Our Team

 Kayla Borden | Creative DirectorKayla

Jamaican Canadian Resident of Halifax, Kayla Borden wears many hats in art & music community. She has recently become the first ever African Nova Scotian Outreach Urban Music Advisory Coordinator at Music Nova Scotia. As well as started up a new non for profit organization called The OM Arts Collective this year that provides free art and music workshops that promote self-care, self-awareness and empowerment while trying to break the stigma around mental health.  She freelances as a promoter, event curator, and talent scout for non-profit organizations such as the Jamaican Cultural Association of Nova Scotia , Charles Taylor Theatre Media and Arts in associated with the Emerging Lens Film Festival just to name a few.

She has hosted events such as “Dont Shoot, We Are Just Artists” pubcrawl in 2015 with local artist RealEyez who she was managing at the time.  In 2017 she hosted the Urban Showcase at Nova Scotia Music Week in Truro.  This year she also hosted one of the day stages on the main stage at Halifax Jazz Festival.

She is an artist herself, who draws, dances, raps and recently picked up DJ’ing, Kayla goes by DJ Tranzish(ə)n.

Kayla enjoys working with young talent from low income communities on their goals for the future. She loves seeking out or creating opportunity for talent to be showcased and celebrated within a cultural background. Kayla believes not forgetting where you come from and giving back is very important to our communities.  She loves working with artists and other individuals that believe the same.

Nivie Dhami | Festival Coordinator

NivieNivie will be going into their second year with StART Festival; Originally from Treaty 13, Nivie moved back to K’jipuktuk in May 2017. Nivie Identifies as an Indo, anti-capitalist, non-binary, QPOC. Nivie has been organizing in communities across Turtle Island for over eight years now. They are passionate about environmental justice, social justice, gender equity and sexual liberation. Nivie is a support worker and facilitator who is  currently the Internal Director for the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office where they are passionately advocating for sustainability on campus while focusing on the intersections of gender, race and class. Nivie is also currently working with the Youth Art Connection as the Viola Desmond Project Coordinator and facilitator. 

Nivie is a poet, writer, curator and conversational artist. They have facilitated panels, cyphers and workshops with The Untold Truth in Toronto. Nivie is one part of Destigmatize It!, a podcast series launched at last years’ StART Festival in partnership with Kayla Borden. Nivie is also a disk jockey who goes by the stage name DJ 5Rivers, they have a deep rooted love for music, dance and community.

Israel Ekanem | Program Director of Video and Multimedia

StART Festival welcomes Israel Ekanem, a storyteller, to the team. Isreal was introduced to the art of storytelling by his grandmother, Lydia and he fell in love with it. Storytelling has been his passion for years. The stories he initially shared would be spoken or written but he always felt the camera would give the stories more life. He got a camcorder as a birthday gift and he has been shooting and sharing stories ever since.

His films include the award-winning films “We Watched The Clouds Form Shapes” “Drown The Lovers”, “Dearg” and “Tale of the Man Who Whispered To Flowers”

He believes that a story, properly told can change the world, one person at a time. He hopes to keep telling stories for as long as he lives.

Martha Mutale | Communications and Outreach Coordinator

StART Welcomes 31 year old, Zambian-Nova Scotian Martha Mutale. Martha is a poet and community organizer. She has written, performed and collaborated on pieces for over five years on and off. She has performed many times at Word Iz Bond for close to ten years, unfortunately this event is no longer active.

Martha was a 4th Wall Participant for the Michaëlle Jean Foundation which enabled ten artists of various disciplines to showcase work that revolves around social justice issues. The piece she submitted was a poem called “No Justice No Peace” which spoke about the continual violence plaguing people of colour on a global scale. She participated in the Canadian Festival Spoken Word in 2016 with some other poets in the Halifax poetry community. Halifax came in 11th place that year. Martha helped co-found a small poetry series called Poets for Progress which offered a space for artists to use their series as a platform to tell stories. She recently curated the Viola Desmond Spoken word event that was partnered with the North End Business Association.

Martha is currently working on a chapbook which she is planning to put out before the end of this year.