January 12 – 23, 2022

Emerging Artists by Emerging Curator

BEING+ is an exhibition of six emerging artists curated by Abisola Oni with the mentorship of Flavio Belli. The exhibition presents artworks relating to the curatorial theme of situating the self within society by artists selected from the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair Emerging Artists roster. 

Zoom Online Opening: Saturday, January 15th at 3 PM – FREE EVENTBRITE TICKETS

Artist Talks: Tuesday, February 1st at 7 PM

About Abisola Oni

Photo of Abisola Oni emerging curator

BEING+ is curated by the inaugural Flavio Belli Curator Award winner, Abisola Oni. Abisola is an emerging curator and multidisciplinary artist based in the Greater Toronto Area. Through her visual discourse, she investigates visual and cultural criticism from a philosophical perspective. She is interested in current modes of criticism and curatorial practice and plans to pursue a post-graduate degree to explore this field. 

Abisola is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Waterloo with a major in Visual Culture and a minor in Studio Practice, with an emphasis on performance art. 


BEING+ consists of abstract, figurative, installation, and collage artworks by Michelle Cieloszczyk, Biba Esaad, Noah Lima, Miles Ingrassia, Roxana Parsa, and Michelle Rodrigues. The artists examine the experience of being in relation to social and cultural phenomena by expressing diverse subjectivities through formal elements and subject matter.

Collectively, BEING+ considers nuances in the socio-cultural fabrication of gender, power relations, the racialized body, and the role of place and kinship in the conceptualization of identity. As a result, BEING+ forms an exploration of selfhood that lends itself to the understanding of a collective memory.

Exhibiting Artists:

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  • Michelle Cieloszczyk engages the domineering presence of police power with the audience as subject with a separate, but related, power to look and interrogate. 
  • Biba Esaad approaches the construct of racialized existence with artworks that transcend the limits and imposed physical barriers erected by the society in which one lives. 
  • Miles Ingrassia presents the masculine figure in a method which underlines the emotional and temporal bonds that fortify the masculine individual’s sense of self. 
  • Noah Lima asserts the right to define oneself by creating bold figurative paintings that examine the interplay between the imposed, rigid structures of gender and the embodied lived experience of gender identity. 
  • Roxana Parsa creates dream-like group compositions that fortify notions of memory and kinship as well as single figure portraits evoking solemn reflection and relationality with the surrounding environment. 
  • Michelle Rodrigues builds striking collages that interrogate the socio-cultural construction of womanhood through the accumulation and meaningful destruction of imagery. 

As we exist in what seems to be endless isolation due a global pandemic, BEING+ is timelier than ever. In solitude, we are granted the opportunity to look inward. BEING+ offers a critical outward gaze; it situates the self within society to examine relations with one another and society at large. Ultimately, this exhibition aims to generate dialogue between diverse members of the community about the interplay between individual and group existence.

— Abisola Oni

Michelle Cieloszczyk

Michelle Cieoszcyk

Cieloszczyk’s practice encompasses object-based works, installations, public interventions, and public art. She fabricates through mould-making, laser cutting, CNC milling, and 3D printing and works in plaster, resin, silicone, and aluminum. Her recent body of work examines the politics of policing, considering the roles and structures of authority through walled installations and castings of uniforms.

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Biba Esaad

Biba Esaad

Esaad’s practice is rooted in an exploration of an imagined queer future whereby embodied oppressions can be transcended through the cyborg. The cyborg aims to surpass the limitations of an alienating present, coding itself as a kind of disassembled; reassembled postmodern being. By acknowledging the body as the site at which racialized people navigate trauma and otherness, the figure of the cyborg comes to represent a site of possible being and thus, a utopian place of imagined existence.

These works are not for sale.

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Miles Ingrassia

Ingrassia’s depictions of the male figure are influenced by his experience growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as personal reflections on masculinity. Ingrassia paints from photographic references, both staged and from personal archives. The act of painting allows Ingrassia to disrupt these images, creating moments of tension and dissolution. His paintings reveal what traditional masculinity tends to hide – fragility, isolation, embarrassment, among other emotions and behaviours, as well as the inability to cope with these tendencies.

Miles Ingrassia

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Noah Lima

Lima’s paintings emphasize the physicality of gender expression as it is interpreted by others while investigating notions of gender identity as distinct to the individual. His work is characterized by bright colours, bugs, and floral arrangements that represent masculinity, femininity, and the fluid interplay between these expressions.

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Roxana Parsa

Parsa creates dream-like group compositions that fortify notions of memory and family ties, as well as single figure portraits that evoke solemn reflection and relationality with the surrounding environment. Her paintings are rooted in her identity as the daughter of Iranian immigrants, and are inspired by family photographs, home videos, and films.

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Michelle Rodrigues

Influenced by printmaking sensibilities, as well as art therapy approaches, Rodrigues’ collages are created through a process of construction, destruction, and chance. Her collages are personal, introspective glimpses into themes such as nostalgia, belonging, love, and the societal and cultural notions of what it means to be a woman. Rodrigues’ work visualizes a synthesis between the roles assigned to us as women and how we respond to these forces as empowered beings.

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The Flavio Belli Curator Award

photo of Flavio Belli

The Flavio Belli Curator Award is a mentorship program that gives a student an opportunity to advance their professional development, learn about important issues in the field, share ideas, and develop a working association with a senior gallery curator and other arts professionals. This award is generously sponsored by the Lindy Green Family Charitable Foundation in celebration of TOAF’s 60th Anniversary and is thrilled to recognize Flavio Belli, as this year’s mentor.

The Flavio Belli Curator Award merges beautifully with TOAF’s popular award: Emerging Artists by Emerging Curator, a professional exhibition opportunity supported by Propeller Art Gallery.

Thank you!

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Propeller Exhibition made possible thanks to financial donations by:

  • Megan Deeks (The Deeks Financial Group CIBC Wood Gundy)
  • Propeller Member, Frances Patella.

Special thanks to our community partners and sponsors. 

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