I developed the love for the game of basketball through my dad. When I was a baby he used to sit me on his lap and have me watch Michael Jordan, (when the Chicago Bulls were at their best). I was always surrounded by basketball, especially because my older brother played, there was a basketball court outside of our apartment building and basketball was always on our TV. As a child I would try and mimic players like Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson, as ESPN showed their unbelievable highlights. Once I entered middle school it was the beginning to something great. I was finally playing organized basketball for the Scarborough Blues Club team and at my middle school; Charles Gordon Sr. Public School. At that age I was wowing crowds with dunks, which no one had really seen before. This gave me the opportunity to play for the great Coach Ro Russell, who is the founder of Grassroots Canada Elite. Playing for this organization has brought me places I would have never imagined. From Detroit to Virginia, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, and Texas. I’ve done really well at these tournaments which carried on to my first year of High school at Chaminade College School. After that year Coach Ro and I saw that I could have a future in basketball. We thought it would be a good idea to go off to the United States to evolve my game and play against better competition. So he sent me to Montverde Academy which is located in Florida. That year was probably the hardest year of my life but also the most helpful year. Going away at 15 years old forced me to learn how to do things I’ve never done before like laundry, shopping and living without my family. The competition was also unreal. This really opened up my eyes and I appreciated the game more and wanted to really get better as a player and more importantly as a student athlete. From then on I made sure my grades were the best I could get and I was always working on my game. After that year I transferred to be with my trainer/coach; Ryan Schmidt at 22ft Academy. At first the program wasn’t really stable. We moved around quite a bit considering we did not having a lot of money and schools not being able to accept a bunch of international students. It came down to us living in motels trying to find somewhere to establish our new program. We finally settled in Kentucky from starting in North Carolina, but with all the moving around and being out of school, it forced us to do online schooling so we could catch up with all the school we missed. The next year we settled in South Carolina. As a second year program we still had our struggles not having a lot of money and a lot of food compared to most programs. But we made the most out of it. I then finished my high school in Arizona under Elite 1 Academy, a first year program.
My art teacher didn’t believe in erasers. Mistakes were meant to happen. An extra line or misplaced eyelash was the destiny of the paper. It is the artist’s duty to transform the error into a masterpiece. My art teacher also didn’t believe in painting until you’ve fully understood the techniques of drawing. The relationship between pencil and paper must be nourished through practice and patience before one can confidently initiate the relationship between brush, paint and canvas. I started art classes at the age of 6 and I filled up almost 4 sketch books before moving on to the world of brush strokes and colour experimenting at the age of 8. My art teacher passed on his wisdom down to every student. It is his philosophies that account for my current love for art. For me, it is more than just a method of illustrating my talent, it is an outlet of self expression. I have learnt over the years how to incorporate my personality into my paintings, through vibrant colours, gracious female figures and abstract components. The juxtaposition of these visual aspects is what creates consistency among my most recent artworks. As an amateur artist, I continue to aspire to make a name for myself. It would be a dream come true to have an audience who could recognize the unique style and common theme in my pieces. After my very first vernissage (art exhibition) in December 2015 at Cafe Nostalgica on the University of Ottawa campus, I feel as if I am one step closer to realizing that dream. I certainly cannot fail to mention the impact my parents have unceasingly had since day one of my art career. It is their encouragement and appreciation for my hard work that has kept me wanting to pursue my passions rather than privately painting for family members and displaying my drawings in my dad’s home office. They never fail to inspire and strengthen my so called “gift”. From framing my first painted landscape at the age of 8, to driving 6 hours on icy highways from Toronto just to surprise me at my first vernissage in Ottawa, I am forever grateful for their unfathomable support and acts of love. For now, art remains a hobby. However, I do commissions on the side and am always open to paint & draw for anyone anytime. Feel free to contact me through email with artwork requests. Lastly, look out for my website launch this summer, which I will announce on my instagram.
My name is Tara Jam and music has had the greatest impact on my life. As a toddler, my father used to pay Beatles’ songs around the house and my sisters and I would dance on tables while singing along. Ever since those days, my father has always pushed me further into the music field because he saw potential. I self taught myself to play several instruments such as the guitar, the ukulele, the harp, and the piano. I play the flute and the picolo as well, but voice has always been my favourite. When I was six years old, I wrote my first song with the help of my father, and I decided to start fundraising concerts to raise money for different things such as orphans in Sierra Leone, malaria nets, school supplies in India, and to buy goats there too. I have been working with the Red Cross for many years now, and still volunteer at the “Get Out of the Cold” Program to help give the homeless a meal. I have almost completed my Conservatory Of Music for Opera, and I hope to pursue a career in the music production industry in the future or in concurrent education. It’s crazy to think that I went from dancing on the table singing “TWIST AND SHOUT, TWIST AND SHOUT” to writing two songs and having them published on iTunes. I wrote and composed two songs “Dependent” and “Safe To Stay” and I thankfully received so much support from family and friends. Song writing is a way for me to escape anything on my mind, and it’s mostly my excuse for not doing my homework. I don’t know where I would be today without music, because it gives me a purpose and allows me to express myself easily. I am a regular 18 year old, and I swear I would be nowhere without my family’s support. I hope one day I can spoil my parents the way they spoil me. Never take your family for granted, because at the end of the day they will be there for you more than anyone that comes into your life.
My name is Roxana Jam and I’m a fifteen year old girl from Toronto. Every since I was little, my sisters and I were very adventurous and outgoing. The three of us started with gymnastics for a couple of years then moved on to a dance company for another three years. When I was seven years old, my dad decided for us to join the circus. No, not literally but go to a circus arts studio called Wonderful World of Circus. At first, I thought it was going to be a bunch of scary clowns with elephants tigers and seals juggling. But boy was I wrong! The first time I stepped foot into the gym, I was in awe. I was so in love with the place I invited all my cousins and family to come join me at the studio. This place had trampolines, trapeze, aerial silks, acrobatics, tightrope, you name it! I felt like I was in a indoor playground built just for me. I’ve now been training in circus arts for the past nine years, and to this day love learning new and never ending moves on aerial silks. I guess you can say aerial silks are my strength but I’m pretty comfortable with the other equipment such as aerial hoop, contortion, swinging trapeze, trampoline, rings, and aerial strap. I preform and teach for birthdays, shows and other events, and am now a staff. In other words, I get paid for something I love doing; teaching kids to have fun. The reason why I still do Circus arts is because it’s such a unique sport. Rather than competing, I’m performing. I’m flying through the air while striking poses and spiralling my body into and out of various positions. In gymnastics, I feel like there is more stress on you in competing. But it’s different when I preform… I feel free. I look at circus arts as I look at life. Go with the flow, be flexible, have fun and be prepared to fall.
A couple weeks ago I took part in a poetry slam at Capital Slam here in Canada’s capital …Ottawa! It was my second time performing at this slam or any slam in general for that matter. I saw some familiar faces and I knew the heat some of the performers were going to bring. For those of you who don’t know much about poetry slams, or have associated poetry events to those in films such as 22 Jump Street. A poetry slam is essentially a competition where poets get on a stage and perform their poems that are then judged. At Capital Slam there is a 3 minute time limit for poems, poems are judged by randomly selected members of the audience on a scale of 1-10 and there are 2 rounds. You can write about anything and perform however you like. I’ve been to quite a few poetry slams mostly in Toronto and I’m usually blown away by the talent and content of the poems. I would say the best poetry slam I’ve been to was for Unity Charity in Toronto a few years back. I was astonished by the age of most contestants, the delivery and style of poems , lyricism and ultimately the impact they had on me. For the longest time I’ve wanted to perform in competitions and even though I never did I thank Unity Charity for giving me a start in spoken word and for exposing me to the culture and letting me get of taste of the community I one day hope to be a part of. The poetry scene in Toronto is really bumping and since I’ve come to Ottawa, I’ve hoped to get connected with the poetry scene here. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to it and haven’t had much luck. Personally, from what I’ve seen there isn’t as large of a platform for this art form here… yet. I know there are events that take place around the city, I may be mistaken but it’s hard to find accurate information and details online regarding these events. I will continue to look around and update. If anyone out there knows of any poetry slams going on in the greater Ottawa area feel free to give me a shout!