Peta Rake

Peta Rake is a curator, cook, and community interlocutor presently based in Meanjin/Brisbane. She is currently Senior Curator at University of Queensland Art Museum. Her practice as a curator is currently attentive to transdisciplinary conversations focussed on blue research, working closely with artists and scientists to understand the psycho-social, political, and gendered dimensions of coastal wetlands, sea country, intertidal zones, aquaculture, and the regeneration and articulation of these sites. Her work has always involved a large network of long-term collaborators and thinkers, and friends, with a keen interest in distributed curatorial work towards activism. At present she is collaborating closely with curator Léuli Eshrāghi on Blue Assembly and The Clam’s Kiss / Sogi a le faisua. They have collaborated on a forthcoming text for the L’Internationale/Koenig Publication CLIMATE: Our right to breathe (2022).

Mel O’Callaghan

Mel O’Callaghan was born in 1975, Sydney, Australia. She lives and works in Paris, France and Sydney. O’Callaghan’s work explores human behaviour in relation to notions of resistance, endurance, and transformation. Recent solo exhibitions include, Carriageworks, Sydney (2022); Samstag Museum, Adelaide (2022); UQ Art Museum, Brisbane (2020); Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers (2019); Artspace, Sydney (2019); NGV, Melbourne (2018); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2017). Group exhibitions include, ACCA, Melbourne; 19th Biennale of Sydney; Seoul Museum of Art; Pompidou Centre, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila; Serralves Museum, Porto; AGNSW, Sydney; Gillman Barracks, Singapore; Museo D’Art Contemporanea, Rome; NGA, Canberra; and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam.

Morgan Melenka

Morgan Melenka is a visual artist based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary). She engages with sculpture and printmaking as she misuses architectural forms and materials to engage with history and place. She holds an MFA from NSCAD University, Halifax (2019). Her 2022 exhibitions include Nonsuch, which engages with the cycle of ruin/development in the city of Edmonton, and curatorial project Equivalence of Alloyed Gold with Megan Gnansihamany at Critical Distance for Curation in Toronto. Find her work featured in The Mall at the Mitchell Art Gallery at MacEwan University, Edmonton, until April 2023 and in an upcoming article in Peripheral Review by Nadia Kurd. She has taught visual art sessionally at NSCAD University, University of Alberta, and MacEwan University and, between other contracts, paints sets for film and television.

Lizzy Moorhead

My name is Elizabeth Moorhead and art is a passion of mine. I attended an art centered learning school that allowed me to express myself creatively as I grew up. I’m currently a student at Discovering Choices II in Calgary. I am working to complete Art 30 and graduate with my high school diploma this June. After high school I plan to go to university for my teaching degree and hope I can inspire a love of art in my future students.

I have designed a sketchbook compilation for the Calgary Public Library that is on permanent public display. Additionally, I donated a piece of acrylic art titled A World of Friends that connected to community and equality to one of my school’s donors – Integro.

I’m currently working on a collage exhibit for the Esker Foundation with two fellow students that will be featured in the Project Space. I worked with artist May G N and Esker’s curator Shauna Thompson for this project. The theme is connected to our inner worlds, and personal interests; the silhouetted profiles are used to shed light on who we truly are.


Zabdi is inspired by the world, and the people around her. Curiosity, openness, and careful observation motivate her creativity – whether to capture scenes of nature, express her feelings, or communicate with others through her work. Her preferred medium is watercolour, because of its ability to make subjects come alive on paper. 

Sid Smillie

A fascination with the organic.
Each vein, leaf, nerve, so meticulously placed.
Who is the seamstress of what we overthink?
Who placed her tender hands on the eyes with which we analyse?
Do we,
Or does she,
Think of the questions we ask?
Organic, implies something is created naturally.
So then why should each thought that passes, be met with such scrutiny?
-organically processed

Sergio Plazas

Sergio Plazas is a Venezuelan Law Student at the University of Calgary. He enjoys using the medium of video narratives to reflect on his own life. He hopes to construct pieces that will bring truth and happiness to himself and others.


The goal of my work was to challenge the deconstruction of identity due to immigration. Using my own experiences, I saw that I was displaced from any ethnic and racial identity I had, becoming foreign to both cultures I lived in. It was impossible to hold on to my identity in fleeting memories or in a society that would never fully accept me. However, I wanted to present how I was shown a transcendental identity that reconciles the other identities I had holistically. I chose to use videos from my childhood as the basis for my narrative to make the story personal, but I contrasted this aspect through the use of rotoscoping to depict the loss of my memories and identity. Lastly, my devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is the main inspiration for my project. She helped me heal my own identity, and I want to invite others into partaking in her motherly love.

Sasha Samarina

Sasha Samarina is a 22-year-old multimedia artist and poet currently based out of Calgary. As a Russian native, Sasha’s art primarily focuses on the experience of growing up in a politically unstable country, the resulting immigration and the unsavoury feelings of guilt and shame for leaving one’s family and friends behind. She also explores the ideas of collective responsibility and guilt.

Artist’s statement

‘Vesuvius’ is a meditation on the extent of personal and collective responsibility in the face of large-scale cataclysms – be those natural or man-made. Each of the four spaces presented in the video asks a certain question about the feeling one experiences in that space in relation to a catastrophe. Near the landmark Calgary location, the viewer is asked to reconcile the seeming lack of danger in the frame and the uncanny valley feeling of the collage. When faced with the soon-to-erupt mountain Vesuvius, what should the people of Pompeii have done? What, if anything, can the protesters in Saint Petersburg ask of the deity watching them? Why had the same, or maybe a different deity, done nothing to prevent the destruction of the city it now gazes over?

Liz Kim

Liz Kim is an emerging Korean-Canadian artist, currently studying in Alberta University of the Arts. She explores creative ways to visualize her experience of immigration, through exploring the themes of memories, dreams, connection and disconnection, and fragmentation over time.

Artist Statement

“Through my works, I create a place of in-betweenness, a chaotic place of refuge like a dream. Where different memories and realities collide and create something new.

I consider the color blue with many different associations. To me, blue often means loneliness, but also happiness and freedom. I associate it as such, as I refer to the color within nature; especially the blue sky or the blue ocean. It’s easy to feel lonely, but that also comes with the freedom of having to not be rooted to the ground. The blue sky represents the world I knew living in Korea, and the ocean is the world I came to when I immigrated to Canada.  Although in reality we know the sky is bigger than the sea, there’s still much more unknown within the sea than the sky. The unfamiliarity of the ocean is the sense I got when I immigrated to Canada and was forced to adapt. The suffocation. Inability to verbally speak up when I chose not to submit to the change. I needed to teach myself how to breathe underwater, to swim rather than fly, and be cautious not to drown rather than fly away too far.

Although the duality of my identity is always reminded in my waking moments, in my dream, I’m able to visit a place where the sky touches the sea and merges together into blue. The disconnections of my two cultures are merged together and connected to one in my dream. Neither the sky or the sea. Where kites swim and stingrays fly. Where gravity malfunctions and one can only float.”



Mary Ma

Mary Ma: My Grandma is a Carved Name on a Tombstone

“This poem and digital story are about identity, grief, and relationship. The poem’s fugue form – which examines a central theme through several repetitions and different contexts – allowed me to explore the image of a magpie as it related to my family, my identity, and my grandmother. For the video, I chose videos of magpies and Ireland, keeping the visuals simple to highlight the poem and its musicality. I also examine in this work the complexities of my Chinese and Irish ethnicities and being an immigrant’s daughter, as well as unraveling the legacy of colonialism. However, the heart of the piece is between me and my grandma. Every time I see a magpie, I remember her and her rhyme. My future children will never meet my grandmother, only knowing her through stories and memory, and as the years pass, I lose more and more to the decay of time. However, this is not a poem about defeat, but a place of reclamation, relation, and remembrance to honour how car rides to Sunday Mass in a little Irish town and a simple rhyme my grandma gave me echo softly and warmly into my past, present and future. My grandmother will always be with me, for even after death, love remains.”

Mary Ma: My Grandma is a Carved Name on a Tombstone


Mary Ma & Sergio Plazas: Filia

“Filia” chronicles my life-long relationship with my identity and its core elements: gender, ethnic, bodily, existential, and religious. My relationship with my identity and existence has been fraught with anxiety and despair since I was a young child. An amalgamation of factors, including my mixed ethnicities and struggles with trauma, fractured my sense of self and worth. I was a perpetual “other.” Fundamentally, I did not know the answer to the question, “does my existence have meaning?” Was I known, loved, or wanted? Was it good to be, despite life inevitably containing suffering, and was it good to be me, despite my brokenness? Until this year, I thought the answer to these questions was probably no. Before, I believed I had to justify my identity and existence, prove I was a woman, Chinese, Irish, Canadian, meaningful, and loveable. In January 2020, my life completely changed when I realized God existed and He loved me, personally. It further changed this year when I finally understood that just because I exist I have identity, meaning, and am loveable. This poem and digital story is meant to limn my 23-year odyssey of identity, tracing me in a car, a solitary and transitory space, into a Catholic chapel, my community and home. I am secure in an identity I do not have to work for, because a child is simply cared for and loved. The piece is titled “Filia,” Latin for “daughter,” representative of my most fundamental, unchanging identity as a daughter of God. All my other identities stem from this. In the piece, Jesus calls me into resurrection in Cantonese and Irish – “小女, éirigh” – a translation of the words He speaks when He resurrects Jairus’ daughter. Through my identity, gender, ethnicity, sufferings, and body, God resurrects, heals, and transfigures me. In this project, I desire for my audience to confront these questions within themselves, ascend into a place of secure identity where they understand they are seen and loved as they are, and reach a place of unchanging peace, knowing that it is good for each one of them to be. For both of these projects and for “Filia” in particular, I would especially like to thank my dear fiancée Sergio Plazas. He directed, recorded, and edited “Filia,” and he also helped me invaluably throughout the creative process, encouraging me and guiding me when I was lost or discouraged. He spent many hours behind the scenes editing this project, and I truly would not have been able to create this project without his support, time, talent, and love.”

Mary Ma & Sergio Plazas: Filia


“Mary Ma is a twenty-three-year-old Catholic woman from Calgary studying English and Psychology at Mount Royal University. Through her writing and art, she wishes to humanize her perspective; pursue truth, beauty, and goodness; and ultimately serve God. Mary hopes to continue writing as a lifelong pursuit because it is her main method of understanding the world, others, and herself.”