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Artist in Residence

Keith Cole

Artist in Residence, Summer 2019, Ryerson University


Keith Cole is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, dance, film/video, photography, collage, painting, and installation. For over 29 years he has worked in Toronto's artistic and gay communities. His work has focused on repetition, duration, gayness, humour, analogue technologies, and absence.

The Project: Nothing Is Ever Perfect

Keith Cole's artwork comes from his distrust and resistance to official discourses as well as his need to honour and work through alternative histories and futures. Nothing is Ever Perfect is based on revealing that which is out of focus from many of us on a day-to-day basis. The German's have a word for it - Alltagsgeschichte or "history from below." The work in the residency and eventual exhibition centres on what is not seen even though it is right in front of our eyes. Are we avoiding it? Is what we do not see too precious or too imperfect?

Based on this interest of alternative discourse and histories, Keith Cole's works show how mistakes were made. His finished art pieces often are the result of responding to those mistakes. Cole is intentional in avoiding consistency or working to a singular standard of perfection. A central question for Keith Cole is how are things made in the spirit of something? A key focus of Nothing is Ever Perfect is absence. The beauty of this artwork is found in its abstract nature and its willingness to be ephemeral and illusive as opposed to solid or concrete.

Keith Cole's work is made in a rapid-fire method. Each artwork is provisional and could break down or fall apart at any second.  Nothing is Ever Perfect embraces variations and inconsistencies to recognize the range of style and intentions in his body of work. He continues to create in the spirit that nothing is ever perfect.

This artist in residence elaborates a thread in the artist in residence program focused on the everyday object, its meaning, and its history. The focus of the residency is on Keith Cole's collage, installation, performance, and painting. It will result in an art show in the fall of 2019 and a work commissioned for Ryerson University.

Images of Keith Cole Jumping
Art installation on a brick wall that reads "closed" and "all the things that go unnoticed that want to be noticed, nuit blanche"

Past Artists-in-Residence

Tara Farahani, Faculty of Community Services and Faculty of Arts Artist-in-Residence


Tara Farahani

What are the experiences that shape how we move in the world? Why do we find it so difficult to talk about them? What can sharing our stories do for our connection and healing? These are some of the important questions that Tara Farahani, the Jack Layton and John C. Eaton Chair’s newest Artist-in-Residence, will explore with Ryerson students, faculty and staff. In short, she will examine what it means to honour our lived experience.

Having showcased and performed numerous creative writing pieces across the city, Farahani has a deep understanding of the fears that keep people from sharing their stories, and the beautiful relationships and community that emerge when they do. Her latest project, From Under the Rug, examines the duality of gaining strength and resilience when speaking one’s truths.

Informed by her lived-experience as an Iranian-Canadian Diaspora, Farahani carries a desire to challenge norms, ignite thoughtful dialogues, and engage in continuous learning in all walks of her professional and personal life. 

When she isn’t working in the non-profit sector, you will find the Toronto-based writer and researcher tucked away in the corners of cafes across Toronto crafting creative non-fiction prose, typing away on her blog,, external link, or or in her home office working on her co-founded zine project, ‘not for you., external link

Farahani is the successful recipient of CUE’s 2018 Writing Program bursary to work on her upcoming non-fiction prose book, I Had a Very Happy Childhood, and has been featured on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning program, CBC News, external linkFlare Magazine, external link, Ryerson Alumni Magazine, external link, and the Toronto Star, external link for her poetry and advocacy work. 

Artist-in-Residence Tara Farahani speaking.
Artist-in-Residence Tara Farahani speaking at a Canadian Federation of Students rally.
A bracelet with hand-made clay beads by Artist-in-Residence Tara Farahani.
A hand-made ring with a one-of-a-kind clay design by Artist-in-Residence Tara Farahani.

Sarah Amato

Sarah Amato is the Faculty of Community Services and Faculty of Arts Artist-in-Residence, Summer 2018.

Sarah Amato has a doctorate in history from the University of Toronto (2008). She has taught courses on material culture and modern British History at the University of Toronto, Ontario College of Art and Design University, and Wilfred Laurier University (Brantford Campus). Her book Beastly Possessions: Animals in Victorian Consumer Culture was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2015. Past participatory art projects include: "Pothole Possibilities," Nuit Blanche Edmonton and "Dishing it Out" in the curated show Voices for the Vote, Borealis Gallery.

Amato's current project titled Is This Yours? documents objects that are lost and found. This artwork asks us to imagine all the mittens, tools, keys, and other items we've left behind, forgotten or lost along the way. What happens to these items after we lose them? What happens to us after we lose these things? How do lost objects change the people who find them? What do lost things tell us about the lives we have lived?

Website:, external link 

Taien Ng-Chan

Hamilton-based artist Taien Ng-Chan, was the Faculty of Community Service’s first artist-in-residence. As a writer and media artist, Taien’s work melds cinema, poetry, cartography, objects, found and digital art to interrogate everyday urban life.

Website:, external link, opens in new window