Family Matters: Incorporating the Personal Into Your Art Practice

Family Matters: Incorporating the Personal Into Your Art Practice

Tuesday, March 7, 2017,
6:00PM to 9:00PM
40.00 CAD
30.00 CAD

In this workshop, Erika will guide participants through her own work and that of other contemporary artists to discuss the layers and intricacies of bringing the personal into one's art practice. How can one explore self and still make it accessible to an audience? What are the ethical and emotional boundaries that can be met when working with people we are close to? Many of these questions and more will be brought forward in this workshop. Participants will also have the chance to share their own work as well.

Over the past 13 years DeFreitas has created work with her mother as both subject matter and collaborator in an attempt to locate herself within the matriarchal side of her family; in essence, developing a “matrilineal consciousness”. The body of work created with her mother encourages dialogue around concepts of loss, displacement of memory and history, and the relationship between artistic production and labour through the lenses of race, culture, and gender. She is interested in understanding how familial and autobiographical narratives can be addressed by artists, while ensuring that the output of their work is universally accessible, without compromising the integrity of their personal experiences and histories.  

Participants are encouraged to bring 5-7 small photographs (no larger than 11"x17") from a complete or in-progress series to the workshop. Artists will participate in a sharing circle intended to stimulate constructive criticism and creative feedback from Erika and other participants.

*Registration is limited to 10 participants max in order to permit informal and intimate conversation and critique.


Erika DeFreitas is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary conceptual artist.  She explores the influence of language, loss and culture on the formation of identity with textile-based works, and performative actions that are photographed; placing an emphasis on process, gesture and documentation.

DeFreitas is a recipient of the 2016 John Hartman Award and a 2016 Finalist Artist Prize from the Toronto Friends of Visual Arts. She is a graduate of the Masters of Visual Studies Program at the University of Toronto. Exhibition sites have included Project Row Houses in Houston, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Art Souterrain festival in Montreal, The Art Gallery of Windsor, Platform Centre for Photographic & Digital Arts, Centre [3] for Print and Media Arts, Gallery 44, The Art Gallery of Mississauga, the Pollock Gallery at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Her work can be seen at: