Grebel Gallery Artist Highlights

A painting of snowy mountain peaks wth a lake nestled between the slopes
Two people looking at a picture of a tree in the Grebel Gallery
A group of small, blue and white porcelan birds on the Grebel Gallery tiled floor

Bryce Kanbara | Catherine Mellinger | Sara Matthews | Heng-Gil Han Soheila Esfahani


The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement seeks to highlight past Grebel Gallery artists. This artist series reflects on the ideas of community and identity in relation to envisioning a post-COVID world. Read the profiles below to learn more about the current artistry and passions of these creative professionals.



For all our good intentions as members of diverse communities to amiably reach out to one another, we remain in zones of insularity. We don’t generally relish making the effort to get to know one another. Each of us ought to ask, “When was the last time I attended an event in another’s community hall, religious place, home?” Community Art projects attempt to make process as important as product. Unless we consciously push towards building relationships, forging mutual feelings of understanding and closeness along the way, we won’t really move things forward.

Tesatawiyat, Grebel Gallery, Winter 2017

Bryce Kanbara is a Japanese Canadian visual artist. His career spans nearly 50 years, and he is currently the curator/proprietor at you me gallery in Hamilton, Ontario. Kanbara has had an active presence in the provincial art community, such as past involvement at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Hamilton Artists Inc. and curatorial positions at Burlington Art Centre, Art Gallery of Hamilton, and Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant.

Tesatawiyat means "Come in" in Mohawk, an Iroquoian language. This exhibit was a community photography project that gave a look into the homes and lives of First Nations families living in Hamilton, created in partnership with photographer Mina Ao.

To learn more about you me gallery, visit


Photo of Catherline Mellinger sitting, with text on top


I hope in 100 years, being an artist will no longer be in itself a form of activism. I hope that artists' work is no longer seen as an act of defiance - things to be silenced or looked at in confusion. That instead they are embraced as the truth speakers of any time they are working in, which is what they have always been. It is exhausting at times being an artist, but for me not being an artist has always caused me more harm then forging ahead.



Collage & Connectednesss, Grebel Gallery, Spring 2017

Catherine Mellinger is a Waterloo-based fine artist, with interests in collage, mixed media, and community art. As a certified Expressive Arts Therapist, involved in multiple Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery public programs, Mellinger is passionate about the ways art can heal and bring people together.

Her exhibition at the Grebel Gallery, Collage and Connectedness, showcased art created by five KW youth during a series of workshops. The pieces focused on the theme of connectedness through art.

To learn more about Catherine Mellinger's artistry, visit



I’m interested in the capacity of art to create the conditions wherein difficult experiences might be reflected and touched upon. Art holds a space for that encounter. It suggests new ways of knowing oneself in relation to others. This is the radical potential of the aesthetic gesture: at its best, art asks us to feel, to think, and to emerge differently from that encounter.


The Cultural Life of Drones: KW Drone Dialogues, Fall 2020, Grebel Gallery 

Sara Matthews is an artist and academic, with interests in conflict, education, and social change. A faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University, her projects explore the relationship between war and visual culture. 

Matthews' exhibition The Cultural Life of Drones: KW Drone Dialogues at the Grebel Gallery employed installation and social documentary practices to engage a conversation about the social practices surrounding surveillance and drone technologies.

To learn more about Sara Matthews' artistry and scholarship, visit



Over the past 75 years, a gallery where art is shown has been seen as a contested space. It is about time for us to interrogate the truthfulness of that interpretation. In reality, art can be seen anywhere and anytime. In reality, good forms of art organically migrate and spread around the world, overcoming any man-made borders between nations, classes, races, and genders. That’s why art paves a path toward peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

A New Era of Peace and a Peaceful Land, Grebel Gallery, Spring 2018

Heng-Gil Han is the founding director of the Korea Art Forum, based in New York City. He is a distinguished curator and has published numerous critical essays.

His curated exhibit hosted at the Grebel Gallery, A New Era of Peace and a Peaceful Land, featured rarely-seen art pieces of North and South Korean, American, and Chinese artists. From bright paintings to monochromatic photography, Han's exhibit displayed a variety of styles, voices, and perspectives.

For more information about Han and his upcoming work, visit the Korean Art Forum website.




In my art practice, I explore the notion of the Third Space, a site of cultural translation, where locations of cultures are negotiated and new narratives are adapted and hybridized. The COVID-19 pandemic has made me ponder on the idea of living in the Third Space as a society, where our norms are destabilized and new ways of being are constructed.

Cultural Translation: Negotiated Third Spaces and Those Who Live There, Grebel Gallery, Fall 2018

Soheila Esfahani is an Iranian-Canadian artist based in Waterloo, ON. In recent years, Esfahani's work has explored the concept of cultural translation, as first described by Homi Bhabha. Using cultural ornaments, objects, and souvenirs, Esfahani's installations challenge the viewer's understanding of how cultures are negotiated and adapted when occupying new spaces.

Esfahani's exhibit at the Grebel Gallery, Cultural Translation, showcased mostly blue and white porcelain, an artistic style adopted by many different cultures.

For more information about Esfahani and her upcoming work, visit


Want to learn more about the rest of the Grebel Gallery artists? Explore our Past Exhibits page.