Sandra Brewster is a Canadian visual artist based in Toronto whose work has been exhibited nationally and abroad. Through her community-based practice, she engages with themes including identity, representation, and memory, centering a Black presence located in Canada. The daughter of Guyanese-born parents, she is especially attuned to the experiences of people of Caribbean heritage and their ongoing relationships with back home.
In the Blur series, Brewster explores layered experiences of identity – ones that may bridge relationships to Canada and elsewhere, as well as to the present and the past. She is influenced by vernacular photographs, particularly images of Caribbean Canadians not long after their arrival in this country. The subjects within the frame radiate anticipation and seem to be preparing for something unknown to them at the time. The artist compares this feeling to the gel transfer process she uses to create her images: she has a general sense of what will unfold, but the end result is still uncertain. The artist directs her subjects to move while she takes their picture. Then, using a gel medium, she transfers her image to a new surface, capturing changes in the creases and tears and empty spaces where ink does not adhere. These layered works capture the effect of existing in a state that defies easy categorization. They evoke the self in motion, embodying time and space, and channeling cultures and stories passed down from generation to generation.
A 2018 Artist in Residence at the AGO, Brewster was also the recipient of the 2018 Artist Prize from the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts. She received a Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto in 2017. She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects.