Press Release 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2018__________Media contact:   Teresa Ascencao


Once Upon Water art residency on Toronto Island announces its thirteen multidisciplinary artists selected from around the globe. International artists will explore material and magical notions of water in this art residency by Arts Unfold, taking place at Artscape Gibraltar Point, Sep 17-30, 2018.


Due to record rains last summer, forty percent of Toronto Island flooded and the islands were closed to the public. The waters have since receded and island life is once again thriving. The physical traces and stories of the flood remain a perfect breeding ground for creativity. Thirteen Artists from Austria, The Netherlands, and across Canada and the United States will create art inspired by tangible and intangible concepts of water through media of their choice. Their creative efforts will culminate into a special presentation from 1-5pm on September 29, Nuit Blanche.

Bernhard Cociancig, an Austrian multi-disciplinary artist, will allow rain and waves to alter dry pigment paintings and capture the eroding effect of water; Seana Kozar, a Canadian animator and storyteller, will create and share an original story of fantastical, ancient beings and the sea-change they must undergo to save the world; Ali Deane, a studio artist from the United States will create a multi-media installation preserving and transforming the oceanic debris of Toronto Island; Stéphanie Cloutier is a Toronto-born artist who will explore absurd gestures and futile acts through performance, video and object-making; jabs, a Toronto-based multidisciplinary duo comprised of Jasmine Gui and Abby Ho, will explore water as historical archive and anti-archive through on-site papermaking; Lisa Hemeon, a Toronto based painter will channel influences of the surrounding coastal environment to create a diptych representing the ebb & flow of internal connections and energies; Rihab Essayh, a moroccan born Canadian artist will research the aftermath of alienation of female figures in literature and arts; Natalie Deryn Johnson, an American movement memoirist, will explore the body of water within to unveil narratives of consciousness, inheritance and femininity; Chantal Khoury, a Lebanese-Canadian visual artist based in Montreal, will produce drawing and painting studies which focus on multilayered relationships to the Canadian landscape; Kelly O’Neill, a Canadian installation artist, will use video and expressive movement to explore the relationship between body and water; Roosje Verschoor, a Dutch photographer and film maker, will research how water transforms material and reconfigures landscapes; Sandra Vida, a multi-media artist from Calgary, will develop a performance reflecting water’s implications of cleansing and renewal. For details on the artists visit


Once Upon Water is a two-week residency on Toronto Island, to create artworks about the material and magical notions of water. Water is in constant flow and yet may present itself as still ~ a mirror that mesmerizes. In this state its reflective surface invites gazing at our physical selves, but also beyond our bodies to contemplate both our inner experiences and relationships with the outer world. 

Resident Artists create works that explore tangible and intangible concepts of water through media of their choice, such as photography, video, installation, storytelling, painting, performance art, sound art, etc. Artists will have opportunities to socialize and integrate with people who live on, and visit, Toronto island. This programmed residency offers facilitation by Multimedia Artist Teresa Ascencao, resident artist talks, a virtual talk with St. Vincent artist Nadia Huggins, creative and critical dialogue by the shoreline, and plenty of studio time. There will be a closing presentation on September 29, 1-5pm.

Once Upon Water is a creation of Arts Unfold, which produces art and design projects in Canadian and European communities to foster greater understandings of social and environmental conditions. Teresa Ascencao, the Art Director of Arts Unfold, is a Multimedia Artist and environmentalist who collaborated on Water Portals, an interactive work of digitally rendered water ripples triggered by live dancers bodies. Teresa was born to Azorean parents in Brazil and immigrated to Canada at a young age. She lives in Toronto and teaches at OCADU.

Residency dates:  September 17 – 30, 2018

Closing event: September 29, 1pm to 5pm

Where:  Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island

*Not all locations are wheel chair accessible. Please inquire about accessibility.

More information: and

Media Contact:  Teresa Ascencao


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