Five years ago, I was invited to facilitate a residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point, and decided the theme would be about how bodies are culturally and aesthetically constructed, displayed and controlled ~ an area of great interest to me, and one that is central to my practice. I realized this theme while delving into the pages of feminist texts at the neighbouring clothing-optional beach at Hanlans Point. Here I began to peal away the layers of culture that hyper-sexualizes, shames, excludes and normalizes the body – a culture that dismisses the whole genuine person in favour of idealized body forms and behaviors. I entitled the residency “Luminous Bodies,” a metaphor for shedding light onto heterogeneous bodies.
Teresa Ascencao is Art Director of Arts Unfold, and an award-winning Multimedia Artist with an active national and international exhibition record. Her multimedia work toys with social constructs of body language, costume, socially inscribed objects and spaces, and inner corporeal experiences. She employs concept-related mediums and technologies that invite audiences to play with iconographies and scenarios involving gender, seduction, consumption, and class. For several years, Teresa delivered media art workshops at Ontario schools, and to economically and geographically disadvantaged youth in Toronto and northern communities. She is driven by her love for community, social and ecological issues, and working with creative minds in the fields of art and design. Ascencao graduated with distinction from the University of Toronto’s Honours Fine Art Studio program, and received her MFA from OCAD University specializing in media art. She lives and works in Toronto and produces various art residencies through Arts Unfold.