Wanda’s Arts Awards 2019: Erika (1st place winner)

A year has passed since Erika’s last nomination, and for her, “it was a really great year.”

Erika received her first Wanda’s Arts Award nomination last year. A single mother of two, she came to Canada five years ago, and over the past few years, has been actively participating in art shows. While her traditional style is to work with soft pastels and parchment paper, she’s now working on canvas, and currently a canvas piece that is nearly six feet long. She likes to time herself when she creates a piece, and her best time is eight minutes. Despite the time crunch, art is a calming factor in her life.

“If I don’t feel good or if I feel I have a good idea, I just start drawing. Sometimes when I don’t feel good, I draw all day. It makes me calm down.”

Her nomination last year helped her sell her first piece in Canada. Since then, she’s helped new and upcoming artists participate in shows that can be inaccessible to most because of fees and registration costs. She’s also helped a few sell their art in Dubai and the United Kingdom and promote their work on radio shows. She herself has also sold a piece to a buyer in Dubai.

While Erika’s success in making a name for her and her art is clear, she’s also seen the other benefits art has had on her life.

“A few years back I was kind of shy, I was keeping my art at home and I had a lot,” she says. Now, she’s participating in art shows almost monthly and shows off her work proudly.

Last year, Erika donated her award bursary to the family shelter she first stayed at when she came to Canada. This year, if she wins, she plans to use the funds to help support the artists she works with by buying supplies.

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