The world is a complex and wonderful place
My art explores the inside and the outside of the human condition

I am an outsider


Flavia Testa, is an international outsider artist. Largely self-taught she has always used art as a means of expression, communication and of insight to give meaning and problem solve the complexities of life. Her beginnings are a mystery as she was found in a box on the stoop of a hospital in Pre-Revolutionary Iran. Swooped up by UN diplomats given an Italian and Canadian identity, Flavia spent the majority of her childhood on the move living in different cultures and countries absorbing the sights and sounds of everything that surrounded her. This gave rise to a natural urge to draw what she saw around her from a very early age. Unfiltered and curious she kept up her practice well into her Canadian school years, creating magazines, zines, taking photos, making collages, making art for friends. In her University years at Dalhousie University and Colegio de Salamanca she often could be found in the margins writing and drawing people, places and things. Between the years 1998 to 2001 she has three children. Motherhood became a new frontier to work with in art and since 2004 she has been an avid composer of works relating to parenting and motherhood in all it's guts and glory. Her work has been commissioned by Universities around America, Canada and Europe. She has made art for organizations and NGOs including One Billion Rising, Iran loves Israel, Be the Peace Institute, Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, South Shore Women's Centre, Immigrant Women of Nova Scotia, the Italian Association of Nova Scotia to name just a few. (Lists are boring and no one reads them). She continues her ongoing support where art can be used as a tool to open discussions and enable change. *For more detailed references biography is available by email.
Flavia Testa

Art is a force and a fortress that protects and reveals to us much more than we can imagine.

An outsider artist is a talented, self-taught artist who rarely sells or shows  art while alive, but who garners interest and mystery from the outside world that they live in. 


In life and in art,  Flavia challenges people to wonder, be inquisitive to find meaning and depth in  experience.  Art is a force and a fortress that protects  and reveals our lives. Flavia uses ink, paint, pencil and photography accompanied by elements of linguistics, symbols, signs, words, images in her larger than life creations. 

Raw, visceral and powerful,  her signature is very simple: a black and red colour palette. Keeping images accessible to the viewers helping to highlight the fragility and vulnerability of the human condition at its capability of resistance and survival.

Flavia with Carlo Testa- Tehran, Iran, 1974.

Her art explores life, passion, love, contemporary life in all its complexities. She is unafraid of searching the shadows we all have and making them into something beautiful.

Flavia recently returned to Nova Scotia, Canada, after almost a decade in Monferrato, Italy. 

Her beloved community has shown support and love, a true NS homecoming. Since arriving in September of 2017, she has sold more art, secured more shows and cross cultural talks, appeared on network television, has infused art in the business world and has stepped up to a variety of social engagements where you won’t often find art.

Atlantic CTV at the first ever Language Fair, Halifax Public Library – Fall 2018

This is the role of an outsider. It’s a lifetime of experience coming from a third cultural life of living around the world, open to in-depth views, combined with an acute sensibility, reviewing, practicing and mastering a trade and showing it.

The goal is to secure ongoing collaboration at home, in Canada and abroad.

Flavia believes that art should be accessible and available to people all over the place. She enjoys selling her art online through social media and digital formats so that her work can be in spaces and places far and wide at a reasonable price. She has spear-heads her own online art calls that are creative and unique, to sell and collaborate with her fans and collectors.

Her bigger six foot pieces are gallery friendly and can are used as door openers, conversation pieces which allow for deeper explorations of a wide variety of topics from history to present day, contemporary socio-cultural political life in the world. 

Art is for everyone.

Every Hand Tells A Story / Wall of Hands 2019/20