Zheng-Lianjie-Floating-TableNaked State art residency
International Call
Bare Oaks, Canada

Facilitator: Teresa Ascencao

Program Dates:  August 5 – 15, 2016
Submission Deadline: February 15, 2016

Naked State is a 10-day residency to create artworks that explore the nude human body in context of nature, culture and art. For the duration of the residency, the artists and residency Facilitator live as *naturists (in the nude) within the Bare Oaks naturist community to create works that explore questions such as: What is nudity? Does stripping away clothing rid us of class, gender, and personal expression?; Do the connections between our bodies and the land change when nude? Is nudity always sexual? What is the role of the nude in historical and contemporary art?; Is an animal with fur naked? Is it possible to be civil in the nude?; Is there a natural state for human being? Residents work individually or collaboratively to create artworks that explore these questions through media of their choice, such as photography, video, installation, drawing, painting, performance art, dance, sound art, media art, etc. Naked State welcomes people in all walks of life into a creative journey of criticality thinking and self-discovery. People with disabilities, people of colour and diverse gender identifications are encouraged to apply. 

Artists are encouraged to socialize and integrate with the Bare Oaks naturist community at campfires, swimming, sharing meals, and through the creation of artworksThis programmed residency offers facilitation by multimedia artist Teresa Ascencao, a seminar on naturism with *Stéphane Deschênes, a special guest workshop with multi-disciplinary artist Johannes Zits, guest visits by artists and members of the Bare Oaks community, and plenty of studio time. Critiques of residents’ works occur on a regular basis, individually with the Facilitator and through facilitated group discussions. Artists receive two meals per day, a large shared workspace, full use of park amenities, programming, facilitation, accommodation, and closing event. Artists are given full access to the Outback common room or the Marquis Tent as a dedicated shared studio space. Alternately, artists may arrange to work in various locations around the naturist community. There will be a closing event, whereby artists present their creative explorations within the Bare Oaks community. Artists are responsible for their own transportation to downtown Toronto or Toronto Pearson International airport, from where shuttle transfers are included during check in and check out times (within a range of 6 hours).  

*The image above is of Zheng Lianjie’s Floating Table, performed in 2001 in the Yongding River, outside Beijing. Lianjie‘s intent is to “pay greater attention to the relationship between man and nature.”

*Naturism is the practice of complete nudity in a social setting. Though nudity is the most obvious aspect of naturism, it is simply a tool to reach closer to a natural state. The purpose of naturism is to promote wholesomeness and stability of the human body, mind, and spirit. It also promotes wellbeing through complete contact of the body with the natural elements. For a full description of naturism, visit

Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park is a year-round naturist park near Toronto in Canada, where individuals and families experience traditional naturist values in a modern setting. It is nestled among the natural wilderness of the Ontario Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine. Its varied landscape includes open spaces, forests, ponds, streams and a small lakeAmenities include a storerestaurant, sun deck, TV and sports lounge, outdoor poolwhirlpool, saunas, exercise room, laundromat, and a small common kitchen with microwave and fridge. Wireless Internet can be purchased at the front desk. The Outback common room will be dedicated as a large shared studio space for the duration of the residency. Private, shared and campsite accommodations are available. There is some wheel chair accessibility. Please discuss accessibility details with the Facilitator. Bare Oaks is located in East Gwillimbury, under an hour north-east of Toronto. For more information visit, watch some videos or take this virtual tour.

Teresa Ascencao is a multimedia artist whose work toys with social constructs of body language, costume, socially inscribed objects and spaces, and inner corporeal experiences. Her current work explores personal struggles with clothing. Ascencao graduated with distinction from the University of Toronto’s Honours Fine Art Studio program, and received her MFA from OCAD University specializing in Media Art and Sex-Positive Feminism. Her award-winning work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally. Ascencao, who also practices naturism, lives and works in Toronto and teaches at OCADU. In addition to the Naked State art residency, she is also the Facilitator of the Luminous Bodies art residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island. Ascencao’s work can be viewed at

Stéphane Deschênes is a husband, father, spiritual humanist and a proud naturist. He is a board member of International Naturist Federation, and the owner and manager of Bare Oaks Family Park. As an Associate at University of Toronto, Deschênes is a researcher on topics of naturism and teaches a course called Public Nudity: History, Law and Science. Deschênes is the producer and host of The Naturist Living Show, found at

Johannes Zits’ multi-disciplinary practice focuses on the many meanings engendered by the body. He draws attention to conventional image-making and how mass media images are disseminated and consumed. In working with the natural environment, Zits extends the notion of the performer to include nature itself. Considering nature as an equal ensures that it can be neither construed as a passive prop nor adored and fixed in the realm of the sublime. Since graduating with a BFA from York University in 1984, Toronto-based Johannes Zits has presented work across Canada and internationally, including at the Sao Paulo’s 8th Encuentro, Montreal’s Le Festival International du Film sur l’Art, Calgary’s M:ST Festival, Shanghai’s Yuz Museum, and Chongqing’s Meta 2014. Zits’ work can be viewed at

Naked State art residency is limited to 14 professional artists. Cost including taxes is $960 Canadian dollars for a shared Cozy Camp Cabin, which includes taxes, two meals per day, a large shared workspace in the Outback common room, full use of amenities, programming, facilitation, accommodation, and closing event. Alternate accommodations, including taxes and all of the above, is as follows: Tent Camping for $850, private accommodations in a Guest Room at $1585, or the entire private Grand Cabin for $2525. Arrivals are on August 5 from 2pm, and departures on August 15 before noon. For details, visit

Naked State is produced by Arts Unfold, which works with partnering communities to subsidize its projects. Naked State is a subsidized residency, with the accommodation and park fees having been reduced by 40% for residency artists. Artists are encouraged to apply for further financial support through their federal, provincial and municipal arts councils, and other sources such as the ones listed here by international region.

Submit your application via email to Teresa Ascencao at with the following contents. For the subject line, write “Naked State / First_&_Last_name”. In the email, please include a short description of your past work, a link to your website (or 5 jpeg images, each under 1MB), a proposal describing the work you intend to explore during the residency (half page to full page), and your CV.