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The Essence Project

In light of the protests over the summer in the USA and around the world, an open call was put out for any works/projects/photos by the INTAC community in response to or about the events. It is important that we take action, in the ways we can, to support and amplify the voices of BIPOC.

One submission from Valerie Poon sparked a conversation about Black creatives who inspire us. From there we developed The Essence Project opening the call for anyone to submit the influential people in their lives, emphasizing BIPOC to submit their works, to uplift their voices and work. We asked the community to not only share who inspires them but why. We wanted to know why the artists chose these people.

The end result is a virtual exhibition or showcase, on INTAC’s Instagram @intac_project, featuring the works of five artists from around the world from mid-November till the end of December.

The Artists

For the virtual showcase, we have five artists from all over the world. They vary in medium showing the diverse skills our INTAC community has. We hope you take a moment to check all of them and their work and support them. 

Felipe Sariento

Felipe Sariento is an INTAC Alumni, who studied at OCADU. He has a Bachelor’s and Masters of Design.

He submitted his four-part series, Four generations of captains, created using alcohol-based markers.⁠⠀⁠⠀

“I have heard and witnessed heroic performances from Colombian soccer players. More than athletes they have become role models in a society looking to find heroes in costume.⁠⠀

This short series depicts four generations of players that have influenced my personal and professional life by demonstrating consistency, courage, creativity, leadership, and unselfishness.⁠”

⁠You can find more of Felipe’s work @felipewithf and⁠

Juliana Rojas Gutiérrez

Juliana is from Mexico City, and has a Masters in Visual Studies and Graduate in Plastic Arts from the Faculty of Arts of the UAEMéx.⁠

Her work is part of the Heritage Collection of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico. She has participated in 10 individual exhibitions and more than 40 collective exhibitions around Mexico, Ecuador, the United States, and Germany.⁠

Her work is mainly based on relational discourse, which takes the sphere of human relations as a theoretical horizon, as well as the art of social participation. The lines of work in her production and research projects revolve around identity, vulnerability, and the others, through collaborative work.⁠

Currently, she works as a teacher in the area of Art History, Painting, and Specific Seminar of Specialty in Painting of the UAEM Faculty of Arts.⁠

Searching for a dream⁠

⁠This series is presented as a small tribute to those who inspire me. Those who have moved abroad searching for a better life.⁠

These images invite us to reconfigure the presence of the absent. Through painting, I try to give an updated identity and represent the presence of facial features that have been transformed after long years of not being seen.⁠

⁠⁠You can find more from @jul.rojas_gutierrez

Farzaneh Rostami 

The turquoise land series⁠

Farzaneh Rostami is a visual artist based in Ontario, Canada. She studied sculpture in Tehran and Florence. She expresses her heritage, history, memories, and the human relationship with nature through the medium of drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation. ⁠

I was inspired to create these paintings because of the news from my country. There have been several planes crashes within the country of Iran.⁠

In January of this year, there was an international flight carrying civilians that were shot down by the Iranian government. People were shocked and their questions have not been answered. Families and loved ones are grieving for their missing members.⁠

These accidents affected me a lot and inspired me to paint my feelings.⁠

⁠⁠You can find more of her work @farzaneh__rostami⁠

Tariq Saeed

COVID Truck Art⁠

Tariq Saeed is a third-year OCADU student from Mississauga, Canada, and part of the Connection Earth Collaborative.⁠

Besides acrylic and oil paints, Tariq uses Enamel/house paints, inspired by Jackson Pollock and Sadequain. ⁠

Combining Pollock’s use of the material and one of Sadequain’s subject matter, Tariq brings their own style and technique.⁠

Tariq believes Islamic arts and the indigenous arts of Pakistan are a very important aspect of their art and would like to introduce these to Canada and the rest of the world. Using western art techniques and combining them with Islamic calligraphy to take this form of art in a new direction.⁠

⁠As I consider myself very fortunate that I can appreciate and accept two cultures, one is the Eastern culture of Pakistan, where I was born, and the culture that adopted me, the Canadian or the Western culture. Being a lifelong admirer of the fusion of East and West, in all forms of art, it is impossible for me not to incorporate both these cultures into my art.⁠

⁠As the second wave of Covid hit us, it is quite easy to forget how frightening and terrifying the first wave was, when no one knew how to manage a virus that has no cure. In this nightmarish scenario, the essential workers went out every day, and put their lives at risk, if that is not the very definition of courage, I don’t know what is. ⁠

⁠I painted this in the style of the indigenous Pakistani art called “Truck Art” to honor and thank the essential workers.⁠

Truck art is extremely popular in Pakistan, all the trucks that carry goods are painted like this. The owners of the trucks spend a considerable amount of funds to decorate their trucks, I have used the same style, but the colors are from the hospital scrubs which are used in hospitals in the Western part of the world.⁠

Sarah Jere

⁠Sarah was actually submitted by her friends (who prefer to stay anonymous). We got to see Sarah through her friends’ eyes. ⁠

For many years Sarah boxed herself in as “just a photographer.” ⁠We are here to tell you, Sarah Jere is anything but just a photographer, and she is anything but mediocre. ⁠

⁠After primarily studying photography, Sarah dove into the world of design without any hesitation or fear. We can now say with confidence that Sarah is not only an exceptional photographer but has a great sense of many other parts of the creative industry, including graphic design and fashion. In fact, we have never met a person with such attention to colour and the ability to perceive and organise design around colour theory.⁠

⁠Sarah excels at anything she sets her mind to and does so with care but also a healthy addition of criticism. Furthermore, she has a great sense of current and future trends. ⁠

When working on a project, Sarah takes the vision and turns it into reality while achieving and exceeding any expectations.⁠

⁠Sarah is a phenomenal daughter, sister, friend, and partner whose energy can bring a room to life. ⁠

⁠She is inspiring. Her spirit, determination, and personality are contagious. Her love hits you hard and refuses to let to. ⁠

For the purpose of the Essence Project, we would like to add that Sarah Jere is the designer of the future, always ideating new concepts, each one more unique and innovative than the previous. ⁠

⁠Sarah has without a doubt inspired many of the creatives she’s crossed paths with through her drive and desire to push boundaries. We can say with great certainty that we would not be where we are now without Sarah Jere.⁠

⁠Find her @sarahjere and @sjerestudios⁠

Leilah Dhoré

Leilah Dhoré is a visual artist currently based in Canada. She is a Photography major at OCAD University. 

Nanny and Mom

The matriarchs

You can find and support Leilah at @leilahdhore or⁠

Thank you!

We want to thank everyone who joined us in supporting these amazing artists during the showcase! A big thank you to all the artists who submitted their works, couldn’t have done it without you!

This was round one of The Essence Project, if you’d like to be part of a second-round or host your own round reach out to us by email at essence(@) or send us a DM on Instagram. 

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