2018 StART Jury

BIG Thank you to our amazing jury for their time and energy in selecting this years artists!


Rajee Paña Jeji Shergill

Rajee Paña Jeji Shergill is an Indo-Filipina-Canadian artist born in Winnipeg and currently based in Cherry Hill, Nova Scotia. She received a diploma in Textile Arts from Capilano University, a BFA (Interdisciplinary) and BA (Art History) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and her MA in Art History from Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec). She has participated in exhibitions and screenings in Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal, Guelph, and Toronto, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors for The Great Island Arts Co-operative. Through textiles, sound, and still and moving images, Rajee explores memory, familial inheritance, and diasporic subjectivity.

Leesa Hamilton

Leesa is a Halifax based Textile Artist and Arts Facilitator. She is an award

winning Costume Designer whose work has been featured with such companies

that include; Zuppa Theatre Co., 2b theatre and Two Planks and a Passion

Theatre. She currently works at NSCAD University as a Part-Time Faculty and

Technician in Fashion and for the past year has been developing and

coordinating NSCAD’s Art Factory. Leesa was so happy to be invited to

participate in the jury for the Start Festival. It was a privilege to review the

applications of so many talented artists, I am inspired by the dedication and

energy that all of the applicants put into their craft.

Rena Thomas

Rena Thomas is an emerging experimental filmmaker living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was raised in Sackville, New Brunswick where she completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University in 2012. Her art practice is informed by her experiences in nature and observations as a cis-gendered woman. Her work is a reaction to contemporary society, which to her is a place where humans are perceived separate from the environment, and where sexual objectification of women is prevalent. Rena’s work aims to reestablish a human connection to nature and redefine women as strong, while shedding light on their experiences of vulnerability.

Laura Simpson

Laura Simpson focuses on creating room, opportunity and control for artists. Along with Dan Mangan, she is the co-founder and CEO of  Side Door, a virtual booking agent and ticketing platform to support performances in alternative spaces. Laura has also hosted shows since 2011, mostly at her own home, The Syrup Factory. In 2016, she Make.Do.Camp. – a no-tech, dry retreat for folks of all kinds to disconnect from digital and reconnect with the land, each other and themselves.