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Alumni Career Pathway Series: Building Your Community

This panel series is comprised of alumni from various disciplines to talk about their career pathways and professional development from emerging to established artists and designers. The purpose of these panels is to illuminate and demystify the career paths of creatives while offering insight and advice.

This week’s panel is Building Your Community featuring:

Zandi Dandizette (BMA 2014) is an interdisciplinary New Media installation artist and cultural worker living and practicing in Vancouver, BC who originates from Portland, OR.

Demonstrating unwavering support for nonprofit arts in British Columbia, Zandi is the Founder and Director of the James Black Gallery (2014-2020), a founding member of Vancouver Artists’ Labour Union Co-operative (VALUCO-OP 2019), Arts and Cultural Workers Union (ACWU 2020), previous CARFAC BC & National Employee, previous Board Director for VIVO Media Arts Centre (2018 – 2020), and current President of Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC 2020).

Their curatorial projects have included shows with more than thirty artists from nine different countries, ranging from emerging, local to international. Zandi likens their medium as space whether 2D or 3D. They use colour, queerness,gender, shape, and line to explore discourse around identity, through immersive interactions via the binary, liminality, and fractal existence. They view it as a base code, and every medium that they learn is a tool to explore this identity-centric world building.

Jonny Sopotiuk (BFA 2018) is a visual artist, curator and community organizer living and working on the Unceded Indigenous territories belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̍əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His interdisciplinary studio practice explores compulsion and control through the lenses of production, labour, and work. Jonny is the President of the Arts and Cultural Workers Union (ACWU), IATSE Local B778 and a founding member of both the Vancouver Artists Labour Union Cooperative (VALU CO-OP) and Vancouver Sewing Labour Union Cooperative (VSLU CO-OP). He currently works as a labour union organizer with IATSE.

Annie Canto (MFA 2020) is an artist and educator whose practice spans socially engaged art, illustration, critical race theory, and engaged pedagogy. Working with text, comics and food she explores group work and hosting practices as strategies for community organizing and celebration. She is active in her community as a member of the Vancouver Artist Labour Union Co-operative, a unionized workers co-op with a mission to transform labour practices within the arts and cultural sector. She is currently teaching studio art classes at Emily Carr University of Art and Design as a sessional faculty and Mount Pleasant Elementary as an artist in residence through the AIRS program. Though uninvited as a first generation Pilipina immigrant, her life and work takes place on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̍əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Karen and Peggy Ngan (BFA 2005) are Vancouver based artists. They graduated from Emily Carr University with a major in Visual Arts. The pair have been collaborating since 2002, primarily in performance, drawing, installation and conceptual-based practices. In their work the pair explores the identity of twins. They are also the co-founders of Yactac, an art collective and exhibition space in Vancouver that serves as the jump base for innovative ideas and approaches to penetrate contemporary culture through spontaneous interventions of every size. Since 2007, along with the other pair of twin sister Janice and Justine Cheung, Yactac has curated contemporary art exhibitions, hosted interactive live events, projects, dance parties, craft fairs, and participated in performances, residency, and special projects.

Alia Hijaab (BMA 2018) is a visual artist, story-teller and animator based on the traditional and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish andTsleil-Waututh Nations, also known as Vacouver, BC. She is of mixed Syrian heritage and has spent most of her life living in the Middle East. Alia moved to Canada to pursue her art education and obtained her BMA in Animation from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2018. Her work deals with the questions about belonging, identity, and themes of “homeland.”

She works largely with her animation collective Flavourcel to create space for independent animators in Vancouver to share resources, work collaboratively, and foster community. Mostly recently, Flavourcel working in partnership with VIVO Media Arts and with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, used rear-projection to display the work of local animators in residential windows. Alia is also working with Flavourcel on an installation at the Surrey Art Gallery Urban Screen called “I Spy a City.”

Alia also worked on an animation for the World Health Organization called “Maintain Distance, Maintain Community” addressing themes of safe social distancing during the COVID 19 pandemic, and her graduate film “Al Ghorba” just finished the festival circuit showing in over 15 film festivals worldwide and winning one award.

Building Your Community focuses on artist collectives and artist run centres.

Panels will run from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Breakout rooms from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 899 8953 6037
Passcode: 074687

Upcoming panels in this series:

January 20: Curating Your Digital Presence
February 3: Animation Panel
February 10: Film Panel
February 17: Illustration Panel

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