Now Open: Greater Toronto Art 2024, March 22–July 28.



March Break: Experimental Mark-Making with Nava Messas-Waxman

Monday, March 13, 2023
 – Friday, March 17, 2023
 | Pay What You Can
12:00 – 4:00 pm Daily | In-person | Registration Required | All Ages

March Break: Experimental Mark-Making with Nava Messas-Waxman

Join the MOCA team onsite for our March Break Programming from Monday, March 13 to Friday, March 17. The series of programmes, led by contemporary artist Nava Messas-Waxman, will explore mark-making as a response to one’s environment and allow participants to experiment through dance, drawing, gesture and sound. 

Each day will feature a new activity which will make use of diverse mark-making techniques and materials and draw reference from a different exhibition theme. Participants are encouraged to register prior to the day of the programme. Registration is encouraged for the whole week, however, participants may enroll in individual days if preferred. Additional details regarding each activity can be found below. 

On the first day of the programme participants will create their own mark making tools, taking inspiration from Kapwani Kiwanga’s exhibition, Remediation. Kiwanga’s large-scale installations consist in sculptural works as well as video and sound pieces all of which broadly explore themes of botany and their relationship to colonialism.

This activity will take inspiration primarily from Kipwani’s works, Elliptical Field and Keyhole with participants creating their own non-traditional mark-making materials such as sticks, fibre, fabric and other found plant life to make botanical drawings. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the ways in which materials work with one another and various surfaces. 

The second day of programming will explore sculpture and the body inspired by the work Bones for Time from Athena Papadopoulos’s exhibition The New Alphabet. Bones for Time takes disused hospital and wool blankets to trace aspects of the artist’s body in shapes of letters, resulting in a variety of alphabetically orchestrated sculptures. This activity will take a similar creative approach by combining both sculpture and movement. Participants will develop their own abstract sculptures using found and brought materials, the shapes of which will be inspired by their own improvised movements. 

Day three will engage storytelling through the work of Susan for Susan. The design duo use of industrial materials and design methods balance the rationale with experimentation to explore the differences between sculpture and product design. Taking a cue from the dance between play and usefulness present in Susan for Susan’s exhibition Trade Show, participants will be using various types of paper and LED lights to sculpt and design their own 3D objects. Through this activity they will explore texture and mark-making as ways to tell stories through made objects. 

Day four will draw from Serkan Özkaya’s installation ni4ni v.3 to explore digital mark making. Özkaya’s work prompts questions around our idea of time, perception, and sense of self through its use of digital technology, combined with a massive mirrored sphere. Through the use of a projector and movement activities in relation to the installation, participants will delve into related themes such as time, visual perception, the boundaries between the physical and virtual, and the imaginary space between inside and outside.

The final day of the programme will explore sound and mark making by engaging the sonic space of the museum. In addition to the building’s architecture and exhibitions on view, special emphasis will be placed on the AR exhibition Seeing the Invisible and Matt Nish-Lapidus’ sound installation Only the dreamer knows it. Participants will delve into the connection between sound, movement and technology and explore ways to visually represent and produce sounds through drawing, objects and microphones.

What is mark-making? 

Mark-making can be thought of as a gestural drawing language, and the various lines, marks, patterns and textures we use to make art. Loose, abstract, imaginary, gestural or conceptual markings are all acceptable. It can be applied to any material and used on any surface. 

About the Artist:

Nava Messas-Waxman is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher working with performance, choreography, moving-image and multimedia installation. Her work engages identity, memory, liminality and the body. Growing up in a Moroccan Judeo-Amazigh immigrant family shaped her interest in themes of movement, migration, diaspora, archive, time and space, delving into the transitory nature of gestures that are often embedded within complex artistic, cultural, and personal registers.


She is a doctoral candidate in Visual Arts at Toronto’s York University. Messas-Waxman holds an MFA from York University in Visual Arts and a BA from The Open University in Social Science and Communication. Recent projects include Nuit Blanche Toronto Variations on Broken Lines for Nuit Blanche Toronto 2022, Shared-View (2022), Variations on Broken Lines ( 2020), and Choreographed Marks (2019). Messas-Waxman was the 2019 recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Joseph Armand Bombardier Scholarship (SSHRC). In addition, she received an Exhibition Assistance Grant from the Ontario Arts Council (2018) and a Travel Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for her collaborative project “Elements of Chance” (2016).

Generously supported by Hal Jackman Foundation
Venue Information

MOCA Toronto

158 Sterling Rd
Toronto, ON  M6R 2B7

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