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Lani (L.) Zastre

L (Lani Zastre) was born in 1980 in Winnipeg, but grew up in Alberta. She loved drawing and creating as soon as she could pick up a pencil. After a 12-year break and a period of trauma, she re-started her art in earnest three years ago. Meanwhile, she had studied art history; earned a BSW degree and trained in Disability studies; worked as a social worker; and owned Dregs, a café and gallery in Osborne Village that attracted local writers, artists, and musicians. L participates in community organizations like Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba and has a permanent series of work hanging at Chicago’s Awakenings Foundation Gallery, which promotes artistic expression by sexual violence survivors. 

L currently works in ink, pencil, acrylic, and watercolour on paper; she makes collages; and has started printmaking, which she plans to continue. She makes realistic portraits and figure drawings, aided by her own photos, but says, “Abstraction is the new normal for me.” Some of L’s abstract paintings seem to suggest land topography. She has constructed a box referencing residential schools entitled “Dear Church, Please don’t let the little children…. 

L says art allows her to communicate her ideas on social justice beyond what can be said in words. It also lets her connect with others, fostering an intimate exchange of stories while she works on their commissioned portraits. 


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