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Rachel Rozanski

A headshot of Rachel Rozanski

As an interdisciplinary artist, my place-based practice primarily examines how different ideas of “nature” impact and shape land. My work as a core member of Access in the Making lab centers around concepts of restoration and repair through environmental and discard studies. My doctoral research at Concordia University investigates the cultural fantasy of restoration in Western health and environmentalism through drawing, photo and video research-creation.

I studied Visual Arts at Emily Carr, Capilano, and Langara Universities, and received an MFA with distinction from Ryerson University in Documentary Media. Through residency projects in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Iceland, I have collaborated with researchers and been inspired by scientific and land-based studies of permafrost degradation, pollution and adaptations for the Anthropocene. 

I was raised in Coquitlam and on Mayne Island, British Columbia on unceded Kwikwetlem and Tsartlip First Nations Territories. I’d also like to acknowledge the Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang, who are the stewards of the land where I am now fortunate to live and work in Montreal, Quebec. I have lived on colonized lands all my life and as a white settler my privileged position has given me access to resources and opportunities within these spaces. As an artist working within environmental topics it is my responsibility to first and foremost recognize Indigenous research and oral histories, and to actively work towards decolonization in all areas of my life. 

My SSHRC-funded Master’s Research Project at Toronto Metropolitan University, Perma, investigated permafrost degradation from the direct effects of small-scale mining to the results of large-scale climate change. This work was supported through summer and winter residencies at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture and involved scientists at the Yukon Research Centre as well as land-based researchers in Tuktoyaktuk. The resulting exhibition showed in galleries across Canada including PAVED arts, Prefix Circuit Gallery, Two Rivers Gallery, the Canada Council for the Arts Ajagemo gallery, and Artspace Gallery for CONTACT Photography Festival.