Ianitza Vassileva is an 18-year old artist born in Varna, Bulgaria, later moving to South Africa and now living in Toronto. She studied at Etobicoke School of the Arts and now attends McMaster University for the Arts and Science Program and Studio Art. She has exhibited at the several galleries and art spaces in Toronto, Hamilton, and recently the National Gallery of Canada. Her work explores the importance of place to identity. Through painting she conveys a sense of truth that only comes with knowing a place intimately. Her current work creates a physical experience that generates a pang of familiarity in the viewer in order to form a connection over the places we share, the places that inform who we become. By focusing on their similarities, she at once equates these places around the world and shows that it is the culture, and language, evolved over centuries, that separates us most. The way we perceive these differences transforms us, and forces us to adapt to our surroundings in order to survive.