Mast Year Collective is the collaborative art practice of Alexandra Hong and Farihah Aliyah Shah that explores identity, belonging, the notion of changing homelands and the complications that arise when trying to preserve cultural inheritance.

As members of the Chinese (Hong) and Guyanese (Shah) diaspora, their collective practice explores identity, belonging, the notion of changing homelands, and the complications that arise when trying to preserve cultural inheritance. “Mast year” refers to a term in botany when trees in a forest collectively and mysteriously produce an abundance of fruit. This unified act ensures the animals that rely on the fruit will have a bountiful year, but also that there will be enough to sprout the next generation of trees. Taking cues from the name, their collective explores the notion of radical care in relation to their friendship, community, and connectivity to land. Process, research, dialogue, and experimentation are important frameworks of their practice. Although their histories differ, they find solace in sharing their lived experiences and connectivity culture through food, conversations and storytelling.

Hong (b. 1988) is an interdisciplinary artist, producer and educator based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada whose work spans social practice, participatory engagement, multimedia, and performance. Her work has been shown in Nuit Blanche Toronto, Luminato Festival, the Ryerson Image Centre, and presented internationally in South Korea, China, and Finland. Shah (b. 1989) is a contemporary lens-based artist based in Bradford, Ontario, Canada. She was the 2019 recipient of the John Hartman Emerging Artist Award and the recipient of the 2023 Peréz Art Museum Miami and Caribbean Culture Institute + WOPHA (Women Photographers International Archives) Fellowships. She’s exhibited internationally in North America, Asia and Europe. Collectively, they have shown at Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival in Toronto and participated in the Critical Mass Artist-in-Residency in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada.