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CreateSpace Public Art Forum 2022

An artistic response to the 2022 CreateSpace Public Art Forum, a national forum virtually convening participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. Participants were presented with online talks themed around public art practices, studio tours by artist facilitators, a Keynote Event by artist Lori Blondeau, and opportunities to engage with fellow peers to inspire their final creations.

Project at a Glance

Location: Oakville, Ontario

Artist: Leah Kwak

Year: 2022

Program: Artist Capacity Building


CreateSpace participants


artist facilitators


keynote speaker

Artist Statement

Stories of the past are what gives us connection to our families and our ancestors. They are what provides us with the foundation to let us move forward and inspire us. This piece illustrates how taking the time to look back at our past to listen and understand where our experiences come from, is equally important as moving forward. Stepping on the stones that were shaped by the stories of the animals that came before them, the children sharing the space in joy creates an interaction of past relationships. The stories in the past form not just where the children are, but where they can be. Through this forum, I have learnt how crucial it is to listen to the stories and histories of the land and its people. I hope this piece becomes a beginning to the practice of creating a public space of understanding.

About the Artist

Leah Kwak

Leah Kwak

Leah is an illustrator from the GTA who is constantly inspired by the liveliness and diverse nature of the city. Such inspirations can be seen in the variety of emotions within the people they illustrate and the business of their larger works. Playing with bold mark-making of lines and shapes, Leah focuses on using digital media to express their emotions and celebrate the experiences of the community. Recognized by American Illustration, Applied Arts, and World Illustration Awards, Leah has worked with clients such as Narratively, the University of Toronto, and the City of Mississauga. They strive to create an immersive experience to share with the audience by creating work that one can enjoy exploring. Abiding by her motto of always having fun, when Leah is off from work, you can find her having wild food adventures with her friends.


CreateSpace Public Art Forum

STEPS Public Art believes public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space. In support of this important work, we facilitate artist capacity building programs that foster inclusive public art practices, build the capacity of underrepresented artists, and demonstrate how public art can help reimagine equitably designed cities.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum is a digital forum that virtually convenes participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. This forum fosters connections, builds understanding across geographies and cultures, as well as provide emerging equity-seeking artists with the skills, relationships and support needed to develop public art practices. Visit the online gallery to view all artistic responses by the 2022 forum participants.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum is supported by Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts and CIBC.

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