Winter Island 2022: Artist Residency

Artscape Gibraltar Point presents: Winter Island Artist-In-Residence Program 2022

Program Dates: January 31 – April 4, 2022

Exhibition: April 30 – May 28, 2022 – Artscape Gibraltar Point

Artscape Gibraltar Point is proud to announce the official recipients of the Winter Island 2022 Artist in Residence.

After receiving a great deal of strong applications, our jury selected eight artists for both two-week, and month-long residencies.

Read on to learn more about our selection below and find out how you can be a part of the unique and wonderful self-directed residency opportunities during Winter Island 2022.

A special thank you to the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation for their generous support. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to offer a record breaking eight residencies. We’d also like to thank our jurors Sarah Cullen, Julie Pasila, Sammy Rawal, and Caitlin Taguibao for their time and support.

Winter Island 2022 Participants

Merle Harley and Sara Maston

Residency Dates: January 31st – February 28th

SK Maston and Merle Harley met on Toronto Island and bonded over mutual themes in their artistic work. With a specific interest in the comingling of multispecies life worlds, Maston and Harley began developing an artistic collaboration.

SK Maston is an interdisciplinary artist who explores the vantage point of animals such as insects, single-celled organisms, domestic horses, birds and rodents. Her work takes the form of ceramics, paintings, and textile installations to articulate parallel lifeworlds that are indicative of a distant ancestor’s sense of physicality or distinct rhythm of nature. Maston holds an MFA from York University and is pursuing a degree in Information Science at UofT to develop methods of archiving and mediating ephemeral nonhuman animal knowledge. Additionally, she is a member of the Asian-pop-girl-band-artist-collective XVK, founded by Maston, Xuan Ye, and Veronique Sunatori.

Merle Harley works slowly, creates continually, and builds alternate visual realities. A chaos-creature with no fixed medium, works include drawing, watercolour, knitting, weaving, comic books, videos and installations. Merle has had illustrations and comics published in many online and print publications and exhibited work across Canada and beyond. As well as a full arts practice, Merle has extensive experience facilitating workshops and coordinating community art programs. Catch them on the shoreline as they zip back and forth between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Ontario.

Ej Nussbaum

Residency Dates: January 31st – February 14th

Ej Nussbaum earned her MFA at University of Illinois at Chicago and her BA from Hampshire College. Her filmmaking practice traverses both analogue and digital time machines.  She uses humour and sentimentality to question how larger power systems are embodied and contested in the intimate realms of desire and memory.  Whether engaging in speculative conversations with family members or historical revolutionaries, she finds value in imagining the presumed impossible and re-shaping the static presentations of histories and self narratives we too readily give to others.

Mary Dyja

Residency Dates: February 21st – March 7th

Mary Dyja is visual artist and parent, mostly working with threads also with drawing and painting media. Mary was born in Minsk, Belarus. They received BFA from York University, Toronto.

During Winter Island at Artscape Gibraltar Point I will be offering mending services for local residents and the community members. I am looking forward to learn about their relationships and connections with the items through stories.

Alternatively, I would like to create works based on requests for a “symbolic” mending, that could be done for anything from a physical object to a concept, an issue or a complaint.

Mushtari Afroz

Residency Dates: February 28th – March 28th

Mushtari Afroz is a GTA based dancer and emerging choreographer with training in North Indian classical dance form ‘Kathak’ and has been practising within the South Asian diaspora since early 2000 following her immigration to Canada from Bangladesh. She has received extensive training in Lucknow style of Kathak under the tutelage of Ontario based teachers, dancers and choreographers Joanna de Souza and Saveeta Sharma. Currently she is advancing her training in the nuances of the dance form under the guidance of India based Kathak artist Anurekha Ghosh. Alongside the classical dance, Mushtari continues to train in contemporary dance and performance aesthetics. Recently she has joined US based Shawngram Institute for Performance & Social Justice’s NextGen platform for professional dancers where she is training in ‘Yorchha’ – an Indian contemporary movement form.

In 2016, Mushtari established her dance collective ‘Kathak Bandi’ that has created and presented original works for the stage in Canada and in the US. She is a recipient of supports from both Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council. While she continues to create work for the stage, with the project ‘Drifting Dialogues’ for Artscape Gibraltar Point, Mushtari is planning on creating work for outside of the stage. This is the beginning of a new phase in her artistic journey. She hopes her effort will critically engage the community in thinking about the corporeal experience of its urban spaces and she plans to achieve it through her process of dance/performance as urban intervention.

Studio Rat

Residency Dates: February 28th – March 28th

Studio Rat is an emerging creative practice pursuing research and experimental design work between the cities of Toronto and Montréal. Studio Rat was founded in 2018, between work-partners Dominique Di Libero and Emily Allan who are committed to DIY fabrication techniques & resource-sharing rooted in circular design principles.

To learn more about Studio Rat you can visit their website or follow them on Instagram @studio__rat!

This March, Studio Rat will be exploring emergent relationships between plastic, craft and art during their Winter Island AiR on Wards Island. Over the course of their stay at Artscape Gibraltar Point, they will be experimenting with textile arts and fibre crafts by challenging the material origins of these practices and connecting them with art-making in our age of disposability and consumerism.

You can join Studio Rat’s investigations on ‘Making-with Plastic’ by participating in their culminating community workshop on DIY plasti-crafting and low tech recycling techniques as a means to reconcile with the irreversible binding of plastic with landscape and everyday experience.

Bluerock Collective

Residency Dates: February 28th – March 14th

Manifesting a diversity of cultures, Blue Rock Collective is a collaboration of OCADU graduates, Suzanne Simoni and Maryam Zaraimajin. Blue Rock Collective navigates the notion of interdependence, exploring the ambiguities of communities engaging within habitats. Recognizing this complex interplay, our work responds to feedback from life systems within our home on Earth, a blue rock suspended in space that is both beautiful and fragile.

Based on our approach to the interaction of communities within public space, Blue Rock Collective was awarded a rooftop sculpture commission at the Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre, and recently completed a community engagement project at the Bentway, manifesting an interactive online map of CityPlace. Individually, Simoni creates experiential art, including a sculpture at Parkway Mall, and a multimedia installation for Nuit Blanche at Drake One Fifty. Zaraimajin’s art practice, referencing ambiguous interactions of humans in society, placed first in the 2018 Sculpture Society of Canada juried exhibition, and recently participated the Festival of the Trees at the Small Arms Inspection Building by creating a six-foot immersive nest woven from wood and grapevine.

With the belief that art is a universal language, Blue Rock Collective explores the notion of art informing communities and conversely the experience of social and ecological communities informing the creation of art.

Miranda Black

Residency Dates: March 7th – April 4th

Miranda Black is an artist and environmental justice advocate whose Indigenous lineage is from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She is currently obtaining a masters degree in Environmental Applied Science and Management at X University where her thesis focuses on Indigenous relationships to Toronto Island. Prior to her career in academia, Miranda worked as the creative genius of Mirandala Art ( where her paintings and installations were inspired by her Mohawk heritage, relationship to oral histories, and environmental conservation. To promote community engagement in April 2022, Miranda will be hosting an unveiling of the decolonial mapping project that she will be creating during the Winter Island residency at Gibraltar Point that is inspired by the stories shared with her during the qualitative research portion of her thesis research.

Erin Breau-Barkley

Residency Dates: March 21st – April 4th

My work is largely about other people’s memory. I pull from a rich multi-family, multi-generational photo archive, bookmarked by moments considered significant enough to have been captured on film, and re-told through oil paintings. The photographs I choose to reference are pieces of a larger story spanning many decades, about home, place, identity, longing and time. They are short stories of desire, pride, loss, ownership, freedom, motherhood, sisterhood, and selfhood. I am looking for the space in between my own actual memory perception and personal ideologies about my life, its connectedness, and the larger context in which we all exist. The vagueness of that space transcends memory and holds my focus like a lens. The elusiveness and ambiguity of the spectrum of memory is what I aim to capture in my paintings. Ultimately, our memory becomes as fuzzy as the old Polaroid’s I work from, and within that blur we can conceive our own storylines, loosening the restraints of our experience.  My interest lies in the intersection between the variations of memory, and in the re-articulation of images in an effort to harness the ethereal and familiar feeling of storytelling.


Want the unique opportunity of working in close proximity with our award winners? Interested in participating in the unique projects they are creating? 

Apply for your stay during the Winter Island 2022 stay of the artist of your choosing. Simply follow this link and fill out an application on our website, and indicate your desired dates of residency. 

Pursue your own work while participating in studio visits, socialization and interactive art projects. 

Keep an eye out for public events and our Winter Island group show from April 30 – May 28, 2022 by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter 


Now in its sixth, Winter Island is a unique, juried, artist-in-residence program aimed at emerging, established and, mid-career artists, working in community engaged practice and hosted at Artscape Gibraltar Point, an artist residency located on the picturesque Toronto Islands.   The aim of the Winter Islands program is to recognize artists annually who have demonstrated a strong and unique artistic voice and provide them with distraction-free studio time to create and/or develop a new and exciting community-engaged work, or body of work, that seeks to collaborate with and/or activate the artist community at Artscape Gibraltar Point and the Toronto Islands.  Selected artists will have the opportunity to present these works/projects to the public both during their residency and as a part of a Winter Island Group Exhibition to take place at the conclusion of the residency series at Artscape Gibraltar Point. 


Located on Mnisiing (Toronto Islands) in the former Toronto Island Public and Natural Science School, Artscape Gibraltar Point offers 35,000 square feet of affordable retreat space, artist studios and accommodations for artists and creative thinkers. The tranquil, idyllic setting is world-renowned as a centre for members of the artistic and non-profit communities to think, experiment, collaborate and share ideas.  More than 700 artists a year from across the globe experiment and create art through self-directed artist retreats and thematic residencies hosted in our overnight accommodations. In addition to hosting a maximum of 20 visiting artists at any given time, fifteen long-term artist work studios provide space for a range of painters, sculptors, musicians, filmmakers and a recording studio – all of whom contribute to the unique and collaborative atmosphere at Artscape Gibraltar Point.  


Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities. Artscape is the operator of Artscape Gibraltar Point. Our work involves clustering creative people together in real estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community and advance multiple public policy objectives, private development interests, community and neighbourhood aspirations and philanthropic missions. For more information visit the Artscape website.