Torso of woman in white address with X painted on the front in dripping paint. Another woman in white outfit in the back with paint strokes on her outfit.

LUMINATO –  great art installations that engage the public making the audience part of the art.

This collection of images is from last year’s Luminato exhibit Soon is Now with Canadian artist Corno.

Corno transformed Airship37 in Toronto’s Distillery District with an intense shock of colour that felt like a crayon box had exploded. Fun, random, spontaneous and indicative of the unexpected you can always expect to find with Luminato.

Model in high heels and dress with X painted on the front. Artist behind her painting the back of her dress.

MIXED BAG MAG recommends checking out:

Image from Luminato.

MAI – Prototype
21st Century Startist Marina Abramović has landed in our city.

“MAI will be the largest expression of what the artist calls the Marina Abramovic Method. Across a series of interlocking pavilions, audience members are guided through exercises and experiences based on Abramovic’s past work. Rather than creating the performance, Abramovic empowers the audience to craft their own experience, as participants don white lab coats and headphones, and disconnect from the outside world for approximately two hours.”  More here on Luminato’s website…

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Image from Luminato.

Ok. This sounds like fun!

“An interactive performance spectacle in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. Come one, come all to a life-sized arcade-style claw machine filled with useful objects donated by the community along with special surprises. As the artists themselves become the claw, see if you can manipulate them into delivering the prize you desire while contemplating this carnivalesque exchange of value and examining what winning and losing means to the collective.”  More here on Luminato’s website…

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Image from Luminato.

One Thousand Speculations
& this just sounds crazy!

“The largest mirror ball in the world will make Toronto dazzle and spin in its thousands of reflections for the duration of the Luminato Festival. I don’t think that any Torontonian will have seen David Pecaut Square in this kind of light. It will be sexy, seductive, exhilarating and will amaze anyone from 4 to 104 years old.”  More here on Luminato’s website…

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FOLLOW LUMINATO ON  – Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Google+Pinterest | Instagram and!

Female artist painting model in suit and large wig. Crowd watchs.
Female artist uses hair dryer to blow on the back of model's back where she has painted what looks like a peace sign.
Woman painting a large canvas with broad brush strokes. DJ spinning records in the background.
Model in suit, high heels and wig made like a hat smiles down at an old man looking up at her smiling.
Images of Luminato 2012 Corno’s Soon is Now by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.


Kids being interviewed at K'Naan.
Young fans talking to the CBC about why they love K’NAAN and performing an impromptu version of K’NAAN’s “Waving Flag”.


Reposted from July 12, 2012

Just over a year ago I gave myself an assignment to start the ball rolling on what was ultimately going to be my bigger project – MIXED BAG MAG. On my blog, The L. Project, I began to produce a portfolio of work that demonstrated my knack at uncovering and then curating a theme, a stream, an undercurrent. I went out into Toronto to find other people that spoke a new 21st Century language – intercultural, interdisciplinary, socially innovative – people that with their creativity were into sparking a flame that could lead to BIG change.

And since I went out to explore what made Toronto such a fantastic model for a 21st Century city it only made sense to begin my journey of discovery by covering what I believe to be the quintessential model of a 21st Century arts festival – LUMINATO.

LUMINATO is the ultimate mixed bag!

  • It celebrates all the artistic disciplines, this year even including the Culinary Arts.
  • Not just cross-disciplinary, LUMINATO also makes cross-cultural dialogue the cornerstone upon which it has built an interesting series of hybrid commissions including last year’s 1001 Nights which brought together the talent of British director Tim Supple and Lebanese writer Hanan Al-Shaykh.
  • As well, LUMINATO has a mandate to go out into the community to create successful education & outreach projects that are socially innovative.

For LUMINATO 2011 I cleared out my account and bought all the tickets I could afford. Along with my bank account I cleared my calendar and for the next 10 days immersed myself into all that I love –dance, music, film, literature, visual arts, design and more! Extraordinary was already in season for me in 2011 and with 35+ events attended in all, LUMINATO was undoubtedly the highlight of my year!

At Luminato 2012, I spent most of my nights taking advantage of the free concerts at the Luminato Hub (David Pecaut Square) in an effort to scout out what acts may be a fit for MIXED BAG MAG. The music I experienced criss-crossed the globe from Mali (Fatoumata Diawara) to the Balkans (Shantel & The Bucovina Club Orkestar & our local Lemon Bucket Orkestra), and included Canada’s own K’NAAN, a Somali born performer who mixes hip-hop with traditional Somali musical elements and poetry.

K'naan performing with Nelly Furtado

The crowd at K'Naan.

Each night as I witnessed the diverse crowds that would show up I noticed something. Along with people that were unfamiliar but open to the music that was being performed, others were intimately acquainted with what was being sung. Behind me, beside me and in front of me were people belting out lyrics in a language that was their original mother tongue. In the location of their new home, people were able to joyously sing, at the top of their lungs, the songs from the home they left. You could sense the cathartic release!

How powerful can this be for us as a community if we choose to collectively celebrate the sum of all our ethnically diverse parts?

A beautiful week of beautiful music only confirmed what I already believe – that events like LUMINATO offer more to us than just entertainment. At a societal level these types of events can offer healing.

This is why I began this project and my journey of curating at MIXED BAG MAG the best of what I call New Culture because what is closest to my heart is the transformative power of culture. Ultimately it is the energizing spark that can ignite our souls.

Post by Leah Snyder.

Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012.
Montreal's Nomadic Massive performing at Luminato 2012.
Fatoumata Diawara performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012 with Jovanotti
Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012.
Telmary Diaz performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Lemon Bucket   Orkestra performing on the street after Luminato 2012.
Lemon Bucket   Orkestra performing on the street after Luminato 2012.
Performers from top to bottom – K’NAAN and Nelly Furtado, Michael Franti, Nomadic Massive, Fatoumata Diawara, Afrocubism, Michael Franti and Jovanotti, Telmary Diaz, Shantel & the Bucovina Club Orkestar, and Lemon Bucket Orkestra.

All photography by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

CONTACT CONTINUED: Complete List of the Ongoing Exhibitions

Office door opening to large mounds of small photographs piled for gallery installation
Photography by Ahmed Sirry for Mixed Bag Mag.

Missed it? Oops! Well good news is you can still catch a few more exhibits running past the May 31 end date. Here’s Mixed Bag Mag’s comprehensive list of what’s still on for Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.


  1. ENDING JUNE 8 – Edith Maybin’s THE GIRL DOCUMENT @ O’born Contemporary
  2. ENDING JUNE 9 – Janieta Eyre’s THE MUTE BOOK @ Katherine Mulherin Art Projects
  3. ENDING JUNE 16 – Sara Angelucci’s PROVENANCE UNKNOWN  @ Art Gallery of York University
  4. ENDING JUNE 16 – Mark Peckmezian PORTRAIT @ Harbourfront Centre
  5. ENDING JUNE 28-  Janieta Eyre CONSTRUCTING MYTHOLOGIES @ University of Toronto Art Centre Lounge
  6. ENDING JULY 7 – Mark Filipiuk SKOLA / SCHOOL @ Art Gallery of Mississauga


  1. ENDING JUNE 29 – Andrew Wright’s PENUMBRA @ University of Toronto Art Centre


  1. ENDING JUNE 9 – Chris Marker’s (France) MEMORY OF A CERTAIN TIME @ Tiff
  2. ENDING JUNE 15 – Erik Kessels’ (Holland) 24HRS IN PHOTOGRAPHY @ Contact Gallery
  3. ENDING JUNE 15 – Danny Lyon’s (United States)  THE BIKERIDERS @ Stephen Bulger Gallery
  4. ENDING JUNE 15 – Doug Ischar’s (United States)  UNDERTOW @ Gallery 44 & VTape
  5. ENDING JUNE 29 – Botto + Bruno (Italy) I WAS ALREADY LOST @ Pari Nadimi Gallery
  6. ENDING SEPTEMBER 2 – Sebastião  Salgado’s (Brazil) GENESIS @ The Royal Ontario Museum
  7. ENDING OCTOBER 20 – Various Artists LIGHT MY FIRE @ Art Gallery of Ontario
  8. ENDING JANUARY 2014(India) Raja Deen Dayal’s BETWEEN PRINCELY INDIA AND THE BRITISH RAJ @ The Royal Ontario Museum 

Photography by Ahmed Sirry for Mixed Bag Mag.

DISLOCATIONS: Contact 2013 Photography Festival

Part of this year’s Contact 2013 Photography Festival Dislocations:

brings together artists who explore the tenuous relationship between identity and place, and who investigate how movement has become a mode of being in the world during an era of globalization.

The month-long exhibition will feature established and emerging artists from Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver, and highlight their aesthetic engagements with cultural dislocation. Artists Annie Sakkab, Meral Pasha, Mona Kamal, Jin-me Yoon, Brett Gundlock and Jamelie Hassan consider how we negotiate a place for ourselves from one social environment to another.

Mona Kamal, Reflections on Memory, 2011. Photo credit: Terrance Houle.

They examine what travels with us across personal, political, and social borders during different kinds of migratory trajectories, and what we leave behind. As discussions on place and identity have shifted towards more fluid understandings, these artists engage with particular kinds of uprootings and regroundings that are embodied and specific. Their work articulates a sense of self which is gendered and cultured, and explores how visual culture informs the way we see ourselves in the world, as well as how others situate us in it.

The exhibition will launch the opening of the new Riverdale Hub Community Art Gallery and its arts programming which is geared towards community development. Located in the heart of Little India in Toronto, the Riverdale Hub provides invaluable hands-on training opportunities to marginalized women and their families, enabling them to develop sustainable livelihoods.”

Curators Sevan Injejikian and Annie Sakkab are looking for your help to contribute to their crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

“With your contribution, we will be able to establish a new gallery in the heart of Little India, further the Hub’s goal of engaging the community in dialogue through art, and present the work of 7 established and emerging contemporary artists who address experiences of migration.”

Images by Annie Sakkab, Untitled, from the series Projections – Ghosts of Dubai’s Boom, 2008

To contribute to the Dislocations campaign click here.

For more information on Riverdale Hub Community Arts Centre click here.

SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL 2013: Seeing as a Means to Understanding

Black and white photograph of woman's hand holding a photo of a man with her finger covering his face
Natalie Liconti, Untitled, 2012 for Learning to Look Exhibit

“Exploring the photographic medium as a way of seeing, this year’s Festival theme, Field of Vision, frames a series of primary exhibitions and public installations.”

What lies outside our own field of vision? From gender to sexual orientation; culture, race, place; nature vs the unnatural; the understanding of new technology, the experience of a physical disability…

…sometimes it takes truly seeing what is right in front of us in order to shift our focus.

As artists, photographers will manipulate light, context, and composition to suit the telling of a ‘Truth’.

They use photography to explore how best to let someone into a world they might not be aware exists to experience stories they may not be able to hear. Something about seeing can move people into believing. An image can authenticate an experience not just for the artist but for the viewer.

MIXED BAG MAG’s Recommendations for Contact 2013:

Janieta Eyre’s The Mute Book @ Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects & Constructing Mythologies @ UTAC Art Lounge

Black and white photograph of woman in costume made of bits of fabric sitting on an antique stool
Janieta Eyre, Mute Book 4, 2009 (image

“From the age of 14 – 17, the Toronto-based photographer Janieta Eyre developed a disorder that made it impossible to speak. As a consequence, many people gave up attempting to converse with Eyre and instead behaved as if she did not exist. The imposed silence and isolation had a curious effect on the artist’s development: in her silence, she began to have strange thoughts and to wonder if she was, in fact, invisible.” Read more…

Photograph of woman in outfit with different pattersn and a background of many patterns.
Janieta Eyre, Burning Cake, from the series Motherhood, 2002 (

black strokeQueer Portraits at Gallery 44 & The Gladstone Hotel Art Bar
J.J. Levine, Rae, from the series Queer Portraits, 2012 (image

“Using professional lighting and a medium-format film camera, Levine creates a studio within each home environment, positioning objects that appear within the frame. These settings explore private queer space as a realm for the development of community and the expression of genders and sexualities often marginalized within the public sphere.” Read more…

JJ Levine, Laurence, from the series Montreal Queer Portraits, 2012, C-Print (image

black stroke2Fik’s Unreleased @ Gallery West

2Fik, Picnic sur l’étang [Picnic on the swamp], 2009 (image

“Unreleased explores the gap that can exist between a person’s sense of belonging within a culture, and the culture’s opinion of that person. In this work, 2Fik performs multiple visions of “self,” while exploring the positive and negative prejudices that accompany visual perceptions of the “other.” This exhibition presents a series of dramatic tableau photographs in which characters from different cultures meet and evolve.”  Read more…

black strokeCurators Sevan Injejikian and Annie Sakkab‘s Dislocations @ Riverdale Hub
Annie Sakkab, Projections – Ghosts of Dubai’s Boom, 2010 (image

“Dislocations brings together artists who explore the tenuous relationship between identity and place, and who investigate how movement has become a mode of being in the world during an era of globalization.” Read more…

NOTE: If you would like to contribute to the Dislocations Exhibit funding campaign click here for their Indiegogo Campaign.

black strokeAkihiko Miyoshi’s The Distance Between @ Circuit Gallery

Akihiko Miyoshi, Abstract Photograph (112811g), 2011 (image

“Deliberately referencing the constructed aesthetic of digital image-making—the pixel, the choice of red, green, or blue tape, and the surface/depth tension of altered focus—Miyoshi’s analogue self-portraits use metaphor to evoke a slew of contemporary questions about the status of the photographer/author and the referent/real in the digital age.” Read more…

NOTE: This exhibit closes May 11

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Meryl McMaster’s In-Between Worlds @ Katzman Kamen Gallery
Meryl McMaster, Aphoristic Currents, 2013 (image

“In recent years, Meryl McMaster has travelled to remote landscapes on journeys that have helped her begin to understand her place in the natural world. These processes of self-discovery continue when McMaster returns to her studio and incorporates what she has learned into her art practice through the exploration of new themes. In-Between Worlds is an expression of one of these themes: McMasters bicultural Aboriginal-European heritage, which she views as a synergistic strength rather than a struggle between opposing forces.” Read more…

black strokeJessy Pesce’s Captured @ Galleria 814

Jessy Pesce, Up, 2012 (image

“ The images have a surreal and ethereal quality that blurs the viewer’s concepts of space and reality. Pesce’s photographs depict both explicit and implicit narratives that investigate the idea of objectifying the female body.” Read more…

Contact runs until May 31st. See full list of exhibitions on the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival Website.

Follow along on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter @ContactPhoto.

Logo for Contact Film Festival round red dot on white background

HAPPINESS IS: Backflips on The Streets of Toronto

Photo by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.


On the yellow piece of paper provided at The Happy Show at Design Exchange I couldn’t accurately draw this scene but I would definitely say backflips make me happy. I can no longer do them myself but photographing acrobats whizzing by my head while I am laying flat on city streets definitely makes me smile. I am in my element with changing light and random movement. The moments I feel most free, the moments were you believe in magic as an artist’s tool.

The performers shown in theses images are the talented (and flexible) ensemble from Cavalia’s cirque show Odysseo that was in Toronto this past summer. Find out more about them at

Read more about Mixed Bag Mag’s coverage of The Happy Show.

Photos by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

THE FINAL FACE: Artist Fabrice Landry’s Unusual Painting at Artist Project Toronto 2013

Painting of young woman rendered in white and black on wood covered in scrawls and graffiti by teenagersSheylla by Fabrice Landry. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

Sheylla by artist Fabrice Landry is the final face that Mixed Bag Mag is showcasing for the Faces of Artist Project Toronto series. A textural work, the backdrop for Sheylla was scored by Fabrice when he discovered the discarded wood awaiting the trash at the school he teaches at. Years of scribbles and scrawls etched into the surface by teens in love, in hate, confused, or inspired made one man’s junk this artist treasure as it spoke to real crises and identities of the kids he taught.

The final image of Sheylla, one of his students, was painted onto the board using Liquid Paper but instead of whiting out what lays beneath, her face is translucent allowing all the hidden stories to filter their way through.

Check out more of Fabrice’s work on his website and Artist Project Toronto.

Detail of painting of young girl using Liquid Paper as paint in the white areas and wood marked by scribbles of students as the backdrop
Detail of Sheylla by Fabrice Landry. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 


black line drawing of abstracted figure of a man on white backgroundImage provided by Nissim Ben Aderet.

I focus on a continuous line that I choreograph the dance of life for.

“In one line, Nissim draws an entire world of human images that move through imagined space and that create the infinite motion of relationships and hierarchies amongst themselves. On one hand, more is hidden from the view than is revealed to him. On the other hand, viewing the work means rummaging through the depths of the soul that emerge from the images.”

I am an expressive artist, I use a technique of action painting. With this technique I don’t plan the idea beforehand. I draw free from logic.

black line drawing of group of figures abstracted on white background

I draw a single line that creates a world of human texture. In one motion, I form my sketch.

black line drawing of group of figures abstracted on white background

The figures move in an empty space and form an endless motion amongst themselves.

black line drawing of group of figures abstracted on white background

When viewers look at my artwork, they can understand my thoughts and read my story between the lines. This story is built upon harmony, balance, dependency, longing / nostaligia.

black line drawing of group of figures abstracted on white background

All of my work talks about the relationships between people. If you follow a line closely
you will discover an entire world of figures that connect with each other. Images provided by Nissim Ben Aderet.

View more of Nissim’s work on his website.

Get ticket info for the show as well view all the participating artists at or follow along for updates @TAP_toronto & #TAP13.

logo for Toronto Artist Project 2013 in dark blue with image of woman in profile with veil like cutout over her eyes


Oil painting of white woman with red earrings and red stiching detail in her blouse
Images provided by Ivan Alifan.

I believe a good work is work that makes the viewer “nervous”, a work that haunts the viewer, to me that is beauty.

In the history of art if you could paint a realistic portrait of the person then you could paint anything in the world. That notion is still believed today, because a “face” is the most complex object in the world. One wrong stroke of the brush and the face is no longer representing the model and it is believed that the artist has failed.

That intense difficulty is what first got me interested in portraiture because I love giving myself hard tasks to accomplish. I did a replica of the “Girl of the Pearl Earring” in 12th grade. At that point I felt I had achieved the realism that I had always wanted. Now that I’m 23 accurately representing a face was no longer my main intention. I have realized that those imperfections or mistakes that artists make are beautiful. Because regardless of whom you are painting in the portrait, you are always painting a portrait of yourself. It is those imperfections that make up your character in your art.

Oil painting of white woman with scarve with red folk embroidery

The portraits that I paint say more about myself than they do about the sitter. I think this is also the main reason why I believe portraiture is still relevant today – this intensity to the relationship between artist and the sitter which produces a different meaning or aura than photography. So today my goal is not to paint accurately but to push portraiture to a new level.

Oil painting of androgynous bald woman with white painting dripping erotically down her head

My quest for traditional beauty is slowly disappearing…I believe a good work is work that makes the viewer “nervous”, a work that that haunts the viewer, to me that is beauty. If my work creates a physical or physiological tension or drama for the viewer then I’m doing a good job.

Oil painting of androgynous looking bald white woman with white paint dripping down her face holding a rose in her hand seductively as though she is about to eat it
Images provided by Ivan Alifan.

View more of Ivan’s work on his website and his blog.
Follow Ivan on twitter @IvanAlifan or Facebook.

Get ticket info for the show as well view all the participating artists at or follow along for updates @TAP_toronto & #TAP13.

logo for Toronto Artist Project 2013 in dark blue with image of woman in profile with veil like cutout over her eyes

ARTIST PROJECT TORONTO 2013: Reflecting on Faces

This year Artist Project Toronto (TAP) challenged artists to create a piece of art based on their interpretation of the theme, Faces. Selected by a panel of judges, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners will receive cash prizes, and visitors can vote for their favourite entry in the People’s Choice Award. (cited from

Mixed Bag Mag decided to run with this theme and showcase some of the artist at this year’s show who deal with the representation of the human face in diversely different ways from each other but all with dramatic results.

Wednesday: Toronto artist Christine Kim (mixed media)

Thursday: Toronto artist Ivan Alifan (oil)

Friday: Israeli artist Nissim Ben Aderet (ink, oil)

Get ticket info for the show as well view all the participating artists at or follow along for updates @TAP_toronto & #TAP13.

logo for Toronto Artist Project 2013 in dark blue with image of woman in profile with veil like cutout over her eyes