Brampton Arts Organization Ambassadors
A dynamic and diverse group of successful artists, the BAO Ambassadors are committed to helping the Brampton arts and culture scene flourish while connecting with other engaged and inspired creative thinkers and doers. Ambassadors support the Brampton Arts Organization's advocacy efforts, help advise and comment on our artist resources and programming, and raise awareness of our organization and the artists we serve across the City of Brampton. With expert knowledge, industry connections and lived experience here at home, they both inspire and mentor up-and-coming talent.
Inaugural BAO Ambassadors
Rupi Kaur is a poet, artist, and performer. A breakout literary phenomenon and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Rupi Kaur wrote, illustrated, and self-published her first poetry collection, milk and honey in 2014. Next came its artistic siblings the sun and her flowers and home body, both debuting at #1 on bestseller lists across the world. These collections have sold more than 11 million copies and have been translated into over 43 languages. Most recently in 2022- she released her 4th book Healing Through Words which is a journey of guided writing exercises to help the reader explore their creativity.
Rupi Kaur graces stages across the globe on sold-out world tours. These shows are a poetic theatrical experience interlaced with her own touch of stand-up. Her work touches on love, loss, trauma, healing, femininity, and migration. She feels most at home when creating art, performing her poetry onstage, and spending time with family and friends.
I grew up in Brampton and it's where my love for poetry and performance began. Our local artists are incredibly talented and I’m thrilled to be an ambassador for the Brampton Arts Organization. We can all be doing more to uplift our local arts and culture so I hope you’ll join me in attending events, exploring the programs, and supporting our local artists. BAO is doing amazing work for our community and you can be involved today.
Julien Christian Lutz, P.K.A. Director X, is one of the most iconic music video directors of our time, known for his work with Drake, Rihanna, Rosalia, and Kendrick Lamar among many others. As a filmmaker, Julien debuted his first Sony studio feature film, Superfly, produced by the legendary Joel Silver. As an artist, Julien has created art installations for Toronto's Nuit Blanche: "Death of the Sun," which was also featured in Drake's "Boy Meets World" European tour, and "Life of The Earth," in collaboration with the Ontario Science Center.
Using his platform for social change, Julien founded Operation Prefrontal Cortex, an initiative dedicated to reducing gun violence through mindfulness and meditation. A highly sought-after speaker, Julien's talks hit on creativity, innovation, wellness, and community, and how bettering ourselves and those around us is the way to ensure a more peaceful, compassionate world.
With twenty-one feature films and three short films under his producing belt in the past dozen years, David has worked with Hollywood's biggest and brightest. In 2022 he was an executive producer on "Savage Salvation" starring Robert De Niro and John Malkovich, "Hot Seat" starring Kevin Dillon and Mel Gibson; and produced two Canadian thrillers: "Civil" starring Jasmine Mathews and Devon Sawa, and "Eumenides Falls" starring Nicholas Campbell. In addition to this, he also produced a series of four movies called "The Love Club" for Nikki Ray Media that air on Hallmark (and the W Network) in 2023. Last year, his dark comedy "Eat Wheaties!" was released which won the San Diego Film Festival and starred Emmy Winner Tony Hale, Elisha Cuthbert and Paul Walter Hauser. During the pandemic times, his film "Mighty Oak" starring Janel Parrish and Rayven Simone was released in drive-ins across the USA by Paramount Pictures; and his award-winning biopic film "The Maestro," which starred Xander Berkeley, was shortlisted for a Producer's Guild Award.
In Brampton, David attended Lester B. Pearson and then St. Thomas Aquinas where he performed in many plays which led him to audition for Ryerson University, where he graduated. His career began co-hosting "Video and Arcade Top Ten" on YTV before working as an actor at The Stratford Festival for multiple seasons. After moving to LA, David began his producing career in 2010 with three films: the well-received "L!fe Happens" starring Kate Bosworth and Kristen Ritter; the Christmas movie "A Holiday Heist" starring Lacey Chabert, Vivica A. Fox, and Chris Kattan; and the comedy "Boy Toy" starring Morgan Fairchild. David's films have won him over thirty awards at film festivals around the globe. He is a member of the PGA and the DGC and splits his time between Ontario amd California.
Growing up in the richly diverse Brampton culture helped me find my passion for entertainment: from Speech Contests at the local Legion to performing in high school/community plays at the Heritage and Lester B. Pearson Theatres. The support from a few mentors led me to pursue arts and be cast at the Stratford Festival, host a show on YTV, and act in movies before turning to producing - where I've been fortunate to have made feature films with some of Hollywood's biggest and brightest stars. I continue to be proud of my Brampton roots and there's a bunch of us in California. Brampton has always been a city filled with potential and I hope with new programs young artists can get even more support than I did. I'm grateful to be an ambassador for BAO and help the exciting work they're doing to continue to grow the artistic community, shape lives, and inspire the entertainment leaders of tomorrow.
Sasha Leigh Henry
Sasha Leigh Henry is a writer, director, and producer. Her most recent film, Sinking Ship, penned by her creative partner Tania Thompson, debuted at TIFF 2020 and went on to win the 2021 Vimeo Staff Pick Award at Aspen Shortsfest. Her film Bitches Love Brunch screened internationally before being acquired by CBC Gem. As a producer, Sasha has helped bring numerous films to screen, including Randall Okita's Canadian Screen Award winner The Lockpicker, Kelly Fyffe-Marshall's award-winning short film Black Bodies, and most recently Fyffe-Marshall's debut feature, When Morning Comes. Sasha is currently in development with New Metric Media for an original comedy series, Bria Mack Gets a Life, about a millennial black woman and her imaginary hype girl. A frequent panellist and speaker, Sasha is also an alumna of POV 3rd Street, Black Women Film!, 2020's TIFF Filmmaker Lab and a TIFF Netflix Talent Accelerator Fellow.
Having grown up in the City of Brampton and as an alumni of our accredited regional arts programming, I'm honoured to be an ambassador for the Brampton Arts Organization. Brampton is home to many of the country's biggest musicians, actors, and performers and I'm proud to share a history with them by way of hometown. From artist commissions to workshops and showcases, BAO is a great hub and resource for artists of all practices to meet each other, grow, and ultimately thrive as artists. I'm excited to be a part of this arts community and look forward to connecting with other Brampton artists in the city.
Haviah Mighty didn't need to change her birth name when she decided to dedicate her career to music. Mighty could not better describe Haviah's craft of provocative challenges and uncompromising truths. Based out of Brampton via Toronto, Haviah has spent a lifetime developing her skills as a songwriter, vocalist, producer, and performer, culminating in a style of profound introspection and incisive socio-political critique.
Her dynamic combinations of rap, song, and instrumental transition seamlessly from hip-hop to soul to afrobeats with a meticulous flow and cadence that transcends any traditional expectation of genre.
Throughout the past decade, Kiran has used her platform to primarily focus on addressing taboos within the South Asian community through short films, documentaries and digital series. Her short films, Ananke (garnered over 1 million views on YouTube) and Haneri, have gone on screening tours around the world, and have often been used by university and college curriculums and student organizations as teaching tools. This led her to co-produce and star in 28 episodes of the hit web-series Anarkali, which reached approximately 2 million views across all seasons. The Brown Bachelorette, the parody web-series which Kiran starred, co-wrote and directed, helped cultivate her comedic screenwriting. She has been able to create meaningful and critical dialogue through her work.
She is the co-founder of The Kollective, a BIPOC-focused creative agency that aims to create opportunities for artists while supporting smaller businesses with branding strategies. And though her passion is in the arts, her heart is focused on community and mental health. She has facilitated and hosted over 50+ workshops around the world. With her talk show Cha Da Cup With KayRay now airing on Brit Asia TV, her work continues to be recognized by the likes of Vogue, The Toronto Star, NBC News, BBC, CBC and Cosmopolitan.
As a young artist growing up in this flourishing city, it always felt like something was missing. There was a complete disconnect between creatives around me and access to the city's resources. Finally, in my 10+ years of being an artist, there's an organization that truly wants to create more spaces that will elevate Brampton's arts and culture. Where there's a partnership and alliance that will allow artists to feel supported and celebrated. I am excited to be an ambassador of this wonderful organization and can't wait to shift the narrative!
Russna Kaur is an artist living and working in Vancouver but originally from Brampton. Selected solo exhibitions include at Wil Aballe Art Projects (2021); A Room With A View Gallery in Toronto (2021); Veil of Tears at Trapp Projects in Vancouver (2019); and She was there for a while… at The Fort Gallery in Langley (2019). Selected group exhibitions include at Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art (2022); at Mónica Reyes Gallery (2021); Holding a line in your hand at Kamloops Art Gallery (2021); Keep for Old Memoirs at Young Space Spring 2020 Online, curated with Celine Mo of VICTORI+MO Gallery in New York, NY (2020); Leaning Out of Windows at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2020); and the heart is the origin of your worldview at Art Toronto with Cooper Cole (2019). In 2021, she was commissioned to create an artwork for the second instalment of the Boren Banner Series, public art initiative at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle.
Kaur is the recipient of the Takao Tanabe Painting Prize (2020) for emerging painters in British Columbia and the IDEA Art Award (2020). She was awarded the Gathie Falk Visual Arts Scholarship (2019), the University Women's Club of Vancouver Graduate Scholarship (2017), an Audain Faculty of Art Graduate Teaching Fellowship (2018) and was shortlisted for the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Scholarship (2018). She has been an artist-in-residence at the Burrard Arts Foundation (2020) in Vancouver which concluded in a solo exhibition, Suddenly her lips sharpened – it was splendid. Kaur received the Centrum Emerging Artist Residency (2020) in Port Townsend, Washington. Her work is a part of several collections including the Audain Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery and Surrey Art Gallery. She holds an MFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2019), and an BA (Honours) with a studio specialization from the University of Waterloo (2013).
I am extremely excited to join the Brampton Arts Organization as an Ambassador! Growing up in the City of Brampton has had a significant influence on my painting practice and has played a vital role in shaping some of the ways in which I approach my materials and surfaces. The city is rich with a diverse range of visual information - our homes, shopping malls, restaurants, sports centres, flea markets, movie theatres, bowling alleys, libraries, parks and trails have served as a source of inspiration for my work. Peeling back the layers of our community has helped me to better understand the subtleties and complexities of identity - what we choose to reveal and conceal about ourselves. The City of Brampton is filled with hard working, talented individuals and I am looking forward to playing a part in advocating for the arts in Brampton and providing members of our community with the tools needed to realize their full creative potential!
Theodore Walker Robinson
Theodore Walker Robinson (they/them) is the Executive Director of Lakeshore Arts, an arts service organization funded by the City of Toronto. They are an artist, curator, writer and HIV/AIDS activist. They are the Vice Chair of Moyo Health and Community Services Board of Directors, a leading HIV/AIDS Service and Harm Reduction service organization serving the Region of Peel. They are also a Board Member of Black Mental Health Canada. Theodore's work explores the transformative and healing power of creative expression through the arts.
It's a privilege to represent the Brampton Arts Organization as an ambassador. My life's practice of creative arts has been influenced by local artists who have created spaces for social change and social connection. When creativity is celebrated and explored by a community we can attune ourselves to what is possible for us as individuals and as a community.
Spitty is an Indian rapper from Brampton, Canada who is building buzz with a dedicated fanbase. His music embodies a thoughtful yet energetic nature as he strives to motivate listeners through his songs. South Asian samples and instruments blend with North American influences to generate his unique approach to hip hop.
Highlighting his national and global reach, Spitty’s debut album Full Circle was a hit around the world, receiving praise from everyone including Rolling Stone India and Much Music Canada. Off the strength of the album, Spitty curated and headlined a sold-out Toronto concert and performed several dozen times in the surrounding area before taking his music on the road for a six-week USA tour in early 2022. He quickly followed this up with the 22 show Full Circle Tour, spanning several cities in USA and Canada. This includes Canadian Music Week, DesiFest at Yonge-Dundas Square, LAUNCH Music Festival, NXNE, opening for Kardinal Offishall and much more.