art projects & residency


UNPACK STUDIO is an independent platform for artistic collaboration based in Toronto, Canada. It is aimed at coordinating and curating contemporary art projects.

Our mandate is to provide a context for aesthetic research developed in the cultural, linguistic and political articulations of knowledge, particularly reflecting on the understandings of migration, race, gender and power. We are interested in investigations aimed at exploring the conceptual intersections and points of rupture of these definitions.

We seek to potentiate artworks that reflect on the negotiations that discrete concepts and fields of knowledge are subjected to when extrapolated to other cultural spaces or disciplines, whether through life experience or research. Our objective is to promote the work of artists and curators that question the validity of definitions as absolutes, in light of the trans-disciplinary nature of contemporary thinking.



The UNPACK STUDIO Havana Art Residency is open to visual artists, curators and researchers interested in developing projects in Cuba. The self-directed residency runs from three to seven weeks and includes meeting with an internationally recognized art contact, interaction with the Havana art scene, independent workdays and possible presentations to the public.

The artist can create local-foreign collaborations, interact with contemporary Cuban practitioners and give Cuban art students the opportunity to see diverse practices. Creatives can research, produce new work individually or in collaboration, network with artists, art students, galleries, curators, and explore Havana.

Unpack Studio residency is strategically situated in Vedado, a central and popular neighbourhood of Havana, with easy access to all areas of the city (view map). There is walking distance access to food markets, stores, internet wifi spots, jazz bars, swimming pools, art galleries, cinemas and theatres.


Blogging from Havana

Ella Jones-Moore about her work

My paintings use Cubism to explore the tensions and contradictions between race and class in South- East London, the community in which I grew up. Presenting these histories alongside those of Cubism, I highlight Cubism’s own relationship with Colonialism, moving back and forth between history and the present, the centre and the periphery, challenging the Cubist form whilst pushing it to represent more.

I first joined the Unpack residency in March 2020 hoping to explore the de-Colonial Modernism of Wifredo Lam. I spent two weeks exploring Havana and settling in before Coronavirus hit and I had to leave the country!

After two years, I was finally able to return to the residency in November 2022. Whilst it was frustrating waiting, I was able to return knowing what to expect and what I wanted to accomplish. Much has changed in Cuba since my last visit; however, I was able to hit the ground running and get straight into working. In my first three weeks I have attended a two-day conference on race and gender, visited the national gallery twice with the curator Dannys Montes de Oca and once with an esteemed curator from Brazil, visited many galleries, attended openings and met with artists and curators. Most importantly I have been able to spend time in the studio, working on a painting which is taking form in response to these experiences and what I am learning along the way. In a short amount of time, the residency is already pushing my work in new directions, and I am excited to continue the journey.

At Unpack Studio Havana Art Residency

By Pink Painter ARRIVAL I had visited Havana previously in 2017/18 so my expectations were similar to that. On that first visit I stayed near the University on a very noisy road with zero Internet. This visit was very different, firstly the neighbourhood of Vedado is quiet. Tree lined residential streets near parks and little… Read Full Post

Pink in her own words

Born and raised in London, UK, I have exhibited in the UK, Greece, Amsterdam,  Berlin and America. I went to art college in my 40’s and decided very early on that sculpture and installation art would be my preference. I create sculptural pieces within installation settings to generate questions, rather than creating aesthetically pleasing objects.… Read Full Post

Dana Moody does it again: UNPACK 2022

After two years in COVID isolation, Cuba is open and ready to welcome you!   …This was music to my ears!  In 2019 I was awarded a research sabbatical from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to further my work in Cuba… but then came the pandemic.  Delayed, I entered the sabbatical this past January… Read Full Post

My stay at Unpack by David Dorais

My stay at Unpack Studio has been amazing. One of the main reasons why I wanted to go there was to finally – after this busy, crazy last year – find some time to work on my next book. That I found, but so much more also. I met a wonderful fantasy and sci-fi writer… Read Full Post

David Dorais first days in Havana

I arrived here about a week ago and I’m not sure if I have recovered from the shock of discovering Havana. Randomly assemble Parisian hotels with Sovietic tenement houses, add splashes of turquoise and yellow, patches of jungle, and boat-size Chevrolets, sprinkle in many stray cats and then bombard the hell out this place, you’ve… Read Full Post

David Dorais: Unpack next Resident

David Dorais is a French-speaking writer from Québec (Canada). He has published eight books so far, including novels, essays, and collections of short stories. His work deals mostly with fantasy and the imaginary. He has a Ph.D. in French Literature (McGill University), a subject he teaches at the pre-university level. He has published fiction and… Read Full Post

Dana Moody’s 2nd Residency in Havana

This was my second trip to Havana and my second opportunity to work with the wonderful people at Unpack Studio. My project, Havana: Behind the Façade, is an ongoing effort to document Cuban architecture and current preservation practices in Havana. This was accomplished through meeting with and interviewing preservationist professionals and by building a photographic… Read Full Post

Exploring Everyday Digital Practices in Havana

UNPACK STUDIO ART RESIDENCY PROGRAM BLOG POST BY JULIE RAUSENBERGER Someone once told me that you can look at Cuba in three different ways: through the eyes of a tourist, through the government’s perspective, and through the Cuban citizens’ perception. When I first traveled to Cuba in 2016 as an anthropology student studying solidarity tourism, I… Read Full Post

Cuba report. Mayu Shirai @UNPACK

I stayed in Cuba for around one month from August 13th to September 14th. After staying in NYC for 2 years, I decided to stop by Cuba before going back to Japan. I had 3 reasons why I wanted to stay in Cuba: First I wanted to see the real social dance culture in Cuba. I like… Read Full Post