‘Shared Terrain’ is a group exhibition that fosters cultural exchange between the Nordic Region and Canada. This exhibition is structured around exchange and conversation between 10 creatives from distant locations who are collaborating with each other for the first time.
Artists and designers from Canada and the Nordic Region are paired in 5 groups, working together virtually from September to December to create new work for the exhibition. They are invited to be inspired by each other, exploring the connections between their practices with respect to their regional locations and cultural histories.
This exhibition features the work of Carissa Baktay (Canada and Iceland), Laura Millard (Canada), Teemu Salonen (Finland), Randi Samsonsen (Faroe Islands), Katarina Spik Skum (Sápmi, Sweden), Anie Toole (Canada), Lillian Tørlen (Norway), Wednesday Architecture (Denmark), Justine Woods (Aabitaawizininiwag, Canada), and Boris Yu (Canada).
‘Shared Terrain’ is curated by DesignTO, co-presented with Harbourfront Centre, and supported by Lemay, the Embassy of Norway, and Icelandair, the official transportation partner of Nordic Bridges. ‘Shared Terrain’ was made possible as part of Nordic Bridges 2022 in collaboration with Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. Thank you to our external jurors Akash Inbakumar and Melanie Egan.
ARTISTS & DESIGNERS
Carissa Baktay is a multi-media sculptor, sharing studio time between Iceland and Alberta. As an experienced glass maker she has earned degrees from Alberta University of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design and Universidade de Nova Lisboa. Using experimental technologies and mediums combined with time honoured glass making methods, she has been invited to work in studios in Bulgaria, Norway, Finland and Portugal. Recently Carissa’s work has been recognized with multiple grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Icelandic Artists Association, Icelandic Design Fund and Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Land and place are key to Laura Millard’s art practice. Influential artist’s residencies include The Arctic Circle Residency, Svalbard, The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Yukon, The Banff Centre, NSCAD University, Brucebo Studio, Sweden, and Red Gate, Beijing. Millard has exhibited in artist-run, commercial and public galleries across Canada and internationally, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Where Where Exhibition Space, Beijing, Sookmyung Women’s University, Korea, and St. Lawrence University, New York. A recipient of many grants and awards, she has received critical acclaim in publications such as Canadian Art, Border Crossings, The Globe and Mail, C Magazine, and Blake Gopnik On Art.
Teemu Salonen is a Finnish designer creating one of a kind, sculptural objects in a variety of materials. Teemu has degrees in carpentry and craft design, and has exhibited his work internationally. He also maintains a curatorial practice which greatly influences his identity as a designer.
“Making things by hand is an essential part of my identity as a designer. I also see myself as a sculptor especially when I’m making new pieces. I love mixing elements of both classical and kitsch design. I place form and mood over function and I see my studio practice as both experimentation and play, where a variety of materials and techniques can be merged to create unique objects of sculptural design. Materials I often use are ceramic, fiberglass, polycarbonate, airbrush paints, LEDs, metals, and found objects.”
Randi Samsonsen is a Faroe Islands-based artist primarily working in textile media to create soft sculptures. Randi graduated from Designskolen Kolding (Denmark) with a master’s degree in design, specializing in textile design. She also works as a teacher and head of the textile department at Tilvirkisatstøði, Glasir Tórshavn College in the Faroe Islands. She teaches design tools and methods, and textile tools. Randi constantly explores the possibilities within textiles, thread, form, and colour within design and art.
“The french artist Pierre Soulages once said: ‘It is what I do that teaches me what I am looking for.’ I strongly relate to these words. In my work, I strive to become wiser and challenged as an artist and a human. My artistic approach is especially within the textile media. What engages me are all the processes while transforming thread into form, surface and colour. I want to investigate the possibilities and I want to create a connection between the object, the craft and the viewer.”
Katarina Spik Skum is a Sámi artist who works with duodje (Sámi craftsmanship), living in Jåhkåmåkke (Jokkmokk), Sápmi, near the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden. Katarina has a master’s degree in duodje from the Sámi University of Applied Sciences in Guovdageaidnu (Kautokeino). Her favourite materials are those that have traditionally been used by Sámi for thousands of years, such as tanned reindeer hide, tin wire and reindeer fur. Katarina creates both Sámi traditional crafts and work inspired by the Sámi tradition. She makes everything by hand and has been doing so for as long as she can remember. Locally sourced reindeer hides are tanned with hand-picked bark from the forest. Every stitch is sewed with joy. Every product is unique. Katarina learned her craft from her mother and grandmother, who in turn learned from their parents. Thus, the tradition lives on.
Anie Toole received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a Fine Craft diploma in constructed textiles from Maison des métiers d’art de Québec, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Ottawa. She is the recipient of a Textile Society of America Student and New Professional Scholarship Award, and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and Surface Design Association. Anie exhibits artworks in Canada, the United States and France, and was awarded artist residencies at Penland School of Craft (North Carolina) and at La Bande Vidéo (Québec).
Lillian Tørlen is a visual artist living and working in Oslo, Norway. Her work is driven by a situational sensitivity, often with a point of departure in human psychology and behaviour.
Through sculptures and installations in various materials, she invites the viewer to re-evaluate spaces and the objects within them, to pause and consider a chain of events, or to simply contemplate the dialogue happening between the piece and the space. Her ceramic pieces are mostly made by modelling, with minimal glazing to preserve the clay’s organic expression.
Lillian holds a Master of Fine Arts from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Art in Art & Design from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. She has participated extensively in projects and exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Among them and most recently, The Norwegian Drawing Association, Experimental Gastronomy by Steinbeisser, Østlandsutstillingen, Vestlandsutstillingen, North Norwegian Art Centre, Norwegian Presence Milano, Chart Design Fair Copenhagen and Patrick Parrish New York.
Justine Woods is a garment artist, designer, educator and researcher based in Tkaronto (Toronto). She holds a Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design from X University*, a Master of Design from OCAD University, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Media and Design Innovation PhD program X University*. Justine identifies as an Aabitaawikwe and is a member of what is presently known as the Georgian Bay Métis Community.
*The university is currently under the process of being renamed after accepting all 22 recommendations from the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force.
The work of the collaborative art and design practice Wednesday Architecture balances narrative and sculptural storytelling, combined with a fascination of materials, their properties and attributes. Founders Sofie Trier Mørk and Lise Bjerre Schmidt, both trained architects, started collaborating under the name Wednesday Architecture in 2013. Their work and art installations take on a playful, but exclusive approach. They develop all their pieces directly in physical models and mock-ups.This greatly impacts the result, embedding attributes of the materials in the choice and composition of the works. Today, they work from their studio in Copenhagen, Denmark: a laboratory for experiments and development, aiming to challenge conventions and to pull their designs along unexpected paths.
Only One Yes is a research studio run by Hong Kong-Canadian designer Boris Yu. Intrigued by discourses about natural and unnatural worlds, his fascination with lived experience addresses our increasingly unrelatable and emotionally detached environment. Boris’ body of work currently focuses on conceptual material research, grounded in a methodology that upholds the intimate aspects that make us human and generates unique stories. This empathetic approach to designing embraces chaos and ambiguity, providing a grey space for emotional catharsis and to question the processes affecting the way our communities are shaped.