Toronto Waterfront Artist in Residence 2021 Wrap Up!

Toronto Waterfront Artist in Residence 2021 Wrap Up!

The waterfront has loved hosting the first ever Waterfront Artists in Residence, the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) Canada, for the past 16 months. This residency was commissioned through a partnership between the Waterfront BIA via the City of Toronto BIA Innovation Fund and Waterfront Toronto in October 2020 and our artists worked hard throughout the challenges of completing this residency during the COVID-19 pandemic with grace and ingenuity.

Nico Taylor, co-lead of BSAM remembers, “We were nervous, but hopeful that the limitations we were experiencing while we were getting ready for our launch in November and December, would not be as severe. I think a lot of artists, including us, had to get really creative about how to strategically do public art during a pandemic.”

The incredible artists of BSAM Canada, Queen Kukoyi and Nico Taylor, brought us Earthseeds: Space of the Living, which focused on constructing community healing spaces and for people to consider the seeds they are planting in their own lives. Their artwork attracted the eyes of our waterfront community and brought us together in a safe and socially distanced way to enjoy art in our local waterfront neighbourhood.

Lets take a look back at some of the amazing art they created #AtTheWaterfront:


BSCAM Canada Kimetic Yoga Series Toronto Waterfront Artist in Residence

This series was filmed along the Toronto waterfront at the Westin Harbour Castle as a way to showcase locations in the city that offer a connection to healing energy. The goal was to relax and carve out spaces of respite and restore mental calm.

“Typically, an exercise class is something you want to do in person to be able to motivate your participants and set the tone for the room. We had to really think about the visuals, and the tone and styling that would activate those same feelings, even though we could not be there physically with participants. We ended up creating something that people can interact with and really be transfixed by, because the visuals are powerful and invite you in,” reflected Taylor. 

Missed the videos? You can still view the videos on BSAM Canada’s website!


Olamina BSAM Canada

Olamina was located at Aitken Place Park this summer and was a big hit with the community! It is greatly inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s Parable series, taking its namesake from the main character of Butler’s novels, Lauren Oya Olamina, and the folktales of the African water deity, Mami Wata.

“Olamina is the first installation we created since we became a cultural arts organization, and it is one that carries both loud and quiet lasting impact. The fact that she’s blue and sparkly makes it very hard to miss her, and if you see her on a sunny day, she’s quite breathtaking…” said Taylor.

Many community members, businesses and dogs enjoyed posing with this amazing piece of art! Check out #DogsWithOlamina on Instagram for doggy friends with Olamina.


Rahyne Short Film BSAM Canada

Rahyne is a short film done in a style of a motion comic that tells a story that explores the chaotic instability felt by all during the pandemic and looks to the water to provide guidance and calm.

The film was played on video trucks that travelled to different waterfront locations for the whole neighbourhood to enjoy!

You can view the video on the BSAM Canada website.


The Waterfront BIA and Waterfront Toronto are happy to announce that the Waterfront Artist in Residence program is coming back next year! 

We are so thrilled to be able to keep up this program for 2022 and showcase another artist on Toronto’s Waterfront! This artist residency will address climate change through thematics, and will focus on sustainability and the environment by exploring practices, processes, materials, and reuse as important mitigation solutions towards impacts on nature.

Stay tuned for an announcement naming the next Waterfront Artist in Residence for 2022!

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