DEAF CULTURE CENTRE > Visual Arts > Defty Awards > Defty Awards: Visual Arts 2017
Defty Awards: Visual Arts 2017
Artist by : Defty Awards Winners 2017

Celebrating winners of the Defty Youth Awards

for Excellence in the Arts: Visual Arts.



Friday September 22 2017

The Defty Awards promote and recognize the arts of fellow Deaf Canadians.   Under the auspices of the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, the DEAF CULTURE CENTRE along with our sponsor the TD Bank Group proudly present the Defty Youth Awards for Excellence in the Arts:  Visual Arts.  The Defty Awards Gala is held annually in September to coincide with the Deaf Heritage Month proclomation by the World Federation of the Deaf.

Conner Lalonde
Conner Lalonde

Conner Lalonde – Inside the Deaf Eye – De’VIA, Best in Show – Award Winner

  • A recognized Deaf artist who involved in the Deaf Art Expo hosted by Alberta Cultural Society of the Deaf (ACSD), Defty Awards recipient in 2013 at the DEAF CULTURE CENTRE.
  • First introduced to the arts at high school where he discovered his artistic skills. Conner sought out challenges and discovered his passion as a welding artisan and recycling scrap metals to create beautiful sculptural pieces.



Fiona Casey
Fiona Casey

Fiona Casey – A Pathway to Another Time; Death of Love; Sweeping Imagination; Unwrapped – Photography, Best Overall Portfolio – Award Winner

  • Fiona was inspired by the award winning American Photographer, Steve McCurry as known for his National Geographic photograph, Afghan Girl and continues to be inspired daily by feminists, travel, family and friends.
  • She discovered photography during a Rotary xchange Program in Germany in 2013-2014.
  • She wishes to take pictures with hidden messages and emotions that make people think.



Melissa Brunner
Melissa Brunner

Melissa Brunner – Intoxicating (truth) – Painting (pencil), Honourable Mention

  • Emotions can be difficult one to feel, as an empathetic person, what Melissa loves to do the most, is to incorporate emotions into self-portraits with a twist so that others can experience what she feels.
  • She works primarily with self-portraits and using pencils to create portraits of other people and landscapes.



Nabila Din
Nabila Din

Nabila Din – Walking with Umbrella in Winter – De’VIA Emerging Artist Award

  • Began passion in arts with colouring books at age 3. She grew up in oral and hearing schools and had no opportunity to engage with Deaf culture until her family moved to Canada in 2005.
  • Art made her confident and joyful. Nabila is currently studying at George Brown College with an eye towards becoming an artist.



Samreen Aziz
Samreen Aziz

Samreen Aziz – Dangerously Positive; Blue Cell in the River; Alien Octopus; Mother & Children; Path into the Garden; The Lightworker – Painting Portfolio – Honourable Mention

  • Samreen loves to volunteer for different organiations to grow and gain personal experience. She is an art lover, a community lover, and a Deaf community lover in particular.
  • Her art is valuable to her as an expression of creativity easily visible to others. She began drawing as a little girl and her personal goal Is to continue drawing abstract art in her spare time.
  • Art allows her to “speak through the freedom of her mind” – unique, creative and beautiful – “through the naked eyes”.


The DEAF CULTURE CENTRE would like to acknowledge the generous support of the following people who support our efforts to showcase emerging Deaf artists.

Sponsors & Supporters:

Dennie Theodore, Senior Manager, Technology Solutions at the TD Bank GroupTD Bank Group

Habibah Haque, Outreach Administrator at Ontario Arts Council

Peter Kingstone, acting Visual/Media Arts Officer at the Toronto Arts Council

Event Volunteers

Jacob Duprey, Julia Paterson, Melissa Jaganaught, Ruth Albertyn, Timothy Keslick, Vanessa Runions, Greta Davey, Jim Cripps, Matthew Delaney, Rogerraj Sabarantnam, Steven Thauberger, Vanessa Amaral

Interpreters:  Rosalie Vissers, Shannon Schwetz, and Cassie Beckham

Defty Awards Committee

Joanne Cripps, Executive Director

Anita Small, Exhibit Interpretative Planner

Rylyn Lennox, Community Development Coordinator

Amyn Ali, Information Technology Support

SharonGrace Magallon, ASL Engagement Coordinator

Claudia McKoy, Fundraiser & Strategic Coordinator