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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. 


(A quick note about my online shop ( I have closed down since it was expensive to maintain and I'm focusing more on my mask work right now- I still have textile work and paintings in stock. If you saw something you wanted to purchase, just get in touch.) 

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 heritage, experiences, perceptions and inner world, making these visible, tangible and wearable."

Behind the Mask: Miya Turnbull

Mini-doc showcasing my artwork, 3 min 37 sec.
Presented by Instagram's 
Fashion For Bank Robbers, January 2021.

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


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 and the magazine is now available for purchase

"Omote (面)" is an art/dance film conjured through the collaborative process between two Japanese Canadian artists:
Vancouver-based dance artist Shion Skye Carter, and Halifax-based mask artist Miya Turnbull, brought together by Yume. Digital Dreams collaboration project presented by Tashme Productions (Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa).

The kanji symbol 面 can be translated as "Omote"- face, surface and also as "Men"- mask.

Hand-crafted papier-mâché masks, coming in myriad shapes and facial expressions, become extensions of the body in this work. The masks' distorted imagery borders on the grotesque, challenging traditional ideas of beauty, while gesture and tableaus articulate the concept of honne (本音) and tatemae (建前): when a person’s true feelings and desires (honne) contrasts from the behavior and opinions they share in public (tatemae). The masks also serve as tools to reflect on self identity, affected in part by the artists' shared mixed race Nikkei heritage. How do cultural expectations, and one’s ancestral history, influence the parts of ourselves that we express to the world, and the parts that we keep hidden away? 

Co-created and performed by Miya Turnbull and Shion Skye Carter
Masks by Miya Turnbull
​Music: Stefan Nazarevich (Vancouver, B.C.)

Film Presentations: 

    Yume. Digital Dreams Online Vernissage (Tashme Productions); March 2022.


Powell Street Festival, Firehall Arts Centre; Vancouver, B.C., July 2022.


Fashion for Bank Robbers exhibit in Munich, Germany


Aug 3rd- Oct 16th, 2022


GEI Symposium (online); Victoria, B.C., Sept 2022.


FIN (Atlantic International Film Festival), in-person and streamed online

Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, Theatre 8

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Sept 18th, 2022, 3:30 pm ADT

International Portrait Film Festival, based in Bulgaria

"For the peculiar-eyed Selection"

Online Nov 20th- 30th, 2022 through Festhome TV

 Acadia University Art Gallery, Wolfville, NS as part of 

Miya's "Inward, Outwards" exhibit


Asian Arts: Environments of Resilience and Sustainability, 2023 Media Arts Exhibition (10th 

    edition Korean Film Festival Canada/ Arts East-West), Dazibao Black Box Theatre; Dazibao Gallery; Montreal, QC,

May 27th-July 2nd 2023

I am really excited to announce that we developed Omote (面) into a live performance, Spring 2023.

Shion and I were selected to be a part of the CanAsian Dance Kickstart Program. We worked with Julie Tamiko Manning as our dramaturg and Stefan Nazarevich composed music for us. We created the work in Halifax thanks to a residency through Kinetic.


Performances in Montreal were co-presented through Tangente and Festival Accès Asie:

May 6th, 2023: 7pm- SOLD OUT

May 7th, 2023: 4 pm- SOLD OUT

May 8th, 2023: 7pm (post-show artist talk)

May 9th, 2023: 7pm- SOLD OUT


1435, De Bleury Street

Performances in Toronto were co-presented by CanAsian Dance Festival (KickStart Program) and TO Live

May 12th, 2023: 8pm

May 13th, 2023: 8pm (post-show artist talk)

May 14th, 2023: 2pm (post-show artist talk and ASL interpretation)

Meridian Arts Centre | Greenwin Theatre

5040 Yonge St


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

Photography by Nanne Springer, 2023

Miya Turnbull: Inward, Outwards
Solo Exhibition

Acadia University Art Gallery
Wolfville, NS

Nov 12th, 2022 - Feb 7th, 2023

Curated by Dr. Laurie Dalton

Read Exhibit Highlights Here

Halifax Photoshoot: Self-Portrait Masks