Virtual Artist Talk: Disruption

Heidi McKenzie, Illuminated, Porcelain, wood, metal, LED fixtures, 2020-2021

Virtual Artist Talk: Disruption

Join us for an online artist roundtable discussion with artists Natalia Arbelaez, Magdolene Dykstra, Habiba El-Sayed, Heidi McKenzie and curator Vicky Moufawad-Paul.

A Space Main Gallery
March 11 – April 22, 2023
Virtual Artist Talk: Saturday April 22 at 5pm.
Join Zoom Meeting

Disruption investigates how four women use their practices to disrupt a predominantly white, male, Eurocentric art narrative. This exhibition is part of the larger project to deconstruct society’s racist and sexist structural underpinnings with the aim of building a new foundation of multiplicity. Natalia Arbelaez, Magdolene Dykstra, Habiba El-Sayed, and Heidi McKenzie work to fashion a more egalitarian canon through artistic practices that delve into diverse histories. Arbelaez and McKenzie draw our attention to narratives that have long been overlooked. El Sayed and Dykstra use abstraction to subvert the spectator’s gaze, while simultaneously insisting upon their visibility.


Natalia Arbelaez is a Colombian American artist, born and raised in Miami, Florida to immigrant parents. She received her B.F.A. from Florida International University and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, with an Enrichment Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in museums, galleries, and included in various collections, such as the Everson Museum, MAD Museum, Fuller Museum and The ICA Miami. She has been recognized by NCECA as a 2018 Emerging Artist and was a 2018-19 resident artist at the Ceramics Program at, Harvard University where she researched pre-Columbian art and histories. Natalia was an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City where she researched the work of historical and influential women ceramicists of color and continued this research as a 2021 Visiting Artist at AMOCA in Pomona, CA. She lives and works in The Mid-Hudson Valley region in NY.

Magdolene Dykstra is an artist and educator. Working in sculpture, installation, and markmaking, Dykstra’s practice focuses on exploring the tension between growth and decay, order and chaos, individuality and the multiplicity of our species, visibility and anonymity. Her methodology centres around repetitive actions that lead to an accumulation of small components within intricate, shifting ecosystems using materials that embody a relationship with the Earth, its forms, and processes. After studying biology and visual arts in undergraduate degrees, she received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Magdolene has been awarded several grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Notable exhibitions include site-specific installations at the Gardiner Museum (Toronto, ON) and the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery (Waterloo, ON), as well as solo exhibitions at the Jane Hartsook Gallery (New York, NY) and A-B Projects (Los Angeles, CA).

Inspired by Islamic architecture and human vulnerability, Toronto-based artist Habiba El-Sayed combines clay with a variety of materials, performative and temporal techniques to illustrate her concepts. Habiba holds an Advanced Diploma from Sheridan College in Ceramics (2014) and a BFA in Ceramics from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2016). El-Sayed’s work has been shown in galleries and museums across North America and has been featured in publications such as Craft is Political, BlackFlash Magazine, Fusion Magazine and Studio Potter. Keen to share her knowledge, her practice also includes regular guest lecturing and workshops at museums and universities. Through the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council, El-Sayed is currently studying XR Development in order to further her exploration of digital integrations and material culture.

Heidi McKenzie is a Toronto-based ceramic installation artist. Heidi completed her MFA at OCADU in 2014. Heidi has exhibited nationally and internationally, in Europe, Scandinavia and the US, including the Toronto International Art Fair. The recipient of numerous grants, Heidi has created in Denmark, Hungary, Australia, China and Indonesia. Heidi uses photography, digital media, and archive to forefront themes of ancestry, race, migration and colonization. Heidi curated and exhibited ‘Decolonizing Clay’ at the Australian Ceramics Triennale in 2019, and participated in the World Indian Diaspora Congress in Trinidad, 2020. Heidi was recently inducted into the International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva, Switzerland (fall 2022). Her solo exhibition, Reclaimed: Indo-Caribbean HerStories this summer at Canada’s premiere ceramics gallery, the Gardiner Museum, highlights the under-represented stories of Indo-Caribbean women through portraiture and mixed-media.

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Media Contact
Vicky Moufawad-Paul
A Space Gallery
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 110
Toronto, ON, M5V 3A8