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Virtual Exhibition with Visual Arts Students from Canterbury High School




Listen to this playlist during the show

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Esther Wan
Our Daily Conversations
March 2021
Water based markers, acrylic paint, gesso, semi-permanent fixative, yarn, paper cup

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This sculpture reflects on the various phone calls and topics of discussion that my best friend and I have had throughout this season of Covid-19. The blue cup (which represents my personal life) is connected by a piece of yarn that stretches out to 2 meters (which is also the government required social distance in public) to the red cup (which represents my best friend’s personal life). Through my art, all this shows that even if the pandemic keeps our loved ones away from us, if both parties work hard to maintain the relationship, close social proximity can still be achieved.


When COVID first started, I was thrilled to have so much time to create art, it was amazing. However, starting from the summer of 2020, I went through multiple artists' blocks. Although I had more time to work on my art, it was difficult to find inspiration when I wasn't allowed to travel anywhere. School became more difficult. It took me some time to adjust to the new virtual/ in-person format, its schedule, and the workload. Of course, I'm grateful for the teachers for trying their best and being able to still somewhat see my friends, it's still not ideal nonetheless. During the quarantine, I had learnt to let go of those who have hurt me and to show my love to those who care about me. I have been discovering more about myself, and loving myself for who I truly am. 

Gallerist's Note:

"When looking back on history, it is extremely evident that the grand movements of arts and culture would be birthed after periods of conflict and disparity. These were movements that defined times and touched peoples' battered hearts, giving the world a sense of comradery and hope. I see in these young artists, the same reflective response to the opposition they have faced during the pandemic. Bold resistance and artistic rebirth. "
-Morgan Hamilton-Kirk

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Sal Connolly
Full Moon
Dec 2020
Mixed media (3D)
29 x 24 x 28 cm

It takes nothing but a full moon to reveal the monster within. My 3D piece is made from water-based clay, acrylic paints, fake fur, and resin eyes. I created a werewolf to represent how COVID-19 is affecting today's youth. I express myself through my art, and my favorite things to make are monsters. The most captivating thing about them is the way they imitate life: each one is a manifestation of a particular fear. A classic example is Godzilla: a monster that represents the power and ultimate destruction of the atomic bomb. I chose a classic monster, the werewolf, as a manifestation of Covid-19's effect on youth. Originally, the werewolf is a symbol of the monster within. Loss of control. All it takes is a full moon and your primal instincts take over. COVID-19 is the full moon. When it struck, our whole society lost control. There were fights, people were hoarding supplies, the school system was messed up, and mental health became a huge issue. We are still in a time where we wonder if it will end… or continue to occur like the phases of the moon. Students and youth are the ones growing up in this situation. Isolation and fear along with the stressful changes in the school system make for a bad situation. Mental health is being ignored. When your mind starts to become a monster and nobody else is human enough to help, you're left with no choice. Give in to the full moon: go wild.

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Gallerist's Note:

This curated playlist was created by The Niche Ottawa Gallery featuring music that was meaningful to our artists during the Pandemic. We encourage you to listen to this whole playlist even after this exhibition. 

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Miranda Em
Clementine and Joel
pencil on paper
February 2021

Drawing of a frame from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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This is a mask check in:
Please make sure your mask is secure and pulled over your nose!


Covid 19 has been, without a doubt, an emotional rollercoaster. Our school schedule has been changed and contact with friends and family have been at an all-time low. It’s been a stressful time as a student, especially as a freshman. My first experiences in high school have been the eternal headache that is online schooling. Part of me feels disconnected from the world, while there are definitely parts of the lockdown that I dislike, I do prefer being alone. I feel as though I’m the only one who feels like this because the media is filled with horror stories and other teenagers’ tragedies. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve learned more about myself than I ever thought I would, I discovered new interests and my identity through my time alone. My grades have gone up, I came out to my family, and I lost a lot of friends. As an artist, it opened up a lot of time to practice. Being alone for so long gave me more inspiration than I thought it could. My pieces that I submitted to the gallery reflect my feeling of strangeness, how different and confused I feel. They intend to convey the feeling of intimacy, at the same time being impersonal. None of the pieces show faces or many unique features on the subject. With everyone sequestered behind screens now, my paintings intend to convey the feeling of not having a solid identity. With so many people unable to meet me face-to-face, I feel that they will never really get to know me. 

-Azriel Joyce


Azriel Joyce
We Contain Multitudes
Acrylic on paper
April 2021
21 x 35 cm

My art focuses on people in interesting environments or using intriguing imagery to complement the subject of the piece. I work mainly in acrylics, watercolours, ink, and water-based markers. I prefer working with abstract ideas and building semi-realistic imagery from multiple different sources. I am a student of Canterbury High School in the visual arts program, and I created this piece using the ideas of exploration, loneliness, and escapism.

The coronavirus, while terrible in so many ways, has opened my eyes to a lot of things I never knew about myself, and it helped me find a way to express myself in the way I always wanted to. "

-Azriel Joyce


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"Overall, the pandemic has been pretty rough for everyone and everyone has had different experiences with it. For me, the past year or so has overall been pretty draining mentally and exhausting. It's been hard to find the motivation to do schoolwork or anything really and most of the time everything feels boring, lonely, and numb. It feels like we're missing out on infinite possible experiences, new friends, and opportunities and even though it kinda sucks, I know it's for the best to limit doing anything social right now. However, the stay-at-home order has also permitted me to create more often, has given me more time to develop and create as an artist, and has allowed me to find more ways to express myself!"

-Anna Zhuravel

Rowan Vezeau
Tattered flags
April 2021
Watercolor, ink
13.5 by 18

Tattered flags is inspired by history, because this past year will become a part of it. Most heroes remembered in history made an amazing discovery, preformed a miracle or fought in a war. We can't fight a virus with swords or fists, and most of us aren't preforming miracles, but we all have our own personal battles that we're fighting during quarantine. I think in the end, our masks will be like a victory flag. Physically they'll get disposed of, but mentally the image of a mask will be like our own symbol that we persevered through this, and that eventually, we won.

Anna Zhuravel

Do I have to Repeat Myself

April 2021

Original in marker, scanned and printed

6cm x 6cm x 10cm

This piece was one I made for Printmaking class, the assignment being to create a repeat pattern with object of high interest, so I decided to not go with one cohesive theme and draw a collection of things that interest, intrigue, and fascinate me. This project fits the theme “masked” because it represents the mask-wearing mandate at school as well as unmasking my inner interests and passions, which have been blurred and forgotten due to the chaos of the pandemic.

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Anna Zhuravel

Brightness Engulfed in Dark

April 2021

Clay and acrylic paint

6cm x 6cm x 10cm

This piece represents masking your suffering and being taken over by darkness while simultaneously presenting yourself to be a happy, bright character. I presented this by creating a bust of a brightly coloured individual, tears creeping through the mask, and them being engulfed in dark, black tentacles.

Anna Zhuravel
Look into their Eyes
April 2021
Acrylic paint on Canvas
50cm x 40cm

This piece, titled Look into their Eyes, represents the idea that eyes are the gateway to ones soul, but everyone in the paintings eyes are covered with a mask of words and they’re circling around an eye displaying all the colours of the rainbow, while the people themselves are in gray scale. I chose to display this idea in this way to represent how people are just in black and white and are masking their true selves behind a screen of words, circling around the colourful truth of everything.

Azriel Joyce
March 2021
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 cm

My art focuses on people in interesting environments or using intriguing imagery to complement the subject of the piece. I work mainly in acrylics, watercolours, ink, and water-based markers. I prefer working with abstract ideas and building semi-realistic imagery from multiple different sources. I am a student of Canterbury High school in the visual arts program, and I created this piece using the ideas of relaxation, comfort, and peace.

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If The Niche Ottawa Gallery was in person for this event, we would be not only incorporating multi-arts events but having community involvement as our vision staple. To emulate in person as much as possible, uplifting our community of creatives and beyond, we wanted to encourage our visitors of this show to consider donating to the organization of our choice. It was extremely important not only to the gallery but to our artists that their messages and sharing of their experiences is internalized and moved into action, carried forward into a helping hand during these difficult times.
We thought it would be a greater way to promote community by directing you to some local superstars to also support! The organization we wish for you to put specific kindness towards is the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, a centre that has been supporting the Ottawa indigenous community for decades.
So please donate to this amazing organization by pressing the DONATE button below which will lead you to a link to the Odawa Native Friendship Centre Covid-19 Relief Fund page on

"I think that everyone’s experience with COVID-19 has been different and yet it has all brought us together in a way that no one would expect. These past months have been so incredibly hard on all of us and it’s important that we acknowledge that and take time to care for ourselves. That is where art plays a role in my life. Over the pandemic, I have found peace and tranquillity in my art. I create art for myself and it is something that I’ve really embraced doing over the past year. All of this free time by myself has really allowed me to explore and play with other mediums, which is something I usually wouldn’t do. I'm also very lucky to be able to take multiple different art classes in school, allowing me to create art for school and for myself. Having time in class to do artwork I’m very passionate about has been an absolute blessing and has been something I’ve really cherished over the pandemic. I believe that now more than ever it’s really important to surround yourself with things that make you happy and for me, that’s making art!"

-Anika Sorkilmo

Anika Sorkilmo
Stay Here
April 2021
Acrylics on masonite board
30in x 24in

I wanted to experiment with this piece more than I usually would with any of my other artworks. When creating, I typically like to use mediums that I'm very familiar with. This painting was done with acrylics, which I tend to avoid using because they’re so out of my comfort zone. But over the past year, a lot of other things have become new to me as well, since I believe no one was prepared for a global pandemic and the effects it was going to have on people. During this past year, I’ve learned a lot about myself and have been thinking a lot about who I want to be, which, in normal high school years is already challenging. All this time at home, away from friends and school life has left me a lot of time to think about myself. Some of it positive, some of it negative, but overall it’s given me a lot of time to grow. I’ve been able to reconnect with friends and start more projects that would otherwise be too adventurous. One of the things that have gotten me through this year are graphic novels. I absolutely love how diverse the medium is and the wide range of stories artists create. The way stories are told with the help of beautifully drawn images will always inspire me. The pictures alone do not tell the story, and neither do the words, it’s this beautiful balance between both. The images enhance the text to create a new emotional depth to the story that the text could never do alone. With this painting, I wanted to draw inspiration from graphic novels and their forms of storytelling. Some of my favourite graphic novelists have a way of using these bright colours and free form shapes to create movement and emotion in their work which I find very inspiring. Tillie Walden is one of those artists. She creates these wonderful graphic novels filled with gorgeous colours and detailed illustrations. I wanted to draw inspiration from her work in this piece by using bright flat colours mixed with heavily detailed areas. She has a way of using backgrounds and landscapes to contribute to the storyline without relying heavily on the characters, the characters may be the focus of the story but a lot of emotion comes from the still, detailed backgrounds. These are ideas and methods I wanted to try recreating in my painting. Everything, both good and bad, that has happened in the past year, inspires the concepts of change,acceptance, and self discovery.

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Azriel Joyce
Sunflowers II
March 2021
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 cm

Azriel Joyce
Sunflowers III
March 2021
Acrylic on Canvas
27.5 cm x 35 cm

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"I feel like overall, COVID was not fun to deal with as a teenager and student. There were so many opportunities that were lost. It was quite hard to be starting high school during the pandemic, but there was so much time to grow and improve. From an artist's perspective, however, it was pretty great. I had so much more time to draw, and more people were sharing their art online too. I can see how much my art has improved during the pandemic, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come."

-Josephine Rankin

Josephine Rankin
A Masked Friend
April 2021
Lino block print using water based ink

This is a linoleum block print of a picture I took of my friend during the pandemic while social distanced and wearing masks.

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The Niche Ottawa Gallery wants to take a moment to thank our resilient and flourishing artists for putting their hearts into this show and unveiling all they have experienced through the means of creation. On behalf of our artists and ourselves, we would like to thank all those who have come to support this truly unique show. May we all continue into the rest of our lives with booming continued creation and health.
-The Niche Ottawa Gallery

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