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Natia Lemay

Natia Lemay


I am fixated on meaning-making, how we understand or make sense of life events, relationships, and the self. Rooted in biography, sociology, colonial and diasporic histories, I am interested in problematizing the conditions that have attempted to erase the humanity of racialized, indigenous, and gendered people through the production of hypervisibility and consequently invisibility. Through the research of materials, family archives, and critical theory, my studio practice is deeply rooted in the necessity for interdisciplinary making to address the expansiveness of the ways I process the world and my position within it.

Whether I am aware or not, my social identity has been at the center of my consciousness. Early ideas of family, gender, beauty, race and class were propagated by a westernized amalgamation of art, history, photography, and popular culture. These images highlighted the "otherness" I felt, being too much because of not belonging. The interplay between conflicting modes of presence influenced how I saw myself and those around me and impacted how I rationalized and responded to my surrounding world. 

It is in these presentations and within the social constructs that I inherited and embody that led me to explore the contradictions and intersections offered by invisibility and hypervisibility. Through the depiction domestic spaces, use construction supplies and found household objects I highlight these structures integration into our society and our homes. Through carving stone, burning wood, editing, and collaging popular media and molding plexiglass I describe the impact these conditions have on the object or material. By using light as a media and black paint colours I attempt to state my positionality and complicate the viewer’s experience.
These combinations of objects, paintings, and installations demonstrate the throughlines between the past constructions and present conditions. They also seek for reconciliation of the marginalized individual's State of being and Identity.




Natia Lemay (b. 1985 in Toronto, Ontario) is an Afro-indigenous artist and curator of Black, Mi'kmaw, and French descent. Raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in government housing by her mother Louise Lemay, she spent time between her mother and her Father, Albert Carty. He was a black Mi'kmaw Soap Stone sculpture from New Brunswick, Canada.
Natia Lemay received her BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design (2021) in drawing/painting with a minor in social sciences and is currently pursuing her MFA from Yale School of Art in painting/printmaking. Natia's work is necessarily interdisciplinary to address the expansiveness of conditions under which IBPOC people live. Drawing on childhood experiences of poverty, addiction, injustice, racism, neglect, and trauma, she explores how these conditions were subsequently products of the conditions and constructions of colonialism, systemic erasure, socialized and systemic racism, social inequity, and capitalism.
She explores themes of identity, orientation, hypervisibility, invisibility, and consciousness through multiple mediums and installations to problematize the conditions that have attempted to erase the humanity of racialized, indigenous and gendered people.


  • 2021 - In progress Yale School of Art – Painting/Printmaking
  • 2017 - 2021 OCAD University - Major Drawing and Painting / Minor Social Sciences
  • 2020 - Master Class - Manuel Mathieu
  • 2020 - Master Class – Ebony Haynes
  • 2019 - Master Class - Mickalene Thomas
Solo Exhibitions
  • 2021 - Family in Relations, Artscape Bayside, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Group Exhibitions
  • 2021 - Grad Ex 106 – OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2021 - I Think in Black - Artscape Bayside, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2020 - Black Equals, 3D Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2020 - Art in the time of Coronavirus, Digital Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2020 - The Festival of the Body - Curator Julius Manapul, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2020 - Double Mirrors -Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2020 - Toronto FAC - Feminist Art Collective, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2019 - Healing the Voice Within - Curator Lacy Ford, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2019 - TINT Art Exhibition - Grand Canyon Theater, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2018 - Look Inside Open House - Curator Ilene Sova, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2018 - Healing the Voice Within - Curator Lacy Ford, Liberty Grand, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2018 - CPAMO (Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario), Ada Slaight Galley, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2017 - Magnify, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Mod Club, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Curatorial Experience
  • 2021 - The Language of Abstraction, 3D Exhibition
  • 2021 - Bodies in Fleeting Reality, 3D Exhibition
  • 2020 - Black Equals, 3D Exhibition
  • 2020 - Meta Figure: The Body in Paint, 3D Exhibition
  • 2020 - First Self, Digital Exhibition
  • 2020 - Double Mirrors, OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2019 - TINT Highlight Show, OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2019 - TINT Art Exhibition, with Common Collective, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Bursaries & Awards
  • 2021 - David W. Bain Award
  • 2020 - OCAD University Diversity and Equity Excellence Award
  • 2020 - Christopher Pratt & Mary West Pratt Bursary
  • 2019 - Toronto Artscape Foundation Bursary
Relevant Experience
  • 2021 - Workshop - Curating in Digital Spaces, OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2021 - Workshop – Transforming the Creative Commons “We Connect and (RE)Collect: A symposium on Remote Practice-based Learning
  • 2020 - Artist Panel - Traversing the Liminal Through Symbols and Place-making, Traversing the Liminal Through Symbols and Place-making. Toronto Feminist Art Collective
  • 2019 – Present - Founder - Common Collective, Toronto, Ontario

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