Lead Time is a new initiative for the AGYU that aims to support emerging artists and their working processes. The program is designed to facilitate independent research, offer resources, and build long term relationships. For the first iteration of this program, we are pleased to bring together:


  • Jawa El Khash mentored by Morehshin Allahyari October 5 to November 13, 2020
  • Jega Delisca mentored by Tau Lewis November 16 to December 18, 2020
  • Fallon Simard mentored by Ashley Jane Lewis and Kite (Suzanne Kite) January 11 to February 19, 2021

Lead Time is intended to offer artists both financial and pedagogical support without asking for specified outcomes. We intend this program to be part of a process of art-making and thinking instead of being production oriented. We envision it as generative and open, taking a process-driven approach and building long-term working relationships between artists. Lead Time is a framework that is live, adaptable, and research-based, with the intention of activating a latent period for the AGYU while our doors are closed to the public by creating a program that supports and privileges the moments between the initiation of an idea and its resolution.

Lead Time mentees:
Jawa El Khash is an artist and researcher. Her work blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, using technology such as virtual reality and holography to investigate the paradoxes and obscurities of the everyday nature of living in the world. The marriage of technology and art is the backbone of her everyday research, process, and thinking, through studying optics, 3D, and VR technology to create replicas of reality. Her work has been shown at InterAccess, Gallery 44, and Extracurricular XYZ. Forthcoming exhibitions include the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial and Mutek festival.

Born in West Tampa, Florida, Jega Delisca is an emerging Toronto–based painter. A graduate of Wexford Collegiate Arts High School, Jega participated in Weave, a fibre arts program organized by Sketch, that led to his work being featured in Nuit Rose in 2016. That same year Jega founded the Carefree Black Boy Project, an arts and cultural organization committed to rethinking and expanding conventional notions of masculinity. Representing the Carefree Black Boy Project in the City of Toronto’s Youth Arts Pitch Contest, Jega was awarded funding for Black Boys of East York, a photography exhibition along with a performance showcase that took place at the Children’s Peace Theatre. Most recently Jega has been involved in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Youth Council where he is the organizer of the Scarborough Artist Walk, an outdoor walking tour of Scarborough’s graffiti led by local artist Jehiel. Jega is also participating in the Vibe Arts Mentorship program. Currently mentored by Toronto-based painter Curtia Wright, Jega is producing a series of paintings exploring the theme of grief which will be featured in his upcoming first solo exhibition in March 2021.

Fallon Simard is an Anishinaabe-Metis artist, educator, and policy writer. Through memes, workshops, and videos, he layers text and images, transposing popular and informal methods of public address to carry pointed political critique. His artwork and pedagogical practices capture how racism and colonialism intercede to form the bases of capitalism’s devastating attempts at cultural erasure and genocide, but also reveals its ultimate failure to control the terms of indigeneity, which remains present and lived. In a review in Canadian Art, Thirza Cuthand describes Simard’s work as “firmly situated within a strong history in Canada of experimental Indigenous video art. Their experimental, politically charged work gets to the heart of issues of Indigenous sovereignty and struggle.” Simard graduated from OCAD University through the Interdisciplinary Masters of Art, Media and Design program. He has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Burlington, curated for the Queer Art Festival in Toronto, written policy for the Yellowhead Institute at Ryerson University, and participated in Plug In ICA’s Summer Institute.

Lead Time mentors:
Morehshin Allahyari is an Iranian-Kurdish media artist, activist, and writer based in Brooklyn, New York, who uses computer modeling, 3D scanning, and digital fabrication techniques to explore the intersection of art and activism. Inspired by concepts of collective archiving and cultural contradiction, Allahyari’s 3D-printed sculptures and videos challenge social and gender norms. She wants her work to respond to, resist, and criticize the current political and cultural situation that is experienced on a daily basis. Her work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops at venues throughout the world, including the New Museum, MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Venice Biennale di Archittectura, and Museum für Angewandte Kunst, among many others. She is the recipient of The Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant (2019), The Sundance Institute New Frontier International Fellowship, and the Leading Global Thinkers of 2016 award from Foreign Policy magazine. Her 3D Additivist Manifesto video is in the collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and recently she has been awarded major commissions by The Shed, Rhizome, New Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Liverpool Biennale, and FACT.

Tau Lewis is self-taught artist. Her practice is rooted in healing personal, collective, and historical traumas through labour. The materiality of Lewis’ work is often informed by her surrounding environment: she constructs out of found, gathered, and recycled materials from Toronto, New York, and outside of her family’s home in Negril, Jamaica. The transformative act of repurposing these materials recalls practices of resourcefulness in diasporic contexts; upcycling is a recuperative act that reclaims both agency and memory. The portraits themselves reference both individuals in Lewis’ community and imagined ancestors. Lewis will be included in upcoming exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, the Grinnell College Museum of Art, and Prospect 5. She has previously exhibited at international museums including Oakville Galleries; the Hepworth Wakefield, UK; College Art Galleries, University of Saskatchewan; Agnes Etherington Art Centre; the New Museum; the Art Gallery of Mississauga ; MoMA PS1; and the Art Gallery of York University. She has also exhibited in artist-run spaces including Mercer Union; Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art; Gallery 44; and 8-11 and galleries such as Jeffrey Stark, New York; Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles; Shoot the Lobster, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and Cooper Cole, Toronto. Lewis currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Kite aka Suzanne Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with a BFA from CalArts in music composition, an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. Kite’s scholarship and practice highlight contemporary Lakota epistemologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance. Her performances, compositions, sculptures, and sound installations showcase the use of experimentation in new media and digital technologies that touch on issues such as nonhuman and human intelligence, the ethics of extractive technologies, and software design. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fibre sculptures, immersive video and sound installations, as well as co-running the experimental electronic imprint, Unheard Records. For the inaugural 2019 Toronto Art Biennial, Kite, with Althea Thauberger, produced an installation, Call to Arms, which featured audio and video recordings of their rehearsals with Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) York, which also included a live performance with the conch shell sextet, who played the four musical scores composed by Kite. Kite has also published extensively in several journals and magazines, including in The Journal of Design and Science (MIT Press), where the award winning article, “Making Kin with Machines,” co-authored with Jason Lewis, Noelani Arista, and Archer Pechawis, was featured. Currently, she is a 2019 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Research Assistant for the Initiative for Indigenous Futures.

Ashley Jane Lewis is an Interactive artist, maker, and youth tech educator. In the summer of 2016 she was included in the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada list. She is now studying to get her Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In her New Media BFA at Ryerson University, Ashley designed The Obama Board, a keyboard that swaps the sound of the note with a word from Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. After showcasing the project at the Toronto Mini Maker Faire, she was invited to demo the installation at the Detroit Maker Faire for 20,000 people where she won Make Magazine Editor’s Choice and was highlighted on Barack Obama’s website. Lewis is a founding member of Girls Learning Code, a company aimed at encouraging young females to learn technological skills. She has designed educational new media content for the TIFF Bell Lightbox including gadget making workshops for the 50 Years of Bond exhibition, coding and robotics programing for the Maker March Break Camp, and various other ongoing initiatives. For the past two years Ashley has acted as production lead for the feature art installation at the TIFF DigiPlaySpace, Canada’s largest interactive festival for children.
See also
Remote Control

Remote Control

Instagram takeover
Apr – Aug 2020
AGYU Pride 2020

AGYU Pride 2020

Ness Lee Pride project
June 2020
Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions

Instagram Live

May – Jul 2020

Cultural Policies meet Pandemic Follies

Cultural Policies meet Pandemic Follies

Panel Discussion

20 May 2020

Artists and the CERB

Artists and the CERB

Open letter

8 Apr 2020

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