The Queen and her Inner Battles
Curated by Jacquie Comrie Garrido and produced by Art Starts’ Project Manager Julian Carvajal, we will create a cohesive work of multidisciplinary performance art based on Jacquie’s visual works. Using elements of Afro-Caribbean dance, samba drums, one-of-a-kind headwear and original costumes, Jacquie’s Colour Theory works will be brought fully to life in support of Social Healing, Mental Health and Wellness.
Jacquie ComrieLead Artist
“Colour is the universal language of emotions and a tool powerful enough to repair not only spaces but minds. Colour is light and energy, an electric current to the human brain, proven to possess healing properties and the ability to change our thoughts, behaviour and the way we feel for the better.” Jacquie Comrie
Jacquie Comrie is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist whose vibrant body of work intersects contemporary art and wellness at a global scale, using colour as a medium of social impact and mental health.
Whether as murals on buildings, large scale structures, or canvases, her body of work is a dynamic exploration of the science of colour as the universal language of human emotion. Colour has been proven to have a direct effect on human emotion, for which her palettes are consciously designed and orchestrated aiming to cater to mental wellbeing at large.
In such divisive times, and with mental health issues on the rise across the globe, her work aims to contribute to much-needed spaces of mental elevation and reset, to ultimately help improve quality of life of all individuals- one wall at a time.
Diseiye ThompsonLead Costume Designer
Diseiye Thompson is a Toronto based fashion and costume designer who graduated from Toronto Film School with a luxury eveningwear collection that was successfully exhibited at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week and various other platforms, creating brand awareness and developing Diseiye as a brand. Diseiye has interned and worked for industry professionals like Susan Dicks & Co, Greta Constantine & Lea-Ann Belter where they have honed their design and tailoring skills.
Rick LazarLead Percussionist
Rick was voted Percussionist of the Year five times by Jazz Report
Magazine and has produced and released 4 CDs with his Global Jazz group Montuno Police: Bang, Touch, The Call, and Nomads.
Rick has toured/recorded with such artists as Bruce Cockburn, Barry White, and Paul Shaffer, and is a regular collaborator with Loreena McKennitt on her recordings and tours.
Rick is the creator and artistic director of Samba Squad and has written, produced and released 3 CDs with this group,“Samba Squad” (2001), “Batuque,” (2006) and Que Beleza (2012).
He is also an educator at York University (ESCOLA DE SAMBA and CUBAN MUSIC courses).
His organizing skills are well documented. He was the musical director for the Grand Bateria Express (the uniting of 5 different Brazilian-based drumming groups for a special event) as well as the MD for the performance of Brass and Drums for Panamania in Toronto (50 drummers and 16 horns).
Lazar has also developed workshop techniques, which are being successfully used in the Samba Kidz and Samba Teens programs.
Rick's knowledge of world drums and his passion for percussion makes him a unique musician, who is first call for a diverse array of artists.
Victoria MataLead Choreographer
Venezuelan-Canadian choreographer-dancer with a background in urban planning. Mata’s sensibility to inclusion and passion for border stories is due to her eclectic upbringing in three continents. Mata’s career was first sculpted by pedagogic, self-directed training, which proceeded with local and international with internationally renowned choreographers leading her to showcase her repertoire throughout out the Americas. An active member of Toronto's progressive arts community and the abolishment of violence against women, Mata's aspiration is to continue beeing a catalyst for artistic curiosity. Her Masters in Contemporary Choreography, propelled dialogue between performance and embodied cultural memory, which awarded her the recognition of 2016 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award finalist.
A graduate of George Brown College, Ayodele has over 20 years of experience in Toronto's fashion industry. Her personal line has been showcased at the ONEOFAKIND Show, SKYE SSUTU Boutique and Snapped. Ayodele is the lead designer and Stylist for artist Lisa Banton. Ayodele is the owner of Zipette Fashion, and an advocate for accessible community arts and ethical and sustainable clothing. She is the Lead Instructor for Scadding Court's Sewing Repair Hub, where she teaches basic sewing and alterations for marginalized women in the Alexandra Park community.
Julian CarvajalProject Manager
Julian is a colourful Colombo-Canadian Media Artist, Arts Manager, Producer and Arts & Culture Promoter. He has over 18 years of experience in managing and delivering large scale arts festivals, coordinating personnel, producing shows, marketing, budgeting, managing staff, and building community and media relations. He has co-produced and co-directed the experimental short film “Sunrise in Juarez” and the documentary film “My Parent's Closet”. In 2014 he produced his first solo documentary, "Uniterra Peru". Julian has a bachelor's degree in Social Communication. He also holds a degree in Event and Media Production. He was a co-producer for a Latino alternative media network. In 2016, he produced the first LGBTQ radio show for the Spanish Speaking Community at a Latinx Radio Station, Julian is an Art(ivist) and he currently works at Art Starts as Special Projects Manager also the Pan American Food and Music Festival as Event Producer and he is also working on an international visual arts project called Muralis 13-6 between Canada and the Government of Medellín, Colombia.
Amanda Paixão has dedicated her lifetime to dance as a performer, educator, and researcher. She has performed and taught in distinct marginalized communities as well as in post-secondary schools and festivals in Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Canada, USA, and the United Arab Emirates. She holds a BA in Dance from State University of Campinas in Brazil, and a MA in Dance from York University in Toronto where she taught and was a research associate at Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean. Amanda’s aim is to develop a creation strategy in performing arts that is committed to foster language exploration using memory as a way of stretching alternative and cross-cultural identity formations. In Canada since 2005, Amanda has collaborated with diverse range of performative projects, groups, and artists, in dance, theatre, music, and videos: the MT Space, Newton Moraes, Olga Barrios, Victoria Mata, Suzanne Roberts, Wind in the Leaves Collective, Maracatu MarAberto, Baque de Bamba, MaracaTALL Stilt Troup, Maya Annik, Bruno Capinan, The Human Rights band, Maria Bonita Band, and the Vulva Beats. She is also part of Conexão Samambaia, an International Trans-Aesthetic and Cultural Exchange Residence Program from the School of Music and Performing Arts of Federal University of Goiânia in Brazil.
Brittnee Habbib believes that there is always a bigger picture, that is takes a team to make anything work well. Prior to dance, Brittnee was a National Gymnast, Brittnee began training dance 4 years ago with Ballet Creole. She worked closely with Patrick Parsons and built her foundation. She was then taught by Arsenio Andrade and expanded her contemporary movement. Brittnee finally took the NU Dance program and also worked with COBA. Brittnee has been the lead dancer for The Next Edition in many productions, she has danced on stage with Ballet Creole and was recently in the Obeah Opera production in October of 2018 at the Sony Centre. Brittnee understands the importance of our next generation and is the Co-Founder of a Dance program called Girl Power’D.
Ravyn Wngz is an African, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, queer and transcendent individual. Ravyn aims to challenge mainstream arts and dance spaces by Sharing her stories while continuing to create opportunities and platforms for marginalized LGBTTIQQ2S people with a focus on African/black communities. Ravyn is a co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company- a queer multiracial dance company that aims to change the landscape of dance and provide accessible affirming dance education to the LGBTTIQQ2S community. Ravyn is the artistic director of OVA- Outrageous Victorious Africans Collective a Dance/Theatre collective that share the contemporary voices of African/Black and Queer/Self Identified storytellers. Ravyn is part of Black Live Matter Toronto Steering committee, A group who are committed to eradicating all forms of anti-Black racism, supporting Black healing and liberating Black communities.
Tereka is a passionate dancer/performing artist. She has worked with various companies & artists including Kashedance, Ronald Taylor Dance, Ballet Creole, Dance Migration, High Society Cabaret & Wind In the Leaves. She is most recently the recipient of a Dora Moore Award for Best Ensemble (Dance) with the cast of Holla Jazz Floor’d and dancer in Esie Mensah’s Dora nominated Shades
A veteran of Samba Squad, Chico Pacheco
has been here since the spring of 1999.
The official dance facilitator of Samba
Squad he knows how to get the party
started leading the crowd with fun easy to
follow dance moves. Chico owns a
grassroots marketing company and is also
an event promoter in the Toronto House
Music scene . He is fully equipped to get
any party jumping.
I am a Jack of many trades, singer and songwriter, gardener and landscaper. Currently working at Evergreen Brickworks. I have been a member of the Squad for almost 5 years. I am from the Bruce peninsula.
Linda Brown is one of the original members of Samba Squad, having been with the group for 20 years. She is also a Naturopathic Doctor, and enjoys making music that can heal the soul.
Lyba Spring has been playing with Samba
Squad since its inception 20 years ago.
She is not a musician by trade, but worked
as a sexual health educator for Toronto
Public Health for 30 years. She has two
adult children and two grandchildren - and
is an indefatigable dancer.
Paul Lindo’s a recent recruit to the Squad. A lifetime music lover, semi-retired interior/retail store designer, and has played kit drums in semi-professional bands since teenage years in his native Jamaica.
Normando Jones is dedicated to the healing benefits of sound. Educated at Humber College Creative and Performance Arts, and Sound Academy out of the UK and having certification as an instructor in Kundalini/Hatha give Normando the tools required to deliver powerful sound scapes for yoga classes, events and healing sessions. Born and raised in Toronto has exposed Normando a wide range of cultural musical genres. Samba Squad is on example of his musical diversity. He also has a background in Scottish, Irish, African, Latin, and music of North America.
His love of music and it's spiritual, mental, and healing power is what propels Normando to continue to bring music to the community at large through; Normando provides music for Yoga classes, workshops, and retreats Facilitation of drum circles in school, seniors homes, festivals, and corporate events Teaching percussion, drums, and musical concepts.
Normando says “Rhythm is the foundation of life, melody is the song of the spirit, and movement binds them together.”
Prior to his academic career as a professor of philosophy, Nikolas Kompridis trained as percussionist and composer at the University of Toronto and at Yale University. After a few decades away from music, he is delighted to have the opportunity to be playing again alongside Rick Lazar and the members of Samba Squad.
Sue Ashton just celebrated her 45th wedding
anniversary. She’s a great cook and cake maker and has been a caixa playing member of Samba Squad for over a decade.
Tracy is a Tam player with the Samba Squad for more than 10 years. She also works as a Continuous Improvement Manager in the Aerospace Industry.
I am an emerging artist in my third year of cultural studies at York University. I am interested in a lot of stuff and my art practice reflects this. I consider myself to be a writer at heart and tend to use painting, illustration and video to tell my stories. I am Metis on my mother's side and that identity is what I carry with me. This past year I became fascinated by ideas around space, performance and the stages of liminality or transformation. The Colour Wheel Project attracted me with ideas of colour as therapy and the opportunity to participate with public performance and activation of public space. I may take this seriously at times because I take art very seriously! I believe that art saves lives. I am currently facilitating evening socials for youth where I lead instructions on embroidery and altogether have a fun time sparking connections through conversation. Life can be so fun and I am ready to work hard and have fun together.
Jaclyn is a director, performing and visual artist, holistic healer, poet, and writer with a passion for emotional intellect and expression. She strongly believes in utilizing the innately therapeutic healing power provided by engaging in the arts and seeks to present the harmonious space between opposing and overlapping multidisciplinary ideologies. She holds a B.A. in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University. Jaclyn is grateful to be part of the collaborative opportunity that the colour wheel project presents for young artists.
The reason why this lady has to face is because I related this to society and how the 21st century have changed. Yes I’m only 18 but from my experience people or more consistently Obsessed with the newest Stylles looks and technology other than self-care and looking at the bigger picture. Look how she sitting. And how she’s alone. Her body language is key. Look deep into the picture. What do you see. I see a young black girl afraid to be free, be who she wants to be. What out a face she crying for help. But how would you know. How could you tell. With out a face. (Body language)
Jordana Heney is an artist and illustrator living and working in Toronto. Originally from Ottawa she moved to Toronto after graduating from Sheridan College's BA Illustration program. She is fascinated and inspired by the idea that as humans we are all collectively thinking and connected by our subconscious habits. We all dream, we are all afraid of something, and we have all been made to laugh at least once. It is these common moments and experiences that Jordana likes to focus on in her work. Dreamlike scenes or surreal moments are the ideas she prefers to bring to life. She enjoys a hint of the impossible in all her creations. She is currently working as a freelance graphic designer, concept artists, and educator.
Sophie Pei-Yi Lau
Sophie Pei-Yi Lau is an emerging visual artist from Toronto. Her acrylic and collage work explore the themes of nature, flow, cultural identity, and joy. She is inspired by seeing how people connect emotionally with art and how people connect to each other through art and aspires to find more ways to create that connection. She can often be found at the pottery studio, rock climbing gym, or taking in the air by the lake.
Vivian Li is a writer, musician, and inventor who enjoys exploring obscure and intriguing concepts. She also likes to play piano, sing, take nature walks, write poetry/ fiction, read, and learn about how machines work. She is currently studying at the University of Toronto, and has been awarded Gold and Silver Keys from Scholastic Awards for her poetry, and Silver Keys for her fiction. Her creative works have been published in journals or magazines such as The Window, ellipsis…literature & art, Young Voices Magazine, and the UC Review. Most recently, she has received a certificate of participation from the Humber School for Writer’s Summer Creative Writing Program, a Book Prize for Ted Chamberlin’s Poetry Prize, and Honorable Mentions from Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize 2019. She can be reached @eliktherain.
Ashley Beerdat is an emerging artist from Brampton, Ontario. She holds a B.A. from Western University in Criminology as well as Art History and Visual Arts. She primarily works with oil paint using an impasto style to create layers and dimension throughout her works. Ashley uses painting to create mythical narratives illustrating a magical place envisioned in her dreams or inspired by childhood stories. These narratives do not follow a specific sequence, rather they are integrated in a collective space in her search for meaning and understanding how these bits of information form relationships with one another. Ashley is excited to be apart of The Colour Wheel Project and build meaningful connections with fellow young artists.