Visual Art: Artists


Aspects of African Canadian Visual Art
Visual Art | Gallery | Artists | Up-and-Coming


Artists, their works and short biographies are listed below. Click on each thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture. Please note that the images associated with this site must not be copied or reproduced at any time, in any form nor by any means whatsoever, in whole or in part, without consent of the artists, given explicitly in writing.

Jane Musoke-Nteyafas

Jane Musoke-Nteyafas was born in Russia. She has lived in Russia, France, Denmark, Cuba, Uganda and Canada and traveled extensively throughout the world. Her father is a retired diplomat. She speaks English, French, Spanish, Danish and Luganda. Jane, mostly known for her poetry and writing is also a visual artist, specializing in pencil and charcoal drawings as well as East African batik. Her current portrait collection includes as well as illustrates the diversity of feminine African beauty, although she branches out to celebrate the multi-cultural diversity of Toronto women. It's a dedication to her mother who passed away when she was twelve years old. As an emerging artist she introduces a global style with ingredients of spectacular detail, capturing the imagination of the masses. Her distinctive talent is one to look out for! She currently lives in Toronto, Canada and is about to publish her first poetry book, "Daughters of the Earth." She has just been published in an anthology called "T-Dot Griots-An anthology of Toronto's Black storytellers."( She was Miss Africanada 2000-2001, the second female of Ugandan origin to win that award.


Dorsey JamesDorsey James

Sculpture is the practice of taking raw materials and giving them shape; carving, shaving, moulding until the material yields the form and spirit the artist had seen encased there. To manipulate material and give it form is one thing; to shape and advance humanity and understanding with that skill is another thing altogether, the measure, some would say, of a true artist. In the case of Dorsey James, teacher and sculptor, that measure seems somehow insufficient. James is not simply an accomplished wood sculptor. His understanding and fascination with the human condition is revealed in his artworks, his teaching and his character. He has an understanding of how emotions cross all borders of race and ethnicity, how the human experience comes from both suffering and peace, and how life is to be celebrated and treasured however and wherever it is lived. In examining his varied influences and unique experiences, a greater understanding of the basis and foundation for his work as both an artist and a teacher emerges, marking James not only as a skilled technician but also as a thoughtful observer of life and humanity.


Neville Clarke

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959, Neville Clarke studied in Italy, and graduated with honours from the Ontario College of Art. His paintings reflect the current social and economic situation; for him the figure is the medium through which he expresses sympathy, hope, and human dignity. Through his paintings, he hopes to re-educate Canadian society, and to influence and encourage Black creativity. He feels that African Canadian women have displayed more strength than men in the trials of the community over the centuries. "A Moment of Reflection" was awarded the A. J. Casson Medal award in 1995. "Janice" is part of a series portraying his wife's changing emotions during a recent job search.


Charmaine LurchCharmaine Lurch

Charmaine Lurch has made very visible and important contributions in the field of visual arts. Her background includes studies at Sheridan College and the Ontario College of Art, the School of Visual Arts in New York City and the Institute of Canadian Radio/Television Advertising. She has worked for many large corporations, publishers and advertisers. Her work can be found on posters, books, television and magazines and has been collected throughout Canada. Lurch has played an integral part in the Ontario Studies in Education (OSIE) program to inform and encourage students interested in areas like the visual arts.

Curious by nature, Lurch incorporates in her work the movement and energy from her dance background. So, too, years spent travelling in Europe and Asia have shaped the flavour and tone of her pieces. Lurch's life is a blending of her Afro-Caribbean heritage and western experience. Bold in form and gracious in detail, Lurch's art captures the essence of these seemingly diverse influences.

Charmaine's work investigates, through a melding of sculptural and pictorial elements, themes of family, culture and the figure. An integration of mixed media and found objects, such as a window frame and an old iron chair, maximizes on the potential of metal wiring as a powerful means of expression. The simple line of a wire is shaped to render movement, expression and emotion. The line, whether represented by wire or paint, is a strong element in Charmaine's work. It is the medium, embodying seduction and strength. Charmaine's canvases are a narrative on cultural histories; Her work with wire, canvas and paint brings to life elements that express her public contemplation of life.

Charmaine Lurch holds a degree from Sheridan College and studied at The Ontario College of Art & Design, and School of Visual Arts, NYC. Her travels to Africa, Europe and Asia have greatly inspired her work, and her paintings have been exhibited and collected by private collectors around the world. Charmaine has a passion for children's literature and a talent for bringing it to life on paper. She has illustrated and designed many children's books including textbooks and early readers. Her projects are inclusive of diverse populations and serve as enrichment and support for teachers. She is a multidisciplinary artist who incorporates painting, printmaking and 3-D wire works into her projects. Highly motivated, Charmaine encourages students not only to create visually, but invites discourse into identity and self through presentation and writing.


Shawn Skeir

Shawn Skeir, a native of Nova Scotia, moved to Toronto from Halifax in 1987 to pursue his career as an artist. Skeir attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for three years, studying visual design, print making and photography. Skeir incorporates styles from both mediums, often combining brilliant colours, painting and collage. In 1994-95, Skeir had several well received exhibitions, both in Toronto and New York.


Lloyd Pollard

Guyanese-born Lloyd Pollard has been producing work in Toronto since 1990. His medium of choice is black and white mixed-media drawings which have an illustrated abstract edge that is complemented by strong design elements. His work is influenced by ten years of research into African (Yoruba and Kongo) and Caribbean cultures. Cultural reclamation and personal spiritual awakening are central to his visual philosophy. His works are available in limited hand prints, each produced by the artist from the original.

"Legacies are never given, they must be claimed. If ever they should be lost or stolen, they must be reclaimed." he writes.


Arlene Case

Born in England to West Indian parents, Arlene Case spent most of her childhood in Trinidad. Her rich Caribbean heritage is evident in her works,which express pride in and affection for the traditions and values of her people.

The paintings of Arlene Case take several forms yet a familiar thread runs through them. Whether she recreates scenes of a simpler past or of a more complex contemporary existence, whether she uses bold or fine lines, strong or subdued colors, textured or smooth canvases, she expresses the human need for compassion, belonging and stability. She aims to put her subjects in the finest light, and transmits a sensitivity and warmth that allows the viewer to identify, regardless of background, culture or status.

Her artistry graces the walls of galleries throughout the United States, Canada, England and the Caribbean. Her work is also displayed on popular American programs, such as "E.R", "Fresh Prince of Belair", "Living Single" and "Sweet Justice."

Awards: Silver medal winner for "Whispers" at the 12th annual international competition held in Quebec by the Circle of Painters and Sculpters.


Grace Channer

"My work is located in issues of race, gender, class and sexuality. I believe that the political and sexual being of an artist is inseparable from the creative process. In this my work becomes a challenge to the complacency of Canadian power structures. The production of visual images is powerful and can be used both destructively and constructively. I come from the premise that art belongs to the people and that the artist has the responsibility to be accountable to the people from whose communities they come." - Grace Channer

Isaac Wanzama

"My paintings are about human lives, about your life and mine. My paintings are about truths and are about true feelings."

Isaac Wanzama was born in Uganda, East Africa, November 12, 1972. During his early years civil war erupted in his country, and the last thirteen years of his life have been spent living in Canada. Here, he realized that he could use the brush to speak for him, yet shared his work with only a select few. At seventeen, he entered his first art class and began, with the encouragement of his teacher, to develop his talent and style. That year, he created a center piece for an Easter school ceremony and he featured a picture of Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms . Since then, his work has been featured in many exhibitions.


Jacqueline Ward

"Barriers of language are transcended by visual interpretation of sentiment in spite of divisions within the human race. Our collective spiritual struggles are mirrored by the artist, in her quest to portray common themes of our existence."

Jacqueline Ward is a Toronto artist who was born in Birmingham, England and moved to Canada in 1981. Her art education includes studies at Bournville School of Art, England, Sheridan College, Ontario, Ontario College of Art, Toronto, and York University, Toronto.

Her work is executed in a variety of media, incorporating non- traditional materials in a dynamic exploration of textures.

Utilizing bold, vibrant hues and flowing organic forms, the artists work has evolved to bring and interpretive quality to the universal themes of humanity.

Her piece, entitled "Five Heads", not featured here, is the title piece for The Power of Expression Art Auction.


Macaulay Eteli

First Prize Winner: Shaw Festival of the Arts, 1995.

Born in Etakeme, River's State, Nigeria, in 1956, as an artist, Eteli is self-taught. In Canada, he studied both Civil Engineering and Education. He writes that his love of art was shaped by childhood games. "Art is something that is within me. It was fun. Creative fun. Something to keep me out of mischief." His style flows effortlessly from traditional images to scenes, to abstracts. His geometric shapes are inspired by African traditions. "I show aspects of the cultural life of African peoples. In Africa , everything we do, we put into art."