Remote Research Residency

Iyha Arts, Sarah Mihara Creagen, Kelsie Grazier, ecoaborijanelle, Zoë Vos, Bo Yeung

Curated by Katie Belcher, Meichen Waxer, Whitney Brennan

1 May to 30 Sep 2021

Sarah Mihara Creagen (she/her) is a white passing mixed-race Japanese Canadian Queer artist currently based in Brantford, Ontario. Her large-scale drawings have described her and her younger sister’s shared experiences of navigating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Currently exploring histories of sex, illness and healing practices found within the field of botany, Creagen uses humour as a form of resistance and Queer resiliency to create work that speaks to her experience with Crohn’s Disease.

Creagen received her MFA from Hunter College (NYC) in 2018, and was a 2018/2019 Queer|Art Mentorship Fellow paired with New York based artist Neil Goldberg. She has had solo exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal, and New York, with recent solo show The Sisters’ Fart Corner at Articule gallery in Montreal (Nov 2019). Creagen has an upcoming solo show with the Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax, Jan 2022) and is a 2020/2021 grant recipient of a Visual Artist Creation Project from the Ontario Art Council.

Iyha Arts (she/her) was born in England and is of African-Jamaican descent. She now resides in Calgary. Though Iyha burst onto the Calgary arts scene only a few years ago, she already displays the characteristics of an important, indeed remarkable, talent.

She is a sculptor, painter, jeweller and artisan whose work has been exhibited across Canada. She began her artistic exploration as a form of healing and has been transformed via that journey. Now Iyha uses mixed media to explore her relationship to her ancestors – welcoming them to share a seat at the table so she can hear their messages and gifts of insight. She uses the West African practice of Sankofa, translated as “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” African - Jamaican tradition is a living body of knowledge that has been developed, sustained, inherited and transmitted from generation to generation. Iyha welcomes her ancestors to share their knowledge through her spontaneous, intuitive creation of art. She has transformed her own cultural and spiritual identity through the ancestors’ guidance.

“If we know the beginning well, the end will not trouble us.” (African Proverb)

Zoë Vos (she/her) is a queer dancer, choreographer, multidisciplinary performer, and full-time caregiver to her grandmother who is living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. She is Canadian of mixed Turkish and Dutch descent and raised in South Carolina by her punk-rock-pioneer mother. Vos relocated to Toronto after the death of her step-father to cancer and currently resides between Montreal and Toronto. Caring through illness has greatly impacted her identity, and desires for creation, exploration and play as a dancemaker; imagining choreographic efforts as a way to touch on public health. 

Vos holds her BFA in Dance from Concordia University, 2019. In 2017 she began mentorship with Clara Furey, resulting in her joining the cast of Furey’s first group piece entitled “Cosmic Love”, which toured Europe 2018-2019. Vos is currently in research with choreographer, Aurélie Pedron for an upcoming durational work set to premier 2022. She is the recipient of ImPulsTanz’s danceWEB scholarship, 2018, mentored by Florentina Holzhinger & (in conversation with) Meg Stuart.In 2020 Vos collaborated with fellow dance artist Silvia Sanchez on the duet Tender-Punk Slow-Spine 2020 for Short&Sweet: Nuit Blanche at CCOV in Montreal. 

Bo Yeung (she/her) is a multidisciplinary chinese canadian artist, whose work is primarily textiles, family belongings, performances and installations. She resides on the traditional territory of Tr’ondëk Hwëchin in Dawson City, Yukon. Yeung immigrated in 1995 from a rice farming village in Kaiping, China to Vancouver and from that moment on there has been a complex relationship in unsettling belongings, diaspora and community. She was raised in a family chinese restaurant, in Kamloops where she completed her BFA at TRU(Thompson Rivers University) both spaces ignited the reimagining of the narrative in chinese diaspora. This conversation includes her ancestors, the work is an offering to them.

Kelsie Grazier (she/her) is a visual artist based in Vancouver, BC. With an emphasis on gestural brushstrokes and fine lines, Kelsie paints to communicate the complexities of Deaf identity and cultural histories. She studied painting at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She obtained her Masters in Deaf Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and focused her research on global perceptions of Deaf identity. It was during this time that Kelsie, born with a mild hearing loss, suddenly became deaf. As a result, her art practice explores her newfound connection to a linguistic minority culture and her deaf experiences.

Janelle “ecoaborijanelle” Pewapsconias (she/her) is a nehîyaw Spoken Word Poet, Community Engaged Researcher, Social Innovator, and arts educator based in the Treaty Lands now known as Little Pine First Nation, Treaty 6 Territory on Saskatchewan. As a single mother she continues oral tradition through the poetry and spoken word art. Her unique spoken word poetry style has been performed from east to west coast, sharing stories of connection to this land. ecoaborijanelle speaks from the experience of an rez-based Indigenous femme, but reminds everyone that her perspective does not represent all Indigenous people to Turtle Island.

Coming this spring, summer, and fall there will be many ways to engage with the RRR resident activities and their developing research. Watch our Instagram and website for regular updates and info for online events! Be sure to visit Arts Assembly's artist's profiles to stay updated throughout their residencies.

RRR is a month long research residency for remotely/rurally located folk. Artists with lived experience as Queer/LGBTQIA2S+, Black, Indigenous, racialized, disabled, and/or neurodivergent were prioritized in the selection of six artists or artistic groups.

Remote in our working definition is being located rurally/outside of city centres, and/or facing isolation from artistic communities through circumstances such as working from home, caregiving, health needs, or displacement. Remoteness can be an experience that is physical, geographic, mental or spiritual. 

Recognizing the impacts of colonialism, white supremacy, and all forms of systemic oppression, we are working broadly in our own organizational approaches, and specifically with the structure and intentions of this project, to de-centre whiteness and nurture people, projects, and ideas, to whatever their natural evolution may be. 


This project is made possible through project funding from Canada Council.


Access' partnership in this project is made possible through the generous decision of the Audain Foundation to give the Audain Prize to artist-run centres in 2020.


Access gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the following funders as well as our committed family of donors, members, and volunteers, for enabling this organization to remain vigorous and connected to the communities we support.

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