Right from the start, art has always been a big part of the SUPAFRIK pop-up experience and this summer is no exception. We have carefully selected a group of artists who we feel encapsulate a forward-looking and very modern interpretation of African inspiration. There are two names you might already be familiar with from February’s installation at Afrotropolis Wanderland and another two that you should know about. We are very excited to be showing their work for the next two weeks at 627 Queen St. W and we hope to see you at the gallery soon.
Passionate about all things creative, Toronto-based Graphic Designer and Visual Artist Gabrielle Lasporte has been the creator of many diverse art pieces across many forms of media . She is now designing works in the mostly unknown medium of Modern Batik (creating artwork by applying wax and dyes on fabric as seen in her portrait of Toronto artist Saidah above) which she teaches as one of the few accredited Modern Batik instructors in North America.
During her career, Gabrielle has found much inspiration in the female form. She uses feminine beauty and the essence of nature to reveal the struggles, victories and character of womankind itself. The multicultural, multigenerational approach of her body of work emphasizes her vision for a true sisterhood and invites the viewer to escape the boundaries of society.
Gabrielle has shown her works at various events in the Greater Toronto Area including the Manifesto Festival Art Exhibit and Queen West Art Crawl, and others. A strong believer in making things happen for oneself, she has co-created the About Face Collective. The Collective is comprised of portraiture artists intent on creating opportunities to get both their art and their message out to the community. She also hosts The Art Generator every first Monday of the month at Loft404 in Downtown Toronto.
With a background in commercial illustration and graphic design, Melissa Doldron’s painting style can best be described as a form of Chiaroscuro. Translated from Italian, it literally means “light/dark” and is used to describe the technique of high contrast, silhouette-style art. Traditionally, it is done with pen and ink, but Melissa brings this style to life on canvas with bright colours and interesting textures. With all her subjects, Melissa relies on the simplification of shape and form fusing elements of pop and abstract art to create her vibrant pieces.“I want to celebrate the beauty of line and shape and create unique images that showcase depth, movement and intrigue.” Melissa currently lives and works in Toronto.
Born in Paris, France 1987, Jimmy was enchanted at a young age with the idea of living like Picasso; in his studio surrounded by paintings and people who would engage in conversation over his work. He immersed into drawing at a very young age. Starting with simple Disney and comic book characters. He knew fell in love with drawing and felt reassured that this was what he was meant to do. When Jimmy moved to Toronto in 2006 he experimented with different techniques, mediums and surfaces. Since then he has been commissioned to paint indoor and outdoor murals, skateboards, longboards, shoes and clothes. He feels compelled to paint daily and therefore starts one or two paintings every day. He is obsessed with abstract composition and texture. He says his paintings are windows of the mind and come from the subconscious soul. Many of his paintings have eyes, which he says are all connected somehow and a symbol of our society today. JIMMY CHIALE’S vivid canvases are a mash up of emotional construction of symbols and representations. His works are an immediate reaction to his environment and daily life, an imprint of his identity at that moment in time.
Kalkidan Assefa was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and immigrated to Canada in 1988. He attended Ottawa’s Canterbury High School in the prestigious arts program. Graduating in 2001, he went on to study Political Science at York University and explored different fields before pursuing art full-time. Rooted primarily in traditional African aesthetics, his paintings are meant to engage the contemporary viewer. Kalkidan currently produces work from Ottawa and displays in various galleries and shows with plans to exhibit abroad. Past exhibitions include ‘From The Soul’ at the ROM, Manifesto Festival 2010 SUPAFRIK in 2011 and Afrotropolis Wanderland in 2012.