INTERNATIONAL DAY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: Remembering 600+ Aboriginal Women Missing & Murdered in Canada / US

Barefeet of woman walking on carpet alongside the beaded tops of moccasins

Walking With Our Sisters Commemorative Art Installation

For the United Nations’ International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples MIXED BAG MAG recommends participating in this project that moves nations towards healing.

“Over 600+ native women in Canada have been reported missing or have been murdered in the last 20 years. Many vanished without a trace with inadequate inquiry into their disappearance or murders paid by the media, the general public, politicians and even law enforcement. This is a travesty of justice.

Walking With Our Sisters is by all accounts a massive commemorative art installation comprised of 1,600+ moccasin vamps (tops) created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to this injustice. The large collaborative art piece will be made available to the public through selected galleries and locations. The work exists as a floor installation made up of beaded vamps arranged in a winding path formation on fabric and includes cedar boughs. Viewers remove their shoes to walk on a path of cloth alongside the vamps.

Each pair of vamps (or “uppers” as they are also called) represents one missing or murdered Indigenous woman.  The unfinished moccasins represent the unfinished lives of the women whose lives were cut short. Together the installation represents all these women; paying respect to their lives and existence on this earth. They are not forgotten. They are sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters, cousins, grandmothers, wives and partners. They have been cared for, they have been loved, they are missing and they are not forgotten.”

HOW TO PARTICIPATE -You can join  the Walking With Our Sisters Facebook Group

HOW TO DONATE – By joining WWOS’ auxiliary Facebook Group “Auction for Action” you can take part in the 20 day auction to raise money to fund the costs of this project. Many talented artists have donated their work in an effort to help raise money.

Or make a direct donation the following ways:

EMAIL TRANSFERS
Are to be made payable to:
Walking With Our Sisters
wwos@live.ca

DIRECT DEPOSIT
Accepted at any TD Canada Trust branch to the community account:
Walking With Our Sisters
Branch #2406 Account #5208603

CHEQUE OR MONEY ORDER
Made payable to Walking With Our Sisters and mailed to:
c/o Christi Belcourt
133 Barber St., P.O. Box 5191
Espanola, ON
P5E 1A0

PayPal
Walking With Our Sisters Link

The tops of moccassins with beaded image of woman with long hair on either side, flowers aroud the bottom Vamps by Dolly Assinewe. View more on Walk With Our Sisters’ website.

“THE PEOPLE ARE DETERMINED TO PROTECT THE PINES”: Remembering Oka / Kanehsatake

Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance by Alanis Obomsawin, National Film Board of Canada

“They know very well what they are fighting for and its probably worth much [more] than nine holes in the ground.”

Just over a month ago the Turkish people came out to demonstrate in Taksim Square in Istanbul. The ignition – the desire to save trees. In an overdeveloped but ancient city, Gezi Park is one of the few green spaces left and the plan to rob the citizens of this enduring place for want of a modern mall was the final strike of the match.

In seeing the footage of the masses that showed up in Istanbul, I fantasized about the same size of a crowd gathering to protect the trees and the sacred natural spaces we have left here in Canada a land once so abundant with natural beauty but now being sliced through and whittled down.

Today is the anniversary of the blaze that started here in the town of Oka and Kanesatake community in Quebec. A developer’s desire to conform the land into a golf course was the fuel for a blaze that burned regarding human rights.

For the want of trees a population was ignited into action to deal with the deeper discontents.

The trees in Gezi Park were / are symbolic of the deeper discontent of the Turkish people with regards to their government.  Most people would be in agreement that the Turkish people, in their desire to save the trees, acted poetically in their fight for justice.

Was Oka any different?

END NOTE: Some of the land desired for development was a burial ground for the Mohawk people of that community. For over 400 years an Armenian cemetery was located in that area of Gezi Park. After the Armenian Genocide the cemetery was razed.

(un)HAPPY CANADA DAY: Time for Revision / Admission

Re-thinking Canada’s National Narrative

O Canada! Our home on native land!

The Europeans arrived to wide open spaces. Empty. Land to be cleared, cultivated and tamed into lots and plots. Roads carved and structures erected meant a civilization existed where none had before. Terra Nullius – “land belonging to no one” therefore it was reasonable that it should now be theirs to claim as their home and native land.

That is what is taught. That the first settlers came and inserted themselves into empty spaces that were just waiting to be filled by hard work, some elbow grease and a sense of adventure.

And it is that legacy of entitlement and the idea that the land is just there for the taking that has brought us to a point in this country’s history where things like Canada’s breaking with the of Kyoto Accord is actually a logical chapter in tale that has long been fraught with environmental abuse followed by overt denial of that abuse.

In spite of overwhelming evidence that the Alberta tar sands is an environmental disaster of epic proportions the Government continues to promote it as a new frontier that makes economic sense even if it is at the expense of people and land – when necessary, selective amnesia works best.

Visual artist Camille Turner refers to Canada as a “landscape of forgetting.”  Her work on projects like Miss Canadiana and Hush Harbour deal with Canada’s accepted / expected overlooking of the history Black Canadians. Canada’s need to separate itself from its aggressive American Cousin whose obsessive enthusiasm for Manifest Destiny is always a PR nightmare has encouraged the adoption of ‘colonial-lite’ – some amount of assimilation is necessary but in the Canadian Mosaic no one gets burned in the Melting Pot. The only problem is that the facts that don’t properly support the fiction get erased – like slavery and a system of apartheid. They drop below the surface but they don’t go away.

In the dynamics of a family we see how generations can go on to willingly participate in a lie. It’s a survival mechanism to ensure the endurance of the clan but as the sins of the fathers are revisited on the sons, like a hiccup in time, the memories come back up.

For Canada that time has come. The ancestors are speaking through the lips of the children born at a time when things looked bright but these souls were perceptive to the fact that things weren’t right. A new generation of spiritual archaeologists are uncovering our culture and exposing it for what it is – problematic and painful. They are accessing the genetic archives where the emotional memories still exist.

This process of digging down through layers has become a mechanism for healing.

Though our language is still awkward and our methods may lack sophistication in the act of uncovering we come together – First Peoples, Settlers and New Immigrants – to get to the bottom of it.

So although unhappy it’s not without hope that I write these words.

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MIXED BAG MAG recommends Cultivating Canada: Reconciliation Through the Lenses of Cultural Diversity.

Cultivating Canada is a collection of essays produced by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation

“…Because Canada is a nation of diverse cultures, its people drawn from every region of the world, any discussion of reconciliation must include the perspectives of those who have arrived in more recent days and those who trace their family histories beyond western European colonial states…Those who have arrived in Canada from places of colonization, war, genocide, and devastation will very likely have valuable insights into historical trauma; their perspectives should be considered also.”  Read more…

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And some other important perspectives…

This day in history: July 1, 1967
in The Vancouver Sun

Our home on Native land: The celebration of colonization in Canada by Susana Deranger for www.briarpatchmagazine.com

Genocide, racism and Canada Day: An Algonquin-Anishinaabekwe love letter by Lynn Gehl Gii-Zhigaate-Mnidoo-Kwe for www.rabble.ca

Why I don’t celebrate Canada Day and never have by Judy Rebick for www.rabble.ca

Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein to join Canada’s tar sands ‘healing walk’ by Stephen Leahy for The Guardian

Canadians increasingly reporting aboriginal identity by Gloria Galloway and Tavia Grant for The Globe & Mail

Happy Colonization Day? by Michael Redhead Champagne

CONTEMPORARY ABORIGINAL ART: Resources for All The Talent

Aboriginal dance troupe performing outside on hills at night with city of Toronto as backdropKaha:wi Dance Theatre performing The Honouring at Fort York, Toronto. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Experiencing “The Honouring” by Kaha:wi Dance Theatres

It was a mad dash to Fort York from the MacMillan Theatre just coming out of Feng Yi Ting, the contemporary Chinese opera directed by Atom Egoyan as part of Luminato ’13.

I was determined and praying to the Gods & Goddesses of Transport that they would remove all obstacles one may encounter when riding the TTC.

I made it. A little late but it was worth the sprint up to Fort York from Bathurst, camera bag and all.

Aboriginal dance troupe performing outside on hills at night with city of Toronto as backdrop

What a stunning venue! The open air, the smell of the fires, the grass covered hills, old rock walls and the cityscape in behind. The context was beautiful but the visual juxtaposition points to an unfortunate history. The Honouring is:

“a site-specific multi-disciplinary performance honouring First Nations warriors of the War of 1812, featuring Onkwehonwe families who sacrificed to protect Haudenosaunee sovereignty, culture and land. Audiences have the opportunity to understand the complexity of the War of 1812 through the experiential lens of First Nations, offering a human face to our history.  All First Nations took part in the War of 1812 as sovereign Nation allies to Britain. 
The Honouring pays homage to their personal sacrifices and belief in what was the best for their family, community and future generations.”  More info…

Here’s a sampling of just how stunning the work of Kaha:wi is:

“Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (KDT) is one of Canada’s leading contemporary dance companies, recognized for its seamless fusing of indigenous and contemporary dance into a compelling signature choreographic vision.”  Read more…

As part of a continuation of MIXED BAG MAG’s post on National Aboriginal Day and the challenge put out there to Canadians to find out more about contemporary Aboriginal art here are some MIXED BAG MAG recommendations to get everyone started.

All of these organizations, programs, artists, and exhibitions work to dismantle the legacy of stereotypes that has stopped the dominant culture from seeing the dimensionality that we all carry within us as creative human beings as well as offer a critical voice regarding not only Canada’s First Peoples but Indigenous Peoples from around the world.

The below list focuses on Aboriginal arts in Canada and predominantly new media /visual artists. Stay tuned for a part two that will  include much more!

ARTS ORGANIZATIONS AND GALLERIES THAT FOCUS ON CONTEMPORARY FIRST NATIONS, MÉTIS, INUIT & INDIGENOUS CULTURE

ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Festival (Toronto)
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival celebrates the latest works by Indigenous peoples at the forefront of innovation in film, video, radio, and new media. Each fall, imagineNATIVE presents a selection of the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from around the globe.”  More info…

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Planet Indigenus (Toronto)
Since 2004, Planet Indigenus, in partnership with Brantford, Ontario’s Woodland Cultural Centre, has explored such ancestry and cultures through Indigenous artists. Through a 10-day, international, multidisciplinary arts festivals attended by over 700,000 people… Planet IndigenUS has raised public awareness, broken stereotypes and fostered a cross-cultural dialogue between Canadians.”  More info…

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Woodlands Cultural Centre (Brantford)
“The Woodland Cultural Centre was established in October 1972 under the direction of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians upon the closure of the Mohawk Institute Residential School. The Centre originally began its focus on collecting research and artifacts to develop its library and museum collections.  More info…

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Installation in art gallery
Installation by Roland Souliere at Urban Shaman. Image from www.rolandsouliere.com.

Urban Shaman (Winnipeg)
“Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art is a nationally recognized leader in Aboriginal arts programming and one of the foremost venues and voices for Aboriginal art in Canada.”  More info…

Young naked females wrapped in Hudson Bay blanket holding a teddy bear between the two of them.
Blanket 1 by Keesic Douglas part of Close Encounters exhibit at Urban Shaman. Image from www.artsforall.ca.

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Installation in gallery of patchwork flags and dolls
Work by Natalie Ball at Grunt Gallery. Image from www.grunt.ca.

Grunt Gallery (Vancouver)
Grunt is an artist-run centre founded in 1984 in Vancouver, BC, with a vision to be an international renowned artist-run centre furthering contemporary art practice. Through the exploration of our diverse Canadian cultural identity we offer innovative public programming in exhibitions, performances, artist talks, publications and special projects.” More info…

Gallery room full of canvases painted in West Coast art style
Work by Andrew Dexel at Grunt Gallery. Image from gruntarchives.tumblr.com.

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AbTec (Montreal)
AbTeC is a network of academics, artists and technologists whose goal is to define and share conceptual and practical tools that will allow us to create new, Aboriginally-determined territories within the web-pages, online games, and virtual environments that we call cyberspace.”  More info…


Work by Skawennati Fragnito of AbTec. Image from www.facebook.com/skawennati.

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Large painting by Isaac Narciso Weber of OCADU’s Indigenous Visual Culture Program, exhibit as part of  Planet Indigenus Festival. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Indigenous Visual Culture Program @ OCAD U (Toronto)
The program prepares students to engage in complex and evolving global discourses in Aboriginal history, art history and contemporary art practice across a range of expressions, material and media.”  More info…


Work in foreground by Tara Bursey from OCADU’s Indigenous Visual Culture Program, exhibit as part of Harbourfront Centre’s Planet Indigenus Festival. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

CURRENT & RECENT EXHIBITIONS CONTEMPORARY FIRST NATIONS, MÉTIS, INUIT & INDIGENOUS CULTURE

Logo that says Indigenous And Urban

Indigenous & Urban @ The Museum of Civilization (Ottawa)
OPENING TODAY!
“Live. Engaging. Diverse. Inspired and challenged by contemporary urban life,Canadian Indigenous artists address issues of identity and stereotypes through humorous and thought-provoking works. Indigenous and Urban is a summer-long program featuring visual and media arts, music, dance, film, readings and interactive workshops.”  More info…

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IN THE FLESH (Ottawa)
“In the Flesh examines the hierarchical relationship between humans and animals within a cultural and museological context, and investigates colonial politics, as well as issues of gender as they relate to the mastery of the natural world…In the Flesh grants us visual access to nature while calling into question the politics of representation. As the guest catalogue essayist Ariel Smith notes: “With In the Flesh, the Ottawa Art Gallery participates in a city-wide indigenization of gallery spaces to coincide with the National Gallery of Canada’s Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art exhibition. This indigenization does not exist within a vacuum, and we must reflect on the ways in which these acts of claiming space respond to and are in conversation with both the current and historical politics of Indigenous cultural sovereignty.””
More info…

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Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art (Ottawa)
CURRENTLY RUNNING UNTIL SEPT 2, 2013
“Sakahàn—meaning “to light [a fire]” in the language of the Algonquin peoples—brings together more than 150 works of recent Indigenous art by over 80 artists from 16 countries, celebrating the National Gallery’s ongoing commitment to the study and appreciation of Indigenous art. This exhibition is the first in an ongoing series of surveys of Indigenous art. The artworks in Sakahàn provide diverse responses to what it means to be Indigenous today. Through their works, the artists engage with ideas of self-representation to question colonial narratives and present parallel histories; place value on the handmade; explore relationships between the spiritual, the uncanny and the everyday; and put forward highly personal responses to the impact of social and cultural trauma. The artworks range from video installations to sculptures, drawings, prints, paintings, performance art, murals and other new, site-specific projects created specifically for this exhibition.”  More info…


Cover of Sakahan Catalogue. Image from www.amazon.com.

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Border Cultures Part One: homes, land (Windsor)
2013

“Border Cultures: Part One (homes, land) brings together artists working locally and nationally with those exploring these issues in Ireland, Mexico, Palestine to list a few. Using drawing and printmaking, sculpture and photography, video and sound-based installations, artists in this exhibition develop nuanced critiques and perspectives on questions of nationhood, citizenship and identity in the border-lands” More Info…


Installation by Dylan Miner. Image by Frank Piccolo on wcontemporaryart.wordpress.com.

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Contemporary Aboriginal art in a large gallery space with white wallsInstallation view of Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture at The Power Plant, Toronto, December 2012 – May 2013. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

Beat Nation (Toronto)
2013
Beat Nation describes a generation of artists who juxtapose urban youth culture with Aboriginal identity to create innovative and unexpected new works that reflect the current realities of Aboriginal peoples today. ”  More info…

Contemporary Aboriginal art in a large gallery space with white walls
Installation view of Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture at The Power Plant, Toronto, December 2012 – May 2013. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

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Poster for Fashionality featuring the work of Dana Claxton.

Fashionality @ The McMichael (Kleinberg)
2012
“Fashionality” is a newly coined term that refers to the visual culture and semiotics of dress and adornment. Combining the words “fashion,” “personality,” and “nationality,” it reflects the interplay between clothing, identity, and culture.”  More info…


Poster for Fashionality featuring the work of KC Adams.

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Art work by Luke Parnell. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Not So Fast | NSF (Toronto)
2012
“Objects tell a story and reveal a history through the way they are made. In the current state of late-capitalism, value is often measured in terms of speed and efficiency. NOT SO FAST | NSF invites a reconsideration of time and place to present different kinds of value. This exhibition brings together works by seven Indigenous artists who address the many products and by-products of consumer society.”  More info…


Work by Tania Willard. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

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AboDIGITAL (Kelowna)
2012
“In aboDIGITAL, Mi’kmaw artist Jordan Bennett examines the interface of audio-visual technologies and the internet with his First Nations heritage. Bennett’s art deftly blends such seemingly disparate elements as Mi’kmaq worldview, hip hop culture, ceremonial practice and graffiti aesthetics, creating dynamic works that express the fluidity, vitality and continuity of Aboriginal cultures in the present.More info…

Painting of a google search with the words "why are native americans' and the resulting drop down of resultsPainting by Jordan Bennett. Image from www.alternatorcentre.com.

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Artist Sonny Assu with Decolonize Me curator Heather Igloliorte.

Decolonize Me (Ottawa)
2011
“Decolonize Me features six contemporary Aboriginal artists whose works challenge, interrogate and reveal Canada’s long history of colonization in daring and innovative ways. Deliberately riffing on the title of Morgan Spurlock’s film, the pop-cultural phenomenon Super Size Me (2004), the exhibition’s title emphasizes the importance of recognizing the role of the individual within larger discussions of shared colonial histories and present-day cultural politics.” More info…


Decolonize Me show at Bishop University. Image from www.ubishops.ca.

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Image from www.ago.net.

Inuit Modern @ The AGO (Toronto)
2011
The exhibition considers how the Inuit have coped with and responded to the swift transition from a traditional lifestyle to one marked by the disturbing complexities of globalization and climate change.  More info

& The Inuit Modern Symposium
“Inuit artists and thinkers reflected on this statement during a three-part online symposium..
. It explored the questions: What are the current issues affecting Inuit art today and how has modernity complicated life in Canada’s far North? How has Inuit art changed the way that Canada and Inuit are viewed internationally?”  More on…

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Image from the cover of Close Encounters Catalogue.

Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years
2011
“A banner project for Winnipeg Cultural Capital of Canada 2010 Program comprised of a large-scale exhibition focused on presenting Indigenous art from around the world. This is an incredibly important show, featuring the work of a number of renowned Canadian Indigenous artists, complemented by some of the most innovative and engaging work drawn from Indigenous populations across the globe” More info…


Work by Pudlo Pudlat. Image from www.closeencounters.ca.

Aboriginal dance troupe performing outside on hills at night with city of Toronto as backdropKaha:wi Dance Theatre performing The Honouring at Fort York, Toronto. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

NATIONAL ABORIGINAL DAY: Is Canada Doing Enough?

A male and female performer in Indigenous dress with city scape behind themImage from Kaha:wi Dance Theatre performing “The Honouring” tonight & tomorrow @ 9:15 pm @ Fort York, Toronto, Performances are Free.

No.

Days of recognition are always problematic. There are celebrations for everything from Water to Women. In an age where a well branded campaign can get an issue talk time does the message get diluted when those commemorative days are reduced down to a quick and digestible moment of  cultural exchange?

When I bring up the Residential School System with non-native friends its shocking how no one seems to have much of an idea of what this is and what took place – is still taking place.

Genocides? Only happen in places with exotic names. Not here.

Slavery? That happened in America.

Apartheid? Nope.

Cultural Amnesia? Never heard of this.

Exactly!

Most Canadians no little about the history of Indigenous Peoples here in Canada and their experience of Indigenous culture is at arm’s length – behind glass in a museum, a film with questionable stereotypes, a Canada Day performance.

So on this National Aboriginal Day here’s a challenge for Canadians – let’s start to get acquainted with not only the history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people but also the contemporary issues that we as a country are connected to and implicated in.

If experiencing the Arts is your way to expose your mind to new narratives that’s great because we have so many amazing contemporary Aboriginal artists in this country and MIXED BAG MAG will continue to post on all the incredible talent. Best part – there’s probably something to experience the other 364 days of the year!

FRIDAY FOOD FOR THOUGHT

National Aboriginal Day: Friend or foe?
By Sarah Hunt for Media Indigena

“Today, June 21, is Canada’s National Aboriginal Day. This morning, like most other days, I woke up, made my coffee, and sat down to read the news. The consensus seems to be that today is a day to celebrate Aboriginal cultures and to remember our vibrant history within Canada.

In the newspapers, stories of celebration and cultural performance encourage all Canadians to learn about us, to let us share our cultures with them, and to celebrate Aboriginals as part of Canada’s strong foundation of diversity. And, like most other days, I also read stories about the ongoing struggles for Indigenous land rights, protection of Indigenous grave sites, and recognition of high rates of violence. Yet I further notice that coverage of these concurrent realities — the celebration and the struggles — seem to be kept very separate, as though they cannot exist together, or are somehow irreconcilable in the minds of Canadians and the federal government.”  Read more on Media Indigena

MIXED BAG MAG recommends joining this important project “Walking With Our Sisters” on their Facebook Group.

Over 600+ native women in Canada are reported missing or murdered in the last 20 years. Many vanished without a trace with inadequate inquiry into their disappearance or slaying paid by the media, the general public, politicians and even law enforcement. This is a travesty of justice.

Walking With Our Sisters is a commemorative art installation of 600+ moccasin vamps (tops) created and donated by hundreds of caring and concerned individuals to draw attention to this injustice.” Read more on www.walkingwithoursisters.ca

Image of the beaded tops of moccasins

FREE & EASY: Luminato Concert Series at David Pecaut Square Toronto

Woman playing guitar and singing on stage

K-os & Serena Ryder – snapping some great Canadian musicians. Home-grown talent at its best!

MIXED BAG MAG is pleased to showcase our talented guest photographer Ardean Peter’s coverage of some this year’s performances at the Luminato Hub. Out under the open air and starry skies (Luminato seems to have the Gods & Goddesses of weather on their side) each year you can enjoy music from all over – the most popular Italian rapper to the most acclaimed Sufi singers from Azerbaijan…it’s a definite trip. And best feature? It’s FREE so hit the Hub from 8 pm to 11 pm each night until this Sunday for some unique beats.

Man singing into microphone on stage

What Ardean has to say about Luminato:

“It is a treat to be able to see such talented and successful Canadian artists – and in a free venue! This past weekend I loved getting a chance to madly sing along to my favorite K-os songs and re-acquaint myself with Serena Ryder – a spectacular and genuine performer.

A bonus though was experiencing these artists amongst a diverse group of spectators – from age to ethnic background. Everyone was there to enjoy great live music and during the course of the night, I even connected with a new friend. Saturday night I found myself back at ‘The Hub’ for the Maxi Priest concert where I busted a move or two to the pop-reggae tunes.

I’m looking forward to attending a few more  performances at David Pecaut Square before the festival closes this Sunday but next year I plan to add even more of Luminato’s events to my schedule so I can experience and enjoy everything that Luminato has to offer!”

More of Ardeans beautiful work can be found at www.mynameisardean.com.
Follow Ardean on:
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Man singing into microphone on stage along with breakdancers and other man playing guitar
Man singing on stage with audience looking on
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage with her band in the background
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage with man walking behind her
Woman singing on stage
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage
K-os & Serena Ryder performing for Luminato 2013. All images by Ardean Peters.

Coming up this week at the Luminato Festival Hub:

WEDNESDAY: Patricia Cano (8 pm) & Danse Lhasa Danse (9 pm)

THURSDAY: L’Hsao (8 pm) & Patrick Watson (9 pm)

FRIDAY: Toronto Symphony Orchestra

SATURDAY:Kevin Breit (8 pm) & Roseanne Cash (9 pm)

SUNDAY: Garifuna Collective (2 pm) & Danny Michel (3 pm)

Can’t make it to the out? Each performance will be livestreamed on each artists’ event page.

Crowd lying on ground with bolsters behind their heads and headphones on listening to performer.
Large screen on stage with hands of DJ spinning records and performing
Crowd enjoying the Kid Koala performance at Luminato 2013. All images by Ardean Peters.

 

 

THE QUINTESSENTIAL 21st CENTURY ARTS FESTIVAL: Luminato

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”.

LUMINATO 2013 BEGINS TODAY! More info @ www.luminatofestival.com

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.

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.

VISUAL MEDICINE: Andrew Dexel Opening @ Neubacher Shor Contemporary in Toronto

Change of Seasons by Andrew (Enpaauk) Dexel. Acrylic on Canvas. Image from Neubacher Shor Contemporary.

“The explosion of colour is a form of medicine”

It’s fitting that Andrew Dexel’s work should follow MIXED BAG MAG’s post on the Journey of Nishiyuu. Andrew is another example of how young Aboriginal voices are getting our attention regarding the importance of referencing Indigenous Knowledge as a source for solutions to today’s problems.

Hailing from Vancouver, Andrew is from the Nlaka’pamux Nation. His work acknowledges the clash of values we have in Canada yet in its own way bridges the gap as he soothes the viewer with an artistic remedy.

“My work relates my spiritual path; my journey. I express the inspiration lovingly given to me through teachings and stories from my elders and mentors. My work embodies the powerful visions that I have been given through these teachings. I am grateful. My work is a modern expression embodying the symbolic abstract inspired by my home: Coast Salish Territory.” Andrew (Enpaauk) Dexel

Tomorrow evening in Toronto at the Neubacher Shor Contemporary Gallery in Parkdale Andrew’s show “Nooaitch” opens. As one of the artists featured in the online version of Beat Nation: Hip Hop as Indigenous Culture as well as the exhibition at SAW gallery in Ottawa, this solo show of Andrew’s work compliments the Beat Nation show currently on at The Power Plant.

Colourful painting down in Contemporary West Coast Art style Colourful painting down in West Coast Art style Colourful painting in the West Coast Style

“A fusion between graffiti and North West Coast Art”

“Ceremony and spirit, transformative art and ancient knowledge, these are themes throughout Nlaka’pamux artist, Andrew Dexel’s work…the voices of younger artists like Dexel who are working to fuse indigenous perspectives, aesthetics and tradition within new forms and materials are the cutting edge of ‘Native’ art. Dexel’s earlier work with graffiti art and street art led him to looking more diligently at Westcoast formline design and really solidified his ideas in line work. His unique palette, comes in part from this graffiti reference and also from the world of ceremony, the explosion of colour is a form of medicine, blowing up our expectations and creating new forms and ideas with diverse starting points. One part medicine, one part magic Dexel’s new body of work continues his exploration in healing and indigenous plant wisdom and ceremonial culture, with the beauty of his lines, the hopefulness of his palette and the spiritual animism that populate his canvasses.” ~ Tania Willard (co-curator of Beat Nation)

Andrew is part of a growing movement of contemporary Aboriginal artists who hover in the in-between space of traditional and modern. These artists blend together indigenous knowledge of healing  with a street smart aesthetic. It is here that  Andrew (Enpaauk) Dexel moves fluidly. He offers us “visual medicine.” Experience the healing.

Dexel’s new body of work continues his exploration in healing and indigenous plant wisdom and ceremonial culture”

Andrew’s new work at Nooaitch show

www.visualmedicine.ca | En Paa Uk Flickr Stream

WEDNESDAY NIGHT…
Opening Reception for Andrew Dexel: Nooaitch
Neubacher Shor Contemporary 6 – 9pm
(Show runs until April 27)
5 Brock Avenue, Toronto, M6K 2K6

Map to Neubacher Shor Contemporary

Logo that reads Neubacher Shor Contemporary

Acrylic painting on wood in West Coast Art styleRaven Child by Andrew (Enpaauk) Dexel. Acrylic on Crated Wood Panel. Image from Neubacher Shor Contemporary.

Star Nation by Andrew (Enpaauk) Dexel. Acrylic on Canvas. Image provided by Neubacher Shor Contemporary.

JOURNEY OF NISHIYUU: History Being Made at Parliament Hill Today

Aboriginal youth in a group with clock tower at Parliament Hill in background.
Image from www.Canada.com.

“EVERY STEP I TOOK WAS A PRAYER FOR MOTHER EARTH”

If the start of the 21st Century is teaching us anything it is that the small and simple micro movement has great power. Like a little pebble dropped into a pond we see the miracle of the radiating rings – vibrations that reach the far shore.

A few teenagers had an idea. Let’s walk they said. And they did. In a Canadian winter (all of us can relate to that kind of discomfort). Today as they reached the Capital as a country we had to acknowledge that the system is broken. All because some kids got up on their feet and decided to make a movement.

Congratulations to the youth and everyone who joined the walk along the way. I know there were also many of us who joined you in spirit by binding our hands to yours in our virtual spaces.

Thank you for humbling us all into action.

“WALKERS YOU HAVE ETCHED YOUR NAMES IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY TODAY”

Young aboriginal youth smiling at a supporter of the Journey of NishiyuuDavid Kawapit, original seven of Journey of Nishiyuu. Image from the Ottawa Citizen.

Check out their amazing website www.nishiyuujourney.ca.
Follow along on Facebook & twitter @nishiiyuu.

4 out of the original 7 members (Travis George, Stanley George Isaac Kawapit, and David Kawapit) celebrated their birthdays during the walk so why not give them a belated birthday present by donating to Journey of Nishiyuu cause!

Some great articles on the Journey of Nishiyuu walk to Ottawa:

Globe & Mail – Nishiyuu: A movement of Cree youth who voted with their feet

Canada.com – As Nishiyuu Walkers reach Ottawa, Canada should reflect on human rights

Ottawa Citizen – Nishiyuu Walkers reach Chelsea, their ranks swollen from seven to several hundred