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Youth Achievement Award Winner


Christina Michel is this year’s EMYS Youth Achievement Award Winner (2015)


Christina Michel wearing sunglasses

A photo of the artist Christina Michel

Christina Michel is a gifted youth visual artist based in Scarborough, Ont.  For the past six years, Christina has been taking photos that push boundaries and challenge conventions. Her work has been exhibited in 2014 Cue Art Show, a radical arts initiative dedicated to new generation artists.

East Metro Youth Services Multimedia Co-ordinator Colin Scheyen, delivered the following words about this year’s recipient at the EMYS Annual General Meeting held at the Scarboro Golf and Country Club, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015:

“There are very few individuals whose artistic side and personal side are as deeply entwined as Christina Michel. To know Christina the person means that you must also know Christina the artist – because they are one of the same.
Christina’s long history with this agency began in the Ayces program where she made many important connections with her peers.

I remember doing a photography workshop with that program and was approached by a shy young lady who liked to hide behind a camera. She came up to me and timidly said four words: “I like photography too.” After that she turned her cell phone on showed me an enormous library of photographs. Some beautiful, some challenging; but all of them showed the promise of a talented artist waiting to bloom.

In my Studio2 program Christina continued to mature as a woman and as an artist. With my support she received a grant to do an incredibly personal photo exhibit of selfies that explored her own struggles with mental health.
Most of us think of selfies as obnoxious and self-indulgent poses that people make when they want to put themselves on a pedestal. But Christina’s work was much more challenging than that. It was dark, sometimes sinister, challenging, and yes, even beautiful. Beautiful, in that it was honest.

Christina also loves to give. She will go to endless lengths to help others with a photo shoot or just words of encouragement. This year she supported the Strengthening Families program by doing a series of portraits for families who completed the program. With the help Jackie Relihan, who unfortunately could not be here tonight, she created a wildly successful summer photography workshop for the Ayces program.

In that program the youth got to know how to use their cameras, became better acquainted with their friends and explored their communities.

Christina has come a long way from being the shy young lady who bashfully proclaimed to me that “I like photography too.” She is now a creative tour de force on an endless hunt to find out who she is and, as always, is hungry for more photography subjects… always more photography subjects.

Please put your hands together for the 2015 recipient of the East Metro Youth Services Youth Achievement Award, Christina Michel.”