Board of Directors

Yael Brotman's Headshot

Yael Brotman, President

Yael Brotman received her BA (Honours) from the University of Manitoba and her B.Ed and Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. Her artwork is rooted in drawing and printmaking and has expanded into constructions and installations that repurpose her etchings. She examines our urge to build and the poetics of our structures. 

Her exhibition history includes the Biennale internationale d’estampe contemporaine de Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières; Harcourt House, Edmonton; Atelier Circulaire, Montreal; Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mississauga; McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton; Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s; ODD Gallery, Dawson City, Yukon. Internationally, exhibition locations include: the International Print Centre New York; Central Booking Gallery, Lower East Side, New York; Zweigstelle Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Shanxi University, Taiyuan, China; Edinburgh Printmakers, Edinburgh, UK. 

Brotman has been awarded grants from all three levels of government; and artist residencies, including Dawson City, Yukon; Aran Islands, Ireland; Sanbao, China; Hospitalfield Arts, Arbroath, Scotland. 

Previously she sat on the boards of the Print and Drawing Council of Canada, Open Studio and Visual Arts Ontario. She also is on the faculty of the Studio program in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Toronto Scarborough. 

Kohila Kurunathan's Headshot

Kohila Kurunathan, Vice President 

Kohila Kurunathan graduated with her Hon. BA from the Art and Art history program at Sheridan College and the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Her background is in design, lens-based media, print, drawing and, most recently, animation. She worked with the Blackwood Gallery, the Art Gallery of Mississauga, OAAG, Akimbo and SAVAC (South Asian Visual Art Centre). She currently works at Canadian Art.

Kristen Fahrig's headshoot

Kristen Fahrig, Secretary 

Professional Sculptor, Educator and Cultural Animator. Originally from Ottawa, Toronto-based Kristen Fahrighas designed site animations for Harbourfront Centre, Toronto City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square and created integrated art performances for the Luminato Festival, Dufferin Mall and for MacGregor Park, where she has been artist-in-residence since 2004. She has collaborated with communities, leading projects resulting in permanent art installations in urban parks, public gardens and schools.

Kristen’s sculptural work covers a broad cultural and thematic range from environmental statements to the seduction of technology as it embraces the human body. She has received numerous awards including the Victor Martin Lynch-Staunton Award for Integrated Arts from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2010.

photo of Michelle Forsyth

Michelle Forsyth, Treasurer

Toronto-based artist, and OCAD professor, Michelle Forsyth brings a wealth of expertise to CARFAC. Having recently returned to Canada after fifteen years spent living in the US—where she was teaching professional practices at the graduate level— she fosters organic modes of learning and promotes honest, yet compassionate dialogue. Forsyth holds an MFA from Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ); and a BFA from the University of Victoria (Victoria, BC). Her work has been included in exhibitions at venues including: Mulherin + Pollard, (New York, NY); Zaum Projects (Lisbon, Portugal); Pentimenti Gallery (Philadelphia, PA); Auxiliary Projects (Brooklyn, NY); The Hunterdon Museum of Art (Clinton, NJ); The Charleston Heights Arts Center (Las Vegas, NV); Deluge Contemporary Art (Victoria, BC); and Mercer Union (Toronto, ON). Forsyth has been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts (Ottawa, ON), Artist Trust (Seattle, WA), and was awarded the Larry Sommers Memorial Fellowship (Seattle Print Arts, WA). She has taught at Pratt Institute (New York, NY); Brooklyn College (Brooklyn, NY); University of Southern Maine (Gorham, ME); Washington State University (Pullman, WA); in addition to her current position at OCAD University (Toronto, ON).

Devon Ostrom'  Headshot

Devon Ostrom

Devon holds an MA in curating from Goldsmiths, and has graduated from programs in Non-profit as well as HR management from Ryerson. Greatest hits include the HYPE series at the AGO, a mural and research project at Kingston Penitentiary, and Canada’s first major exhibition of street art (held at the ROM). His curatorial record also includes the acclaimed Streetscape programming for Luminato 2008 simultaneously occurring at Regent Park and the former Tent City.

As a community organizer, Devon is a co-founder of and Manifesto Festival. Devon’s advocacy work also includes founding – an alliance of over 60 organizations that put a tax on billboards for art. This led to Toronto council passing a commitment to allot 17.5 million dollars in additional annual arts spending. Devon is a member of the Toronto City Summit Alliance’s ELN, Ryerson’s Top 30 Under 30, and serves on the CARFAC Ontario, Toronto Arts Council and Manifesto Board.

Ashley McKenzie-Barnes Headshot

Ashley McKenzie-Barnes

Ashley’s first solo art showcase and the birth of her Portrait Series spawned her to create a number of commissioned custom pieces for collectors from Toronto to New York, including commissions for several celebrities.

She has also spent time working with SWAY magazine, EYE WEEKLY, Canadian Immigrant, Scotiabank Caribana Festival, SKYY Vodka, Honey Jam, PEACE!, Kardinal Offishall, Trey Anthony & ‘da Kink in my Hair, Toronto Centre for the Arts and many more. Her impressive client-base has allowed her to work both in-house and independently under her company, Vivid Beauty Designs.

Keeping in line with her visual arts background, she has curated multiple shows, been a guest speaker for Arts for All Canada along with other workshop/panels and has been featured inside the Royal Ontario Museum, worked as the Creative Arts Program Leader for The Remix Project, and is currently the Visual Art Director for the MANIFESTO Festival of Arts and Culture.

Ashley is honoured to be sitting on the board of CARFAC Ontario.

Photo of Sophie De Francesca

Sophie De Francesca

Toronto-based artist, Sophie De Francesca graduated from theOntario College of Art (now OCAD University) in 1990. While working in various commercial art fields for over a decade, she started to develop a body of personal artwork with a keen focus on sculpture. In the early 2000's, wire mesh emerged as an important material for DeFrancesca. Sheathes of galvanized steel mesh allowed her to shape human scale forms, rendering hard materials into ethereal concoctions. These sculptures resonated with audiences, opportunities to exhibit came her way, and her fine art practice soon became her primary focus.

Sophie’s workspace in Leslieville on Toronto’s east side offers the artist refuge to explore cultural and social phenomenon in all its evocations. Her sculptures can often be seen at various international art fairs across North America, and have earned her gallery representation, and group and solo exhibitions at prestigious venues including Toronto, Montreal, New York, and Miami. De Francesca’s work has captured the attention of collectors around the world.

Photot of Dave Kemp

Dave Kemp

Dave Kemp is a visual artist whose practice looks at the intersections and interactions between art, science and technology: particularly at how these fields shape our perception and understanding of the world. His artworks have been exhibited widely at venues such as at the McIntosh Gallery, The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Art Gallery of Mississauga, The Ontario Science Centre, York Quay Gallery, Interaccess, Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre, and as part of the Switch video festival in Nenagh, Ireland. His works are also included in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Canada Council Art Bank. 

Dave obtained his PhD in Art and Visual Culture from the University of Western Ontario and is a graduate from the Master of Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto where he also completed the Collaborative Program in Knowledge Media Design. Prior to this, he earned an Image Arts (photography) BFA from Ryerson University and his BScE in Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s University. He currently works as a sessional instructor at Western University.


Leesa Bringas

Leesa Bringas is a multi-disciplinary visual artist and has exhibited in Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. Born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Leesa has worked, volunteered, and exhibited at a number of arts and non-profit organizations. In 2010, she relocated to Sudbury, Ontario and in 2013, she became Open Studio | Cambrian College’s Technician/Coordinator and nurtured a number of partnerships in the Sudbury community. Leesa is active on a number of arts initiatives and committees including the Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl and recently became a board member with CARFAC Ontario. As a practicing visual artist, educator and cultural worker, Leesa acknowledges the need for on-going artist and arts advocacy in all communities.

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