#CouncilSpotlight – Yasmine El Mansouri

Jenna Brown

The Ottawa Arts Council supports artists and arts organizations through leadership, guidance and the provision of opportunities to advance our local creative potential.

Our series #CouncilSpotlight presents stories and experiences of Arts Council members and art award recipients.

Yasmine received the Young Artist Award Recipient in 2017 and her project was presented in November 2017 during the On View: Dance on Screen.

1. Where are you from?

I was born in Morocco and I now live in Canada’s capital.

2. How did you get involved in the Ottawa arts community?

It was through the film and television program at my high school, De La Salle. The program introduced me to the world of film and allowed me to contribute to the arts in Ottawa. I’d particularly like to thank Mrs. Blundell for encouraging me to apply for the Ottawa Arts Council’s Young Artist Award.

3. How would you describe your artistic practice/discipline?

I define myself as a filmmaker.

4. What impact has your involvement with the arts/the Ottawa arts community had on your life?

My involvement with the arts reawakened the creative child in me. It allowed me to develop my imagination and my desire to explore, to take a more critical approach to film and the arts in general, and to join and find my place within the Ottawa arts community, which welcomed me with open arms while respecting my cultural, emotional and slightly wacky universe.

5. Is there a specific moment/situation in your art career that you remember fondly?

The moment that really stands out for me was the presentation ceremony of the Arts Council’s Young Artist Award, because it was at that exact moment that I felt a rush of adrenaline to develop and implement the concept for which I won the award. That whole process, from learning about the competition to receiving the award, made me proud and happy.

I’ve always favoured the creative process and the path that leads me to my final destination over the outcome as such, because what counts isn’t the goal in itself but the road you take to get there.

6. Do you have any advice for artists in the Ottawa community or artists in general?

If I had one piece of advice to give, I’d give it to young artists, and I’d tell them not to forget to have fun creating, to stay true to themselves and their uniqueness, not to be afraid to explore different things, and most of all, to follow their intuition and not be discouraged by the sometimes negative opinions of people around them. Trust your abilities and listen to your heart!

7. What are you currently working on?

At the moment, I’m passionate about making videos in my spare time. I plan to get more involved in making short films and making my art more accessible to the public by posting them on Instagram under the account name “Yes-Means”. I’m preparing video clips of my travels. So stay tuned for what’s coming next.

8. What was it like to receive an award from the Ottawa Arts Council? How is it impacting your career?

The award from the Ottawa Arts Council was a great opportunity to connect with the Ottawa arts community, and it sparked my interest in learning about Ottawa’s artists. Obviously, being recognized as an artist by one’s home town is unexpected and very flattering. In fact, I want to thank everyone who showed me the way and encouraged me to move forward.

Special thanks to my mentor, Izabel Barsive, a professor in the Communications Department at the University of Ottawa, for her commitment and valuable advice, which contributed immensely to the success of this artistic project.

I would also like to thank Ian Capstick and Shawn Dearn, without whose support this project would not have been possible, and the Canada Council for creating a window whereby Ottawa’s young artists can engage with leading local artists.