Current student profiles

2023-2024 Cohort

Ashley Beerdat

Ashley Beerdat

Ashley Beerdat is a painter and arts facilitator based in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who primarily works in an impasto style to narrate fantastical stories based on references from pop culture, her childhood, and her imagination. She has a BA in Studio Art and Art History from Western University and is currently an MFA student at the University of Waterloo. In her practice, she explores themes of mythology, folklore, and storytelling to navigate the world around her. Her work is held in Mississauga’s permanent corporate art collection and has been exhibited at the Small Arms Inspection Building, Latitude 53, the Artist Project and Withrow common. Beerdat also dabbles in public art and has designed murals and art activations for Business Improvement Area (BIA)'s across the GTA. 

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Behnaz Fatemi

Portrait of Behnaz Fatemi holding a pyramid sculpture

Behnaz Fatemi (she/her) is an Iranian artist who moved to Canada in 2018, based in the KW region. Fatemi graduated from the University of Guilan, Iran, with a BFA in Studio Arts. She is an interdisciplinary artist who works across various mediums and techniques, mainly in drawing, sculpture, installation, and performance. She investigates the deep connection between humans and their behaviors. This investigation is an answer to her question of how human sensibility interconnects with topics such as society, politics, religion, personal beliefs, and the like. Her recent research-creation effort (the triangles series) was a reaction to her immigration-related experiences, using repetition as a method of hilling. Behnaz considers herself an activist artist who works on projects reacting to sociopolitical events. In her MFA program, she aims to research interactive and socially engaged arts, focusing on artistic interventions that can bring diasporic lived experiences into public spaces to support and strengthens human rights, social justice, and freedom.

Behnaz's work has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions throughout Iran and Canada. She was the 2020-2021 Kitchener Artist in Residence, working on immigrant- and immigration-related themes in the Pegman project. In the same year, she was also one of the members of the Art$Pay Artist in Incubator program supported by the Region of Waterloo. In November 2020, Behnaz received Arts Awards Waterloo Region in the Emerging Artist category.

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Breanne Jeethan

Breanne Jeethan

Breanne Jeethan (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist and designer originally from Toronto. She has a passion for photography, textiles, and handmade practices. Major themes in her work include, women, the body, individuality, race, cultural practices, and religion. The connection between the work and the audience has allowed her to share personal stories in a visual matter. With interests in healthcare, Breanne's current MFA focus involves internal scans of the body in relation to mistreatment among the population. 

Breanne graduated from OCAD University (Toronto, Ontario) in 2019, with a Bachelor of Design. She completed a major in Graphic Design as well as a minor in photography. Breanne is currently an MFA student at the University of Waterloo. Her work has been exhibited in The Small Arms Inspection Building, Xpace Cultural Centre, and OCAD University.

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Jordan MacDonald

Jordan MacDonald

Jordan MacDonald (she/her) is a versatile multi-disciplinary artist, originally based on the unceded traditional territory of the Syilx (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia). Today, she calls the traditional territories of the Attawandaron, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples, situated on the Haldimand Tract (Waterloo, Ontario) her home.

In 2023, Jordan achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, British Columbia in 2023. Her art practice explores the intricate connection between nature and the human experience. Rooted in her sensory perception of the world, her creative expression takes shape through various mediums, such as painting, sculpture, and mixed media, resulting in a unique fusion of emotions and reflections. Jordan's artistic endeavours have found a platform in both group and solo exhibitions across Canada.

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Azadeh Pirazimian

Black and white image of a woman in long hair looking down at a rock-like object in her hands.  Behind her is a large drawing of the same object.

Azadeh Pirazimian is a practicing multidisciplinary artist art educator based in Toronto and formerly a lecturer in Iran. With a passion for exploring themes of self-expression, communication, daily resistance, and social injustice through diverse media, Azadeh's artistic practice merges various disciplines, including drawing, painting, mark-making, photography, video, performance art, and sculpture. Her methodology has been consistent throughout her career, resulting in her own distinctive visual language.

Over the years, Azadeh has showcased her works at multiple exhibitions in Iran, Canada, and the Netherlands. Her art has received recognition and awards, including the RBC Space Award(2023) from the Toronto Arts Foundation, The Newcomer and Refugee Artists Mentorship Grant(2021) from the Toronto Arts Council, the RBC Space Award(2021), and the RBC Art Access Fund(2016) from the Toronto Arts Foundation among others.

Azadeh holds a bachelor's degree in painting and a master's in visual communication from Iran. Additionally, in 2023, she completed Centennial College's Arts Management program in Canada.

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Jill Smith

Black and white portrait of Jill Smith

Jill Smith (she/her) is a queer, Jewish multi-disciplinary artist and non-profit fundraiser/administrator, born and based in Tkarón:to (Toronto, Ontario). Her work involves exploring the archival properties of (often domestic) materials, objects, and rituals. With an interest in the intimacy of the maker-object relationship, Jill combines malleable materials, including clay and paper pulp, with found objects, recontextualizing familiar motifs and archetypal symbols, and leaving traces of the hand. As an MFA candidate, Jill is researching the intersections of sculptural practice, material identity, and sustainability, viewing objects and spaces as ever-evolving assemblages.

In 2017, Jill graduated from Western University (London, Ontario) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honors Specialization in Studio Art). Since then, she has exhibited work in spaces across Ontario, such as the plumb, The Brandscape, Ed Video Media Art Centre, and Forest City Gallery, as well as Friends and Neighbours Gallery in Montreal, Quebec. Jill has participated in artist residency programs at Sparkbox Studio in Picton, ON, AGA LAB in Amsterdam, NL, and Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto, ON). Prior to beginning her MFA, Jill held the role of Donor Programs Officer at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. She is currently a Board Member of Arts Assembly, and Member of Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography’s Special Events and Fundraising Committee. Upcoming projects include a solo exhibition at Xpace Cultural Centre (Toronto) in 2023.

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Paige Smith

Silhouette of a person reading a book while standing in front of artwork depicting classical architecture.

Paige Smith (she/her) is a visual artist and experimental filmmaker whose artwork collapses distinctions like fiction/reality or nature/culture to fabulate new ontological understandings of ourselves and the places where we exist. She draws attention towards the characteristics, histories, and meanings of the places where her artwork is created and experienced, investigating how viewer perception is informed by its surrounding context.

She currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario, which is situated within the Haldimand Tract, land that was granted to the Six Nations of the Grand River, and within the territory of the Attawandaron, Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. She was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations.

She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Waterloo. She previously attended Simon Fraser University, obtaining a BFA majoring in Film and Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Contemporary Art.

Her artwork has exhibited at a variety of art spaces, including recently with the Vancouver International Film Festival (2023), Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society (2022), Massy Arts Society (2022), Audain Gallery (2022 & 2021), Vines Art Festival (2020), and VIVO Media Arts Centre (2019).

Her work can be found in the permanent collection of Video Out Distribution.

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Charlie Star

Charlie Star is a multiracial woman, interdisciplinary artist and second generation astrologer, born in St. Martin, with descendants from French Canada and the Caribbean. She obtained her BFA from OCAD University in 2011.

Mixing and assembling various materials and mediums is at the center of her studio practice, where she has created 2-D and 3-D textile-based sculptures and installations, wearable art, drawings and collage. She has participated in music and art festivals as an installation artist and DJ, and facilitated art-making workshops and community art programs in both gallery and non-gallery venues.

As an emerging arts worker, she operates program coordination and administration for various projects, organizations and institutions.

During her MFA tenure, Charlie is experimenting with sonic technologies, new media, contemporary DJ practices and multiple layering techniques as a means to create immersive site responsive sound installations. Her research explores and merges Afro-Caribbean cultural music legacies and astrological interpretations of cosmic events to identify the ways that sound and music can shape and reframe notions of identity, belonging and empowerment.

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Cree Tylee

In front of their face, a person holds a framed picture showing a person holding a framed picture, and the repeat continues.

Cree Tylee is a multimedia artist whose work is a convergence of materials and recollection through photographic and sculptural investigations. Tylee explores how interactions with organic ‘altars’ allude to emotional environments that explore memory, loss and longing. Tylee navigates the concepts of time, labour and weight through considerations of personal histories and allegory.

Tylee studied at Haliburton School of Art + Design, located on the traditional territory of the Mississauga Anishinaabe covered by the Williams Treaties. Receiving a Visual and Creative Arts Diploma along with a certificate in Photo Arts, Tylee later returned to complete a certificate in Ceramics. Tylee graduated with honours from Brock University in Studio Art with a minor in The History of Art and Visual Culture. Tylee currently lives on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples (St. Catharines, ON).

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