Tanya Mars


Tanya Mars is a feminist performance artist who has been actively involved in the Canadian art scene since 1973. She was a founding member and director of Powerhouse Gallery (La Centrale) in Montreal (the first women’s art gallery in Canada), editor of Parallelogramme magazine for 13 years, and very active in ANNPAC (the Association of National Non-Profit Artist-run Centres) for 15 years. She has performed widely across Canada, as well as internationally in Europe and Asia. She is co-editor with Johanna Householder of OCAD of Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women (2004) and More Caught in the Act (Artexte:YYZ, 2016). In addition, a book on her work published by FADO and edited by Paul Couillard, Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars, was published in 2008. She is the recipient of a 2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. She recently retired from teaching at the University of Toronto Scarborough after 25 years and currently divides her time between Toronto and Shelburne, N.S. where she lives off the grid. She has one daughter and 3 teenage grandsons. She is looking forward to whatever comes next, post-retirement, post-covid-19.



Why did you get involved in this project?

I thought it was an interesting experiment to start something and then let it go; I liked the idea of making a moving image exquisite corpse.


Did the one week turn-around for the work help or hinder your creativity?

I only did the text component, so I did not really have a one-week deadline.

How did you feel about working on a project where you didn’t know who you were collaborating with?

It was easy to let the project go at first, then once the video was finished I thought, “Oh, I would have done that this way; oh, I wouldn’t have thought of that, that’s interesting.”  This is an especially challenging process for control freaks (ahem).

Has being involved in the project changed your thoughts on creativity?

Not really.

If you worked on several videos, what kept you coming back for more and how many did you do?

Only worked on one video.

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