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Oxygen Art Centre

Oxygen Art Centre transmits a remote residency featuring Z’otz* Collective

Residency: 22 – 28 August 2020

Exhibition: 29 August – 26 September 2020

Z’otz* Collective, Nahúm Flores (Honduras), Erik Jerezano (Mexico), and Ilyana Martínez (Mexico|Canada), take up a remote residency in their Toronto studio while transmitting updates and studio visits through our online platforms. The remote residency takes place from August 22 to 28, 2020.
The residency has been augmented due to the pandemic to ensure the safety of the artists and community, while also offering an intimate glimpse into the collective’s studio.

Z’otz* Collective was formed in Toronto in 2004 by three artists of Latin American heritage; Nahúm Flores, Erik Jerezano, and Ilyana Martínez. In a shared studio, they meet weekly to collaborate on works that incorporate drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, and site-specific installation. Their work connects to the storytelling traditions of their Latin American culture. Through the wording of their titles, the Collective gives hints to the narratives contained within their works, while leaving space for viewers to create their own conclusions.

Z’otz* Collective has shown work at multiple galleries and museums across Canada including Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Dunlop Art Gallery, Union Gallery, YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Cambridge Galleries, and the MacLaren Art Centre. All three members have been awarded grants from the Pollock–Krasner Foundation for their individual practices and have received support from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.


Z’otz is the Mayan word for “bat”. The direct approach of drawing, their primary means of expression, enables them to create quirky subjects and hybrid creatures. They use humour and play to examine the immigrant experiences of displacement, transition and transformation.

To create their works, the artists use a system of rotation: they work on different pieces at the same time and then exchange them. Intuition and chance drive the process, as they respond to each other’s forms and marks. They converse with one another in a language they invent through the act of creating in community.

The residency will take place from 22 – 28 August 2020 and will be available to the public through Oxygen Art Centre’s social media channels and website.

Z’otz* Collective will also present an exhibition at Oxygen Art Centre following their residency. The exhibition will be on view from August 29 to September 26, 2020 during hours of operation, Wednesdays to Saturdays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. More information about pandemic related protocols will be available to visitors on site and on our website and social media channels.

Artist Bios:


Erik Jerezano was born in Mexico City in 1973. He is a self-taught artist who has exhibited in galleries and artist-run centres across Canada and Mexico. He has been awarded grants from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and his work was purchased for the Art Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts. He was involved in community arts projects in Mexico City, where he collaborated on outdoor murals. The indescribable softness of the (often) ironic reflexivity of Jerezano’s work binds together the two places where he has been shaped the most culturally: Mexico City and Toronto.

Nahúm Flores was born in Danlí, Honduras and immigrated to Canada at age 17, after living in Mexico and the US. He holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD University. He has been awarded grants from the Pollock–Krasner Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. His paintings and drawing installations have been widely exhibited in Canada and Central America. He was one of six artists to win the Biennale of Visual Art of Honduras in 2006. This year his work was shown in a solo exhibition entitled “The Inheritors”, at the Museum of National Identity in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Growing up in Honduras, Flores was exposed to a mixture of Catholic and Indigenous beliefs reflected in daily life. His mixed media work is a fusion of drawing and matter that is intuitively processed. This mode of working gives voice to his subconscious, resulting in expressive figures and amorphous forms. Although scenes depicted are often bleak, they also reflect his sense of humour.

Ilyana Martínez was born in Toronto and grew up in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Mexico. She holds a Bachelor of Design from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and majored in Drawing and Painting at the Ontario College of Art & Design. She has been involved in design endeavours with prominent museums such the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (Drumheller), and the National Museum of Art (Mexico City). Ilyana is a recipient of numerous awards for her drawings and paintings, among these, from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour. Her work conjures up places of line, gesture and colour, where contrasting worlds of the urban and the natural coexist and sustain one another to create alternate possibilities. The drawings are layered environmental maps: of the built, of the uncovered, and of the imagined.