About Suritah Teresa Wignall
Suritah’s talent as a visual artist was recognized at an early age and nurtured by several mentors and teachers. In 1998 she connected with a group of dynamic young Canadians of diverse cultural backgrounds who were devoted to the exploration of both self and social identity through art. After an extensive exploration of many themes, Suritah’s art-making now centers on her commitment to honoring the African Diaspora by portraying its beauty, strength and legacy. She is equally passionate about her community as she is about her art. She is a social activist and women's rights advocate who has made community work one of her most cherished missions. For more than a decade, she has worked on numerous community arts projects in cross-cultural settings across Toronto. She studied the Assaulted Women's Child Counselor Advocate (AWCCA) program at George Brown College and is a graduate of the Business Entrepreneurship program offered by the Toronto Business Development Centre.
Suritah knew that if she wanted to accomplish her goals in life that it would take dedication and patience, spending long hours in libraries and in community centers researching grants, bursaries and any other available community or corporate support that would financially enable her work.
Grants have allowed Suritah to pursue her artistic and musical passions locally, nationally and internationally.With an 80% success rate, she has received more than $58, 000 in funding to further her art career, facilitate workshops and participate in educational courses and residencies. Grants have given Suritah international reach. She was able to train in Flamenco singing in Seville, Spain, where she also had her first Spanish solo art exhibit. Suritah’s company, Sweet Like Mango Creations Inc, has collaborated with established International artists like Erykah Badu. She has participated in both solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the United States. At home in Canada, her paintings were chosen for the set of the TV pilot of Trey Anthony's DA KINK IN MY HAIR, Da Kink In My Hair Art Show, Manifesto's 5th annual art show at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). She has also designed the dressing rooms of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Floetry, Maxwell, Goapelle, Femi Kuti and Alicia Keys for their Toronto performances.
Her art is in permanent collections at Ryerson University and the YMCA of Toronto. Collectors of Suritah’s art include acclaimed American actress Vanessa L Williams, award-winning Toronto poet D'bi Young and award winning, and International musical artists Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. Suritah has designed the album cover for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Jazz Compilation and the cover for D’bi Young’s Book, Rivers and Other Blackness between Us. In 2011, Suritah received the Dr. Paul Garfinkle Award for entrepreneurial achievement from the University of Toronto.
In 2009, she was awarded an Ontario Arts Council grant to teach mask making workshops that also serve as a space for open dialogue for women of color. She also received funding from The Toronto Arts Council and The Laidlaw Foundation in 2010 for her continued work in underserved communities. In 2012, She received the Residency Grant to train in Flamenco Singing and the Travel Grant to have her first solo exhibit in Spain. And in 2014, Suritah received continued funding to further her studies in Flamenco Singing.
Suritah continues to prove that with hard work, bravery and dedication you can truly lead the life you want. She lives with her husband in Spain and divides her time between there and Toronto, training in music and pursuing her art career across continents.