Press Release: Introducing Cohort V of RBC Desire Lines

VIBE Arts is pleased to introduce the fifth cohort of our RBC Desire Lines program. 

RBC Desire Lines began in 2019 as a two-year art-in-mentorship program awarding young, emerging artists the opportunity to exhibit their work in subway stations across Toronto after attending a wide offering of professional development workshops. The program is now wrapping up its fifth cohort thanks to funding from RBC Foundation. Each year, a cohort of equity-seeking youth artists receive employment and mentorship opportunities to lead and curate their own hands-on art experiences for children and youth.

You can view their original artwork in TTC stations across the city throughout the month of April. 

Get to know the RBC Desire Lines V Artists: 

André López: André López is a Multidisciplinary Artist, Tattoo Artist, Creative Mentor, and Arts Educator. André’s intention is to inspire creative expression, and to share Art that encourages community healing, collective liberation, and Love. “I’m excited for the programming this project will support me in offering. I’m excited to share art and playshops with the community.” 

Harmeet Rehal: Harmeet is a Sikh-Panjabi, multidisciplinary artist, educator and community organizer. ”I feel really honoured to have access to this opportunity and the kid version of me would have dreamed of doing something like this!” 

Joaquín Varela: Joaquín’s work is centered around the idea of placekeeping, by creating work that stands as a reminder of the unique natural heritage that either has become rare in our area or once was here. A reminder of what makes our backyard special. “I feel honored to be able to share my work and to be able to brighten up the underground with some nature, hopefully inspiring folks to explore their local greenspaces.” 

Keosha Love: ​Keosha Love is a born storyteller who carries passion everywhere she goes. The multi-hyphenate intersects art, wellness, social change and culture throughout her work and is the founder of Our Women’s Voices & Black & Vulnerable. 

Michelle Celia Ruiz: Michelle Ruiz, a rising artist from the 6ix, communicates her culture, community, and life experiences through her art. She is dedicated to amplifying voices unheard, she aims to create pieces that resonate with the silenced. “In my artistic journey, growth is a constant concept for me. Every brush stroke, every creation, is another step forward. Exploring new techniques and embracing challenges is like unlocking new chapters of self-discovery. It’s not just about my art work; it’s about evolving as an artist, finding my unique style with every piece that I produce.” 

Sarah Okello: Sarah is a Ugandan Canadian Artist that is inspired by what’s behind the obvious and the vulnerabilities of being human. She sees all the little details and magnifies them in her work. “It feels like a firm step. All the different steps that I’ve taken with VIBE feel like they’ve prepped me for this. Using all the tools and walking in the knowledge of my work ethic and talent that VIBE has affirmed and re-affirmed in me gave me space to play confidently.” 

Soka Lazara: A Mississauga-based artist who uses photography to explore themes of identity, family lineage, storytelling, and her own lived experiences. “Having my artwork be something the general public gets to see on their commute feels amazing. I hope it brings folks some joy and brightness.” 

SRE: Meet a dynamic musical force, a creator of boundless energy and innovation. This artist fuses vibrant rhythms with electrifying beats, sculpting a sonic landscape that resonates with passion and creativity. “I feel proud of myself to know that the city I grew up in and witnessed art all over the TTC has now come where I am going to be that person that someone else will be able to look at and have that goal as well. This opportunity is amazing for any artist that never thought something like this would happen to them.”  

Tristan Sauer: Tristan Sauer is a New Media Artist and Curator exploring technology, capitalism, and our digital and physical worlds through an Afro-futuristic lens. “It feels extremely rewarding and exciting to be given such a large and public platform that has the potential to be seen by hundreds of people a day. I am extremely excited to hear and witness public reactions and interpretations of my work.” 

Want to look back at the previous Desire Lines cohorts? Visit the online gallery showcasing their work.

Desire Lines is made possible by RBC and presented in partnership with PATTISON Outdoor Advertising. Cohort V of Desire Lines is presented with additional funding from Herschel Supply Co.