A WALL ISN’T BROKEN – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

A Wall Isn’t Broken Patiently Piece by Piece, but Rather with One Decisive Blow
by Nina Leo + Moez Surani
Currently in development



A Wall Isn’t Broken Patiently Piece by Piece, but Rather with One Decisive Blow is an ongoing collaborative project with Canadian artist Nina Leo and poet Moez Surani.

Smell is the only sense that operates outside of the language centre of the brain. Because of this it is uniquely experiential, personal and arable. A Wall Isn’t Broken Patiently Piece by Piece, but Rather with One Decisive Blow is a three-part installation that sublimates monoliths into smell.

Scent will play an integral role in the project. We will work with perfumers who have grown up in or have direct experience of a city that carries an international stigma.

> More information will be posted as the project develops.




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Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council / Conseil des Arts de l’Ontario for their support of this project.


Thank you to the Canada Council for the Arts for their support on this project.


About the artists


NinaLeophoto_webNina Leo is a Canadian multi-disciplinary artist. Her work examines how the contemporary terrain of fragmented, often virtual experience may affect us phenomenologically as experiences and interactions become ever more accessible yet divested of direct multi-sensorial richness. The work specifically explores how this otherwise redesigned intimacy may influence our identity, alter our interactions and shape our socio-political perceptions.

Leo holds an MFA in Emerging Practices from the University of Buffalo, SUNY. Her work has been shown widely in Canada and the U.S. as well as in Mexico and she is currently an Assistant Professor within the Sculpture/ Installation Department and Graduate Studies Faculty at OCAD University in Toronto.



Moez-Surani_webMoez Surani is a poet whose writing has been published internationally, including in Harper’s Magazine, The Walrus, Best Canadian Poetry 2013 and Best Canadian Poetry 2014. He has attended artists’ residencies in Finland, Italy, Switzerland and Taiwan, and among the awards his work has won is the Chalmers Arts Fellowship, which supported a research stint to India and East Africa.  When his first collection of poetry, Reticent Bodies, was published, one critic assessed the book’s impact: “Reticent Bodies is that rare book that has the power to be a lynchpin, a hinge in the history of Canadian poetry.”

In 2012, Surani published a second collection, Floating Life, which was described as suffused with “stunning, simple images.” Recently, he has been working on collaborations and on interdisciplinary art and performance art pieces.


About the Perfumers


Kayo_YonedaKayo Yoneda is a Japanese Olfactory Designer. Raised in Hiroshima during her elementary school years, she currently resides in Osaka. Most of her projects are blended from nature and inspired by experience. She studied aromatherapy in the UK, and while she was there she learned the technique of scent blending.

Kayo has worked commercially — with companies and stores — and she has built the olfactory design of numerous events. Her scent design proposal was awarded the signature olfactory image for the Tokyo Tower. She is a member of the Aroma Environment Association of Japan.



Joel_WilsonJoel Wilson is a professional perfumer with twenty-plus years of experience and exploration in the art of perfumery.  Composing fragrances of color and contrast, his quest is to blend notes in unexpected ways to produce harmonies that the nose has yet to hear.  A native Texan, he traversed nine years of apprenticeship under perfumers with diverse backgrounds.

Joel received the title of Perfumer and recognition as full member by the American Society of Perfumers in 2003.  Joel has shared his passion through fragrance seminars and presentations around the world.  He is a founding member of Clarity Fragrances in Houston where he composes fragrances for a broad spectrum of products and continues his search for notes unheard.  Outside of the laboratory, he enjoys the great outdoors smelling the perfumes not made by man and spending time with his wife and three children.



MartaMarta Siembab, Poland’s only senselier – independent smell expert. Her fields of olfactory expertise and consulting range from business, image and PR, events and entertainment, art, therapy, education, to product and service design. She cooperates with global brands as well as local businesses, startups, artists and designers, universities, cultural institutions and trade organizations. Marta Siembab is a pioneer of using scent in space design and architecture. In cooperation with Brandburg she created OLFF – the first sense branding studio in Poland. She enjoys working in multidisciplinary teams, developing projects with sculptors, chefs, sensory analysts, photographers, jewellers and other creative professionals. She firmly believes in supporting charities and actively educates people on olfaction. Her mission is to make scent understandable as a universal, cross-national language.



DSH_250pxDawn Spencer Hurwitz is a true underground force in niche perfumery and olfactory artform.  DSH, as she is called by her devoted following, has been working with aromatics for the past 24 years and is a pioneer of the American indie perfumery movement. She has developed many innovative concept perfumes and worked with top designers to consult and create exclusive perfumes. Beginning her career as a painter, Dawn came to perfumery in 1991. As a synesthete, DSH developed her talent for creating perfumes based on fine art principles, and since the early nineties, began developing her innovative lines of ready-to-wear artisan perfumes under her own label, DSH Perfumes; including the launch of DAWN Perfumes at Isetan and BARNEYS NEW YORK / Tokyo with Japanese design partners, Undulate Labs. As an olfactory artist DSH has had multiple one-person and group shows of her multi-sensory art (paintings and aromas) in Boulder, CO and was a finalist for the 2015 Art and Olfaction Awards Sadakichi award for her experimental collection “CHROMA”, a synesthetic / fragrance of colors project. DSH often collaborates with art institutions such as Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, The Dairy Center for the Arts, and Denver Art Museum.




Dana El Masri is an indie perfumer and olfactive writer. She is the founder of Parfums Jazmin Saraï; a collection of perfumes inspired by songs and Synesthesia. Dana’s work focuses on scent, music and culture, and finding the connections between all three. Whether it is in the form of custom-made perfumes, working with musicians, to scenting live shows and spaces. The aim is to focus on the role of scent in social interaction, to educate the public about the world of scent, and to bring perfumery as a form of artistic expression to the forefront. Dana has collaborated with fellow perfumers, completed a residency at the Institute of Art and Olfaction in 2014 and has also won the Literary Award for her piece in Odou Magazine in London in 2015.



Zena-Al-HamdanZena Al Hamdan was born and raised in Baghdad. She also lived in Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia before settling in Toronto. She has worked as a  physician and also as a translator in community-based organizations. She will be collaborating with perfumer Dana El Masri.