top of page
Miya Turnbull Masks.png

Self-Portrait Masks made by Miya Turnbull

Miya (pronounced Mee-yah) Turnbull is an artist based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada).

I work in many mediums including mask-making, photography, animation, video, performance, painting and textiles. This website will focus in on my current body of work with Self-Portrait Masks, Photography, Performance and Video.
Note: My textile and painting website is closed until further notice so I can focus on mask making.


About my masks: 


"My masks are three-dimensional self-portraits- a combination of photography, sculpture and collage. They are photo-realistic but often altered- for example, I might change the placement or even erase select facial features, or cut up and re-attach masks together in unusual combinations. I use photo elements within my work to create an uncanny resemblance within my masks, in addition to capturing images of myself wearing these facades.


I am drawing from the traditional uses of masks worn for disguise, transformation and protection, and as symbols for persona, self-image and identity. Ironically, I am placing my face on the front of the mask at the same time concealing my 'self' behind it. I can then manipulate how you see me. By keeping my image a constant, I am able to experiment with multiple iterations and further explore my bi-racial heritage, experiences, perceptions and inner world, making these visible, tangible and wearable."





Miya Turnbull and Emiko Agatsuma.jpg

Japan-Canada International Exchange Project 




Collaboration by Emiko Agatsuma and Miya Turnbull

Music by Gozu Mezu (Hitoshi Sugiyama)

Experience a unique collaboration where Emiko Agatsuma (Tokyo, Japan) and Miya Turnbull (Halifax, NS) come together for a mesmerizing performance. Witness the fusion of Butoh dance and photo-realistic portrait Masks in a one-of-a-kind show that will transport you to a dream-like world. Don't miss this opportunity to see these creative artists blend their talents in a captivating performance alongside stunning custom music created and performed live by Gozu Mezu (Hitoshi Sugiyama) (Edmonton, AB)

"Ladder 梯子" explores layers of cultural identity, masking, Japanese imagery and connections of shared ancestry and memories. The project also researches and honours multiple generations through the history of the Japanese diaspora in Canada as experienced by Miya's maternal family. Emiko and Miya have been working together in a creative residency in Halifax, N.S. from April through to June to combine their artistic skills to create approximately a 40 minute performance. Hitoshi has been working remotely and in-person with Emiko and Miya, to create an ambient musical landscape also inspired by his Japanese and Canadian experiences, paired with live performances of Taiko drumming and Shinobue (Japanese flute).

This showing is just the beginning of their collaboration together. They hope to further expand and develop their project and showcase across Canada and Japan in the future. 


Dates and Times: 

June 28th, 2024 (Friday) 7:30 pm (evening) + Artist Talk

June 29th, 2024 (Saturday) 2:00 pm (matinee) + Artist Talk

June 29th, 2024 (Saturday) 7:30 pm (evening)

*Doors open 30 mins before


Performance time: approximately 30-40 mins. 


Venue: Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen St, Halifax, NS B3K 3B5)


Fee: $20 (General Admission), $5-10 discounts available


Artist Biographies:

Emiko Agatsuma is a versatile Japanese artist recognized for her role as a traditional Butoh dancer, choreographer, and as the long standing Artistic Director at AGAXART, a platform dedicated to nurturing Butoh talent in Japan and internationally. and Instagram: @emiko.agatsuma


Miya Turnbull is a multi-disciplinary visual artist based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, NS). She is primarily a mask-maker, and new to her practice is performance. Miya is 3rd and 4th generation mixed Japanese Canadian and British Canadian.


Hitoshi Sugiyama was born and raised in Japan and is currently based in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a musician specializing in improvisation, ambient electronic music as well as Taiko (drum) and Shinobue (flute). He has released 2 albums under the name of Gozu Mezu: Homesick (2022) and Shogyomujo (2022). and Instagram: @gozu_mezu


Emiko is also offering Butoh Workshops:

In-person classes: Halifax, N.S.

<Workshop Highlights>
・Learn how to move your body based on Butoh basic training.
・Explore the background of Butoh movements and the connection between mind and body through imagination.

■ Schedule
April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 25 and June 15
3~5 PM each
*They are independent classes with different contents. It can be taken only one time, but it is recommended to take all 6 classes in a row.

■ Venue

Halifax Dance Studio


■ Fee*
$30 CAD / 1 workshop      
$50 CAD / 2 workshops
$150 CAD / 6 workshops

*If finances are a barrier to you, she is also offering Pay What You Can options

For more information about our project, workshops and performances please visit:


This project has been generously supported by the Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), Arts Nova Scotia (Support4Culture) and the Canada Council for the Arts/ Conseil des arts du Canada.

Additional thanks to Kinetic Studio, Prismatic Arts Festival and Japanese Society of Halifax.

ACT Logo
Canada Council Logo


PULP group exhibit- NELSON GALLERY


April 6th- July 27th, 2024

Nelson Museum, Archives and Gallery

Curated by Arin Fay


PULP is the latest iteration in a series of medium-centric group exhibitions, focused on a common theme – in this case, paper – that highlights each artist’s interpretation of the medium. PULP opens Friday, April 5 at the Nelson Museum, Archives & Gallery, and runs through July 27.  


In the hands of artists from across Canada, the artworks that embody PULP speak to personal, regional, socio-political, and historic symbology; seen in the feminist forms of Gathie Falk and Badanna Zack, with an Indigenous perspective through the work of Edward Poitras, through the revolt and response of Mia Feuer, the masks of Miya Turnbull, and the poetic/historical approach of Susan Andrews Grace.  


Esker Foundation: Calgary, Alberta


"Like everything alive that we try to hold forever"

September 23rd - December 17th, 2023

Group exhibition featuring the artwork of Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, Diane Borsato, Stephanie Dinkins, Bridget Moser, Sondra Perry, and Miya Turnbull


"Like everything alive that we try to hold forever" brings together seven artists whose works, in a broad sense, reflect ways that our human bodies exist in relation to non-human objects and the complex, interconnected ways that these objects, through their systemic collection, consumption, and contextualization, impact our understanding of self and others.


-Curated by Elizabeth Diggon, Naomi Potter and Shauna Thompson


Any of the photos seen on the wall behind my mask table are the work of Diane Borsatto


This exhibit is also in conjunction with "Care and Wear: Bodies Crafted for Harm and Healing" and is curated by Brendan Griebel and Jude Griebel, 2 brothers who are an anthropologist and visual artist respectively. They are showing selections from their collection of surrogate bodies from the Museum of Fear and Wonder based in Bergen, Alberta. 


Photograph credit: Blaine Campbell



Audio walkthrough about my masks and origami


Fall Brochure PDF

See past exhibits by Miya Turnbull here


Cover Visual Arts News.jpeg

Visual Arts News, Volume 44, Number 2, Fall 2022


So honoured to have my artwork on the cover of the latest issue of Visual Arts News, a magazine that explores contemporary art practices in Atlantic Canada, on the unceded and unsurrendered lands of the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, Inuit, Innu, and the Southern Inuit of NunatuKavut.


A beautiful article written by Clare Goulet, a local writer, poet and educator, is published on pages 21-25.

You can read the article here. 

See more interviews/publications/features about Miya's work here


Behind the Mask: Miya Turnbull


Mini-doc showcasing my artwork, 3 min 37 sec.

Presented by Instagram's Fashion For Bank Robbers, January 2021.

Curated by Carina Shoshtary and edited by Kat Tolkovsky.


The first of a series of videos about mask-makers from around the world, entitled: Behind the Mask, launched on their new YouTube Channel.

Miya Turnbull: The Art Between


Mini-doc showcasing my artwork, 3 min 54 sec.

Presented by ArtSeen, December 2023


ArtSeen is a new digital platform showcasing artists and artist-run centres in Atlantic Canada, produced by ARTSPLACE Gallery, based in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Interview, video production and editing by Andrew Tolson.

See more interviews/press/features about Miya's work here


Photography (above) by Nanne Springer, 2023

Omote (面) is a collaboration between mask maker Miya Turnbull (Halifax, NS) and dance artist Shion Skye Carter (Vancouver, BC). We were brought together by Yume. Digital Dreams collaboration project presented by Tashme Productions in 2022, which united 14 Japanese Canadian artists together.

Article about our collaboration in The Nikkei Voice "Revealing Layers Within", May 2023

This project exists in several forms: 


Short Film: 

The film version (can be viewed here on YouTube) has screened at several film festivals including FIN (Atlantic International Film Festival, 2022), International Portrait Film Festival in Bulgaria (2022), Asian Arts: Environments of Resilience and Sustainability, Media Arts Exhibition (Korean Film Festival Canada/ Arts East-West) Dazibao Gallery in Montréal (2023) and Shifting Tides (Dance Films from Atlantic Canada, as part of IMPACTfest 2023) among other showings in galleries and venues in Canada and in Germany. Custom music made by Stefan Nazarevich (Vancouver, B.C.)


Live Performance: 

We also developed Omote (面) into a live performance, Spring 2023, commissioned by CanAsian Dance Kickstart Program and co-presented by Tangente and Festival Accès Asie. This 20 min performance was supported by Canada Council for the Arts and Kinetic Studio in Halifax. We performed in Montréal May 6-9th, 2023 and Toronto May 12-14th, 2023. Dramaturgy provided by Julie Tamiko Manning (Montréal, QC). Custom music made by Stefan Nazarevich (Vancouver, B.C.) We also have plans to develop this into a full length piece to premiere in Vancouver, BC in 2025. 


Art/Photo Book:

We had a photo session with Nanne Springer before the premiere of Omote (面) in Montréal and the results from that photoshoot, I made into a photo book, thanks to the 2023 Art & Photo Book Award by Booooooom

 You can order a copy here . Retail price is $30 USD (approx $40 CAD) plus shipping. 

Omote Book.jpg

Custom Masks made for Allie X for upcoming album.

"Black Eye" music video premiered Oct 31st, 2023

Album cover and album art announced Nov 16th, 2023

GIRL WITH NO FACE: release date: Feb 23rd, 2024

Read Rolling Stone article here featuring images with my masks

Photography by Marcus Cooper