Matt Samms (they/them) is a theatre sound designer and music producer. Their work in sound design has been featured in various theatre productions, enhancing the audience’s experience with audio creativity. As a music producer, Matt has a diverse portfolio that showcases their ability to cross genres and bring fresh sounds to life. Their commitment to quality sound makes them a valuable contributor to the arts.

Art Crawl Project: What are We

“What are We” is a multimedia performance that integrates music, contemporary dance and animation. Mark Bath, Robin Peters and Matt Samms invite audiences to a party in the middle of the afternoon. With lighting and projection installations, a live DJ set and dancing, the trio attempts to harness that joyful abandon and cathartic release akin to sweating it out on the dancefloor.