Small House

Leala Hewak

About the Artist

A Toronto-based digital artist. Obtaining a BFA from York University, she went on to law school and continued practising art throughout her law career. In 2004, she founded Cream Gallery in Winnipeg.

In 2017, Hewak obtained an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University. The recipient of Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council awards, she has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows, with much of her photography focusing on unusual architectural documentation. In 2019 her large-scale collage installation, “Clone,” was selected as a featured exhibit in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. A member of Toronto’s PATCH project, in 2020 she also began installing art outdoors with, Secret Fountain's a 300 foot series of large-scale prints on Toronto’s Kay Gardner Beltline Trail.

About the Works

In November 2020, I had the opportunity to photograph the interior of a Toronto home which was for sale. The works submitted are selected from this series.

The two-storey house, circa 1960, is located in the upscale Toronto neighbourhood of Forest Hill. The home presented in completely original condition, abandoned for five years prior to going on the market. I returned to photograph it four times as the contents were gradually being cleared out. The last session occurred on the day before the sale closed. The home’s psychedelically lush period décor points to optimism, permissiveness, and hope. I see it as a palace of living dreams. The home ultimately sold to a family who plans to knock it down.

In Toronto, modernism is still largely disregarded when considering architectural heritage. Yet “mid-century” design has become almost populist. Places like this home, present-day embodiments of a historically significant period of change in modern history, exist in the crack between preservationism and kitsch . If they are not recorded, they cease to exist.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.
Ryerson Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.