The Board of Directors can be reached by email at bod [at] yyzartistsoutlet [dot] org
María Alejandrina Coates
Maria Alejandrina Coates is a Uruguayan-born, Toronto-based curator and writer whose interests include art practices grounded in feminist, social, and collaborative frameworks. Coates received a bachelors degree from the University of British Columbia; and a Masters degree in Art History and Curatorial Studies from York University.
Amanda White is a Toronto-based artist who’s current research interests include: cultural imaginations of nature, interdisciplinary and collaborative art practice, art and the environment, posthumanities, issues in agriculture and food, and urban ecologies. She is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s, holds an MFA from the University of Windsor and a BFA from OCADU. Her work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, SSHRC, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council among others. She has exhibited in galleries such as the Harbourfront Centre, The Walter Phillips Gallery, PlugIn ICA, Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre, as well as independently producing many independent public interventions and engagements. Recent publications include; feature articles in esse- Art and Opinions, Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, chapters for edited collections; Perma/Culture: Imagining Alternatives in an age of Crisis, and Why Look at Plants? (forthcoming).
Abdi Osman (Acting Secretary)
Abdi Osman is a Toronto-based Somali-Canadian multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on questions of black masculinity as it intersects with Muslim and queer identities. Osman’s video and photography work has been shown in Canada and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions. Osman holds an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and a B.A. in African Studies from the University of Toronto. Previous work has been supported by grants from the Ontario Arts Council. His photographs are also housed in private collections and the Art Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts. Among numerous exhibitions, a selection of works was exhibited in the yearlong group show DiaporaArt: Strategy and Seduction by Canadian Artists from Culturally Diverse Communities at Rideau Hall, Ottawa. Osman was an artist-in-residence at the McColl Centre for Visual Arts in Charlotte North Carolina in 2010. In 2012, he was a fellow at The Interdisciplinary Center for Culture and Creativity (ICCC) at the University of Saskatchewan. Most recently, Osman gave invited artist talks at the University of Rochester, New York (2014) and the University of Toronto (2016), and held an artist fellowship at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies at the University of Bayreuth, Germany in 2015. Upcoming exhibitions include FAVT, Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, South Africa, August 24-October 19, 2017; Photopolis, Halifax, Canada, October 1-31, 2017. Upcoming exhibitions include i believe in living at Untitled Art Society (Calgary) and contact landing(s) at the Thames Art Gallery (Chatham-Kent), both 2018.
Adrienne Marcus Raja (Acting Chair)
Adrienne Marcus Raja is a multidisciplinary artist whose practices blend in painting, audio, installation, moving images, and photography. As a Malaysian artist with Kelabit and Hainan ancestry who is currently living in Toronto, her work has been presented nationally and internationally.
She is an MFA graduate of Ryerson University with a focus in Documentary Media. She also holds a BA degree in Mass Communication and Television Production from Curtin University. She enjoys working with miniature worlds, interweaving voices of personal stories and loves all sorts of puppetry especially shadow puppets.
She currently works at Jumblies Theatre as their Media Coordinator and also the Tour Coordinator for Jumblies’ most recent collaborative nationwide touring project, The Four Lands (2016-2018). She was also their Arts Management Intern (thanks to an Ontario Arts Council 2016/2017 Compass grant).
Tanya Gordon (Treasurer)
Born in the heart of the industrial revolution and the birthplace of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, the Moody Blues, and Duran Duran, in 1976 Tanya Gordon moved from Birmingham, UK to the deep frost of northern Alberta. Raised in Edmonton, Tanya’s stomping grounds included: Grant MacEwan Community College’s Theatre Arts Program; the University of Alberta, where she graduated with a BA with distinction in 1999; and music venues across the prairies. After moving to Vancouver in time to celebrate the new millennium, Tanya was surprised to find herself adept at bookkeeping and accounting and so completed a Financial Management Diploma in Advanced Accounting from the British Columbia Institute of Technology with honours in 2003.
Working for an accounting firm in Vancouver, Tanya decided she’d rather work with artists and
musicians and people more like herself. She began to work with various people in the arts, fashion, music and entertainment industries to help them with their financial needs like bookkeeping and tax filing. In 2007, Tanya made the big move out to Toronto and has been working to help make sense and order of financial information and tax requirements to Torontonian creative folks ever since.
David Yu is a Canadian multimedia, installation, and performance artist. He received a Masters in Fine Art from The Slade School of Fine Art in London, UK and received a Bachelors in Fine Art from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Some highlights from his exhibition record include: a city-wide art installation commissioned and curated by the Duncan and Jordanstone College of Art and Design, funded by the Scottish Arts Council (2010); a Triangle Arts Trust residency and solo exhibition at the Kuona Trust Gallery in Nairobi, Kenya (2010); participation with Flux Night 2012, Atlanta, Georgia, with a multi-channel video installation; MART Gallery Dublin, Ireland (2015); Locust Projects, Miami, Florida (2018); YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto, Canada (2018); Orleans Gallery, Ottawa, Canada (2018). Currently, I am working on performance-based research which investigates the role of the viewer as “performer” within installation practices, which has been generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Shalon T. Webber-Heffernan
Shalon T. Webber-Heffernan is a curator and doctoral candidate in Performance Studies at York University. Her work broadly explores contemporary site-specific and feminist performance projects that respond to issues surrounding disappearance, disposability, and space throughout the Americas. She is currently taking part in the Curatorial Incubator program at Vtape and was Curator in Residence at the Curatorial Lab @ Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology (2019-2020) and recently worked with Toronto’s 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art.
Jordache A. Ellapen
Jordache A. Ellapen is an interdisciplinary and transnational Black Studies scholar and visual artist who grew up in South Africa. He is currently Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies in Culture and Media at the University of Toronto. He researches and writes primarily in two areas: Afro-Asian queer and feminist aesthetic practices and Black Sexual Cultures in South Africa and the diaspora. He is currently writing a book titled Sticky Erotics: Afro-Indian Intimacies and the Queer Aesthetics of Race in South Africa, and has two journal articles, based on the Black queer and femme South African performance duo FAKA, forthcoming in the journals Feminist Studies and Feminist Formations. In his practice-based research he is interested in queering family narratives and histories by positioning the family archive as a counterintuitive, yet generative, archive in producing knowledge about marginalized subjects and experiences that have been strategically “forgotten” within normative and hegemonic narratives of nation, community, and family. His short film cane/cain premiered at the Durban International Film Festival and the 3rd i San Francisco South Asian International Film Festival in 2011. His ongoing project, Queering the Archive: Brown Bodies in Ecstasy has been exhibited in Durban (KwaZulu Natal Society of the Arts), Johannesburg (The Point of Order, Wits University), and Cape Town (Michaelis Galleries) in 2017 and 2018. An image titled Queering Africa, Queering Picasso was selected for the Kinsey Juried Art Show in 2015. Ellapen continues to work with family archives. In his latest creative-based project, Ellapen curates a collection of his mother’s professional studio photographs shots in rural KwaZulu Natal between the 1950s and 1960s. This project asks: How do we read the photo-archive of an Indian woman one generation removed from the sugarcane plantations and coal mines where her parents were indentured as part of an imperial labor force? How do we read her performances alongside the experiences of gendered based violence within the home-space exacerbated by colonial and apartheid era politics? This visual essay, titled “The Brown Photo Album: An Archive of Feminist Futurity,” has been published in Kronos: Southern African Histories (2021). Ellapen has a BA (Dramatic Art) from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, MA degrees from Wits University and New York University (Tisch School of the Arts), and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington. Before joining the University of Toronto, he was an assistant professor at the University of Oregon. He was also a postdoctoral research scholar in the Department of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.