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Photo of Miya with her masks at the JCCC gallery, 2019. Photo credit: Marjene Matsunaga Turnbull 

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Miya Turnbull is a multi-disciplinary visual artist of mixed Japanese Canadian ancestry. She grew up on a farm in Alberta and graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2000. She is primarily a mask maker, but also works in many mediums such as painting, photography, textiles, video, animation, projection, and new to her practise is performance. She focuses in on Self-Portrait- using her Photo-Mask technique to make life-like representations of her face, often distorting and manipulating her image in various ways, which she then wears as a 'false face' or 'second skin'. By keeping her image a constant, Miya is able to experiment with multiple iterations and further explore her heritage, experiences, perceptions and inner world, making these visible, tangible and wearable. 


She has exhibited her masks, photos and video in galleries throughout Canada and internationally. In 2022, she exhibited in Toronto, Florida, Vermont, Italy, France, Greece, the UK, Germany and across Nova Scotia. In 2023 she performed live with her masks in collaboration with dance artist Shion Skye Carter through CanAsian Dance, presenting their work in Montreal and Toronto. She was in a group exhibit at the Bonavista Biennale in Newfoundland, Canada and at the Esker Foundation in Calgary, Alberta. In 2024, she is a part of group exhibits at the Nelson Museum, Archives and Gallery in BC, at the Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver, and in China at the SEEWELL International Art Centre and a solo exhibit at the Shintani Gallery in Toronto. She collaborated with Japanese Butoh Dancer Emiko Agatsuma and Edmonton based Musician in Halifax this past Spring, presenting their work together at the end of June 2024 in Halifax, NS. 


Her artwork has been on the cover of 4 magazines: Visual Arts News (Atlantic Canada), The Bulletin/Geppo (Vancouver), Art Reveal (Germany) and Masks Literary Magazine (Columbia College Chicago Library), as well as featured on digital platforms such as Vogue (Thailand), Planted Journal (Italy), Gata Magazine (Japan), Oficina Palimpsestus (Brazil), The Perfect Magazine (UK), Based Istanbul (Turkey) and FoxyLab Magazine New York (US). Miya's artwork was presented at the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival in Bristol, UK (2021) by Dr. Nataliya Tchermalykh (University of Geneva), and her masks were used in a short film by Aïssa Maïga called "Nô Feminist" which premiered at the 75th Cannes Film Festival (May 2022).


Miya currently lives in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia), on the east coast of Canada, on ancestral and unceded land of the Mi'kmaq People. She has been very fortunate and grateful to receive the support of Arts NS and Canada Council for the Arts, which has allowed her artwork to flourish.

Most of my masks are not for purchase since I often exhibit them together as a body, however you can always make me an offer for any particular mask.

Please inquire about purchasing any photographs of my work and/or any of the origami pieces. 


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Miya now has a Patreon page. If you love her art and want to help her keep going, please consider a small monthly contribution. Read more here.

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