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Media Artist Spotlight

22 August 2021 | 8:00 pm


Animation series by Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea
+ MIDST, a short by Donna Szoke

The Mighty Niagara Film Fest presents the inaugural Media Artist Spotlight program, this year featuring experimental animation series and artist talk by Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea and a short video by Donna Szoke.

Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea is a queer Colombian-Canadian animator, artist, festival programmer, and educator. His work is influenced by psychedelia, visionary art, genre filmmaking, and Colombia’s history of violence. The program spans experiments in animation over the past five years of the artist’s archive. These 2D and 3D animations might be character studies, hallucinations, abstractions, music videos, or experimental narratives – all blurring the boundary between the real and the imaginary.

His work has been exhibited internationally at galleries and festivals, such as the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Slamdance Film Festival, Glas Animation Festival, Los Angeles Latino Film Festival, PÖFF Shorts, Pleasure Dome, Nuit Blanche Toronto, and the Niagara Artist Centre, among others. Gustavo has also directed music videos and performances for Grammy-nominated singer, Lido Pimienta. He is the current programming chair at the Toronto Animated Image Society and teaches at OCADU and Brock University. Gustavo initially moved from Colombia to the Niagara Region and is a graduate of the Visual Arts Program at Brock University.

Presented in program with:

Canada, 2021. Directed by Donna Szoke. 4 min. NR

Midst was created through projecting animation on to a custom-made fog screen utilizing 80 computer fans, custom electronics, and a fog machine. Animated bison pass through a wall of fog, visible momentarily. Bison that once would have been populous in this region seem to have temporarily reappeared. Issues of encroachment of cities into wild space raise questions of animal rights. Do animals ‘own’ the wild spaces that they depend upon for life and sustenance? Currently animals have no land rights. How does this disposability of animals fit within the Canadian psyche, one in which “nature” predominates? Midst questions our relationship to natural spaces, inviting our imaginations to repopulate those spaces. How do we rethink what it is to be a more-than-human animal beyond being another disposable body for the interests of advanced capitalism?

Donna Szoke is a Canadian artist whose practice includes video, animation, media art, installation, drawing, writing and collaboration. She has received numerous awards for her art research from funders including SSHRC, Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, and Ontario Arts Council.

Post-screening artist talk by Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea, and Q+A with both artists to follow.


FREE EVENT- limited seating please reserve tickets in advance.

Niagara Artists Centre – TCO Rooftop Terrace
354 St. Paul Street. St. Catharines, ON

Sun 22 August 2021
Doors open at 8PM
Screening starts at sunset (approx 9:15PM)

Note: this venue is accessible by staircase only. Washroom access is downstairs, located inside NAC Gallery.


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22 August 2021
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Categories:


Niagara Artists Centre
354 St. Paul St.
St. Catharines,
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Niagara Artists Centre