Aly McDonald

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Aly (Joy-Lily) McDonald is a Queer Jamaican-Canadian Acrylic Painter, Visual Artist, Art Instructor, Facilitator, Programmer, Curator, and Life Model. Aly is a MAD Creative navigating emotions, bodily autonomy and bodily integrity, through art. She focuses on normalizing nudity, self-discovery, identity, and how they can co-exist.

Aly graduated Fleming College-Haliburton School of Art and Design in 2019 with their Visual and Creative Arts Diploma, and a certificate in Painting and Drawing. She also spent time in the Digital Image Design program. They’ve exhibited their work at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Colborne St. Gallery, Ottawa Miniature Gallery, and showcased in Toronto, Los Angeles, and more.


“I started painting Nude Portraits in 2017 during my time in the Visual and Creative Arts Diploma at Haliburton School of Art and Design. It was there I discovered my fondness for creating nude works, its relevance throughout art history, and since has been rediscovered through out my life experiences and discussions had. Body neutrality, positivity, acceptance, and bodily integrity are huge influences on my work. As a survivor of childhood SA, and sexual assault throughout adulthood, these are ongoing subjects that I continue to practice in my life.”

Throughout Aly’s work they continue to express their desire to fix the disconnect between her mind and body.

“Being a MAD individual, who spent a large portion of their life self-harming, my experiences with mental illness(s) and the mental-healthcare system, are also huge influences on why I exclaim bodily integrity. I am a parent, who had complications after giving birth, contributing to the reasons why bodily autonomy and integrity became even more important to me.”

Every individual’s body is their own, and using vibrant and bold acrylic colour combinations, Aly wants to emphasize that even when a body is in the ‘vulnerable’ state of nudity, it is still never anyone’s to have or take.

“The sexualization of Black women and BIPOC, along with the sexualization of femme people and women are a huge reason why I believe in painting nude portraits that are bold and vibrant, disregarding and going against the stigma that bodies are inherently sexual.”

Aly believes bodies aren’t inherently sexual, it is our desires that make them so.