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Alumni Profiles

Alison S.M.

Alison S.M. Kobayashi

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Year of Graduation: 2009
Program: Art and Art History

Inspired by the Lives of Others

Alison Kobayashi calls herself an “identity contortionist”. Through her performances, videos, drawings and photography, Alison embodies the lives of others, inspired by her extensive collection of lost, discarded and donated objects. Her latest solo exhibition, Personality Unlimited opens on December 12, 2014 at Artscape Youngplace in Toronto. Check it out here.

Born and raised in Mississauga, Alison is now based in New York. Alison has been the Director of Special Projects at UnionDocs, a center for documentary arts in Brooklyn, since 2013. “I was fortunate to come to New York and be immediately situated inside of a creative community through UnionDocs,” says Alison, who is married to UnionDocs’ founder and artistic/executive director, Christopher Allen. “I am in contact with people from wildly different disciplines who are able to meet on common ground.”

A 2009 graduate of the Art and Art History program, Alison was originally enrolled in the Communication, Culture and Information Technology program. “Instructors Sandra Reicho and Lois Andison - both prolific artists who had a great influence on me early on - suggested I become an Art and Art History major,” explains Alison.

Clearly, it was a good choice, as her art has been exhibited and screened at such venues as The Power Plant, Jakarta International Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Bilbao International Film Festival, and The Flaherty International Film Seminar. She was commissioned by Les Subsistances (international creative research lab in Lyon, France) to develop and stage her first live performance, Defense Mechanism, in 2012.

In spite of her growing international reputation, Alison remains connected to Toronto. “Many of my projects and exhibitions come from opportunities at Toronto-based institutions which gives me the chance to spend time in the city. I’m also lucky to have friends and collaborators doing very inspiring work there. I love visiting Oakville Galleries and try to go there as often as possible to check out their programming.”

Alison has also returned to Sheridan to speak to current Art and Art History students.

Learn more about Sheridan’s Art and Art History program, a joint degree program with the University of Toronto, Mississauga.

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