OPENING THIS WEEK: GTA Art Shows @ Ryerson, Textile Museum, Prefix, A Space, Markham Museum & Manifesto Festival

Jam-packed. Art. Week.

OPENING WEDNESDAY
Ghost Dance: Activism. Resistance. Art.

Ryerson Image Centre
6 – 8 pm
Runs until December 15

Ghost Dance examines the role of the artist as activist, as chronicler and as provocateur in the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights and self-empowerment.”  More info…

Farandole: Perspectives on Western Canadian Metis Culture
Textile Museum of Canada
6:30 – 8 pm
Runs until November 14

“The exhibition’s title refers to a traditional French dance involving a chain formed as dancers hold hands, moving along in the leader’s path, captured in the cyclical relationship of collaboration, appropriation, and inspiration at the heart of Farandole. Exploring the ongoing connections between Métis and francophone culture, the exhibition offers a unique look at the continuum of high end fashion and traditional costume, storytelling, beadwork, weaving and embroidery. An innovative examination of 21st-century identity, Farandole reinforces the Textile Museum of Canada’s commitment to engaging experiences and creative practices that provide insight into our global context.” More info…

OPENING THURSDAY
Trade Marks: Keesic Douglas, Meryl McMaster, Nigit’stil Norbert & Bear Witness
Prefix @ 401 Richmond
7 – 10 pm
Runs until November 23

“Trade Marks presents a new generation of Indigenous artists who, through their various artistic strategies, challenge and interrogate working assumptions of who they are. The exhibition contributes to the recently revived conversation on what it is to be Indigenous in Canada today. It also considers how these artists have responded to the imposition of Western systems of classification on non-Western arts and how their artistic practices have been informed by methodologies of decolonization.”  More info…

This exhibition is presented by Prefix in association with ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

FYI – As Part of CULTURE DAYS curator Betty Julian will be giving a walk-through of the exhibit on Saturday, September 28 @ 2 – 2:30 pm. More info…


OPENING SATURDAY
Manifesto’s Sacred Seven Art Exhibition
& Heartist Pre-Show Panel Discussion
918 Bathurst St. (Dupont)
Panel Discussion (RSVP to rsvp@themanifesto.ca )
4- 6 pm

“HEARTIST A pre-show panel discussion and audience talk back about the growth of mentor-mentee collaborations in Canada, how they work, and add value to the health of the Canadian arts sector.” More Info…

Sacred Seven Art Exhibition
6 – 1 am

“The 7th Annual Manifesto Art Show will explore the notions of connectedness and evolution as we present thought-provoking works from over 25 artist across Canada and internationally.” More info…

Land|Slide Possible Futures
Markham Museum
Runs until October 14

“Land|Slide Possible Futures is a groundbreaking large-scale public art exhibition which responds to a world in transition where the past, present and future collide. The landscape of Markham will be transformed by the work of over 30 national and international artists to explore themes of multiculturalism, sustainability, and community.” More Info…

For directions on how to get there from Toronto including directions for TTC & Free Shuttle Services from MOCCA on every Saturday starting September 21  as well as this Sunday, September 22 click here.

Lovesick Child: Âhasiw Maskêgon-Iskwêw, Leslie McCue, & Adrian Stimson
A Space Gallery
Runs until October 26
Opening Reception October 18, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Lovesick Child is Toronto’s first retrospective exhibition between A Space Gallery and the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival on Aboriginal new media pioneer Âhasiw Maskêgon-Iskwêw. His work with the Canada Council for the Arts and the Banff Centre on a number of equity and new media initiatives such as Drum Beats to Drum Bytesin 1994 ensured Indigenous presence within the new territory of new media and the Internet.” More Info…

TIME FOR RADICAL CHANGE: Sakahàn at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Group of children Tlingit / Aleut artist Nicholas Galanin (top right) with some of the kids of the Sakahàn Youth Camp.

Sowing the seeds of change in programming for youth.

All of us have a story or two about a moment that was magical and breathed life into the parts of our mind that weren’t aware that we could dream so big.

Ottawa based Anishinaabe artist Melody McKiver tells of her mother, as a teenager, meeting Daphne Odjig – one of Canada’s great artists. Her father had taken her to an exhibit in Dryden, in the mid-70s. That chance encounter, although short, was powerful and pivotal in her mother’s life because she never knew that a Native woman could aspire to what Daphne had become.

If you can’t locate yourself in the faces of the makers of culture it may be impossible for you to know that the light inside of you has the potential to shine bright. Which is why programs like Sakahàn Youth are so critical. We won’t understand the full generational impact of Sakahàn on the Canadian cultural landscape  for a long time but I don’t doubt it will be pivotal for this country.

Left to Right: Some of the members of the Junior Curator Program. Children from the Summer Camp Program all at the opening night of Nigi Mikan / I Found It: Indigenous Women’s Identity at Fall Down Gallery, Ottawa. Curated by the Junior Curators.

Sakahàn – meaning “to light [a fire]” in the language of the Algonquin peoples.

Artists working outside on rock carving with machines for cutting into stone. Tlingit / Aleut artist Nicholas Galanin and assistant working outside of the National Gallery on his piece “Nature Will Reclaim You” just one of the many outdoor works.

For Melody, also a co-organizer for Niigaan Treaty Workshops, it is the first time in her lifetime she has experienced Ottawa engaging with Aboriginal artists in such a meaningful way and she is encouraged by the positive change. The exhibit also engages the people of Ottawa as it extends out into the city in many different venues and events – inside / outside, Government institutions as well as artist-run centres, university campuses, & urban powwows. The exhibit even extends beyond the city to include Decolonize Me currently on at the Art Gallery of Windsor and shows like artist Jeff Kahm at Urban Shaman, Winnipeg.

Melody goes on to say that because of  “the way that Sakahàn is set up it commands a different level of thought and introspection than other exhibits of this scale.”

And it is this insertion and inclusion into so many spaces that repeats an important motif across the Nation’s Capital – that contemporary Canada includes strong Indigenous voices.

Woman standing in front of an art work at a gallery speaking to youth sitting around her on the floor.

Photo by Patrick Doyle of the Ottawa Citizen

Métis artist and the National Gallery’s Sakahàn Educator Jaime Koebel relates this story:

LARA – “She was a young girl who had participated in the Sakahàn summer camp tours. I explained to the youth about “Āniwaniwa” and how a building that the community had a special connection to was overtaken by a flood. This flood was created by industry people in New Zealand who needed a hydro-electric dam to produce energy for the diamond mine they were putting in. She cried because I related it to losing Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health or the Odawa Native Friendship Centre and having love for a building. [The loss of that building would mean] not being able to practice your culture or traditions or have community gatherings anymore “because, what if the Ottawa River covered it all?” like the Waikato River in Hora Hora did? It was an example of how much this can affect our next generation. The very next visit, she was explaining to a new summer camp youth about Brett Graham’s “Āniwaniwa”  piece – she was confident and she wasn’t crying, she was participating and had learned a little piece of Indigenous history.”


Aniwaniwa
from Tony Clark on Vimeo.

Maori artist Brett Graham’s “Āniwaniwa”  is one of the moving installations at the National Gallery that communicates, in an aesthetically stunning way, a painful memory. I doubt that there is a single work included at Sakahàn that doesn’t touch on deep pain but with 150 pieces by over 80 Indigenous artists from 16 countries it is clear that there is a growing global movement to express and explore the best way to communicate the legacy of trauma to audiences of all backgrounds.

While visiting Ottawa from New Zealand Brett Graham had a chance to lead a workshop with the summer camp kids. With incredible experiences like this, where the youth are up-close and personal with some of the leading international artists of our time, they get the chance to have many magical moments.

The spark created by Sakahàn will give our youth the chance to go on to create a new cultural legacy for this country. It’s going to be amazing to see the artistic fruits that these children grow.

Can’t wait!

Logo for Sakahan Youth


Trailer by filmmaker Melody McKiver for Sakahàn Youth‘s Junior Curator project – Nigi Mikan / I Found It: Indigenous Women’s Identity

SAKAHAN CLOSES THIS LABOUR MONDAY, SEPT 2. DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO SEE THIS GROUNDBREAKING EXHIBIT!

Sakahàn’s Youth Programs through the National Gallery include:

Youth Tours
Junior Curator Program
Sakahàn Youth Ambassadors
Our Ways; Our Stories
– a lecture workshop series

As well as partnership programs with the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition:
Sakahàn Youth Summer Camps
Concentric Circles – Artists stay at 3 local reserves (Kitigan Zibi, Pikwàkanagàn, Akwesasne) for 1 week
Sakahan School Programs – this program will continue past Sakahan’s closing date of Sept 2 into the school year.

Follow  Sakahàn Youth on Facebook and twitter @Sakahan_Youth.

Also check out the CBC’s Waubgeshig Rice’s coverage of the Sakahàn Youth program
Teaching through aboriginal art camp: Children in Ottawa are learning about the First Nations culture through the Sakahàn camp”

Poster for Youth programming for Sakahan with image of a stone carving of two hands joined by a lock.

 

CINEFRANCO: Not Your Average French Film Festival

Woman with face tattoos looking out from behind a red curtain

Founder Marcelle Lean’s special flair for creating a unique line-up for this Francophone film festival.

Cinefranco Logo Hailing from Morocco (via Paris then England onward to Canada) Toronto is fortunate that Marcelle Lean, Cinéfranco’s Artistic Director, decided to call this city home. Her experience of moving through life by crossing over continents is the reason she is able to curate Cinéfranco with a rich diversity that allows for a deeper and more encompassing experience of Francophone culture(s).

Woman in sunglasses with city of Toronto, lake and CN Tower behind her.
Cinéfranco Founder & Artistic Director Marcelle Lean. Image from www.tfo.org.

Poster for Moroccan Film Femme EcriteWith Cinéfranco’s programming she is not afraid to take chances, even including films that are not fully in French as in Saturday’s Femme Écrite, a Moroccan Production in Arabic with English subtitles.

“Naïm, a renowned anthropologist, wants to make a film on beautiful Mririda, a Berber poet and courtesan who mesmerizes him. At the brothel where she used to go, Naïm is struck by the beauty, the sensuous tattoos of young prostitute Adjou. He immediately feels bound in his flesh and soul to Adjou, a kind of mirror image to Mririda. Adjou’s brutal murder triggers a police investigation. In his desperate search for truth, Naïm sways between a world of imagination and reality.

Lazcen Zinoun is the conductor of a film composed like a five-movement opus framed by tribal rituals and practices like the mysterious, erotic tattooing of women. He sings the hymn of freedom for women to control their own bodies in a society still paralyzed by ancient codes. He films Fatym Layachi’s goddess-like body with the same poetry and lyricism as he does the sexual passion that enflames the lovers. 

A film steeped in poetry and luminous beauty tinged with Pasolini overtones!” (cited from www.cinefranco.com)

Along with Femme Écrite another MIXED BAG MAG pick for this year’s Cinéfranco is the festival closer Tango Libre a French / Luxembourgian / Belgian production in French and Spanish with English subtitles.

“JC, an ordinary prison guard, meets Alice at his weekly tango classes. Attracted by the sensual woman, he is surprised to see her visiting two prisoners: Fernand, her husband and Dominic, her lover, both cell mates. Furious to learn his wife tangoes with the prison guard, Fernand ventures to ask the Argentinian boss for dancing lessons. The tango works its passionate magic: a breath of freedom sweeps the prison and the unusual quartet of lovers dangerously watched by Antonio, Alice’s teenage son.

Prisoners outside in a prison yard dancing the steps of the tangoDirector Frédéric Fonteyne (…) has crafted an intense, intelligent and affecting character piece that never quite goes where you expect. The always watchable Lopez is on top form, but the film’s real revelation is star and co-writer Paulicevich, whose Alice is tough, tender, and sometimes mesmerizingly unknowable” (Jonathan Romney) (cited www.cinefranco.com)

Whatever your taste (or language) Cinéfranco offers something for everyone!

Film Poster for Tango Libre

Visit Cinéfranco’s Schedule Page for more of the weekend line-up or follow on Twitter @cinefranco and Facebook.

CULTURAL HYBRIDITY: Fragmented or Fused?

Do we lose or gain in a world where we ‘cherry pick’ our cultural expressions?

Mixed Bag Mag attended a unique networking event this past Thursday at Tryst Nightclub – BINDAAS: Indian and Israeli Fusion.

Described as an evening where the Jewish and Indian communities could learn about each other’s cultures the club looked like it was filled with a transmigratory crowd that already knew when it is appropriate to say “Mazel Tov!” and that Mehndi isn’t something you eat. In the space was a collection of open minds, worldly and experienced, ready to be entertained by the hottest new hybrid!

So it provoked a question.

In a time and place where many of us use a string of hyphenated descriptors to tie together who we are, what we do and how we worship, is the essential thread getting unrecognizably knotted?

Experiencing the reaction of the crowd to Shye Ben Tzur’s mix of Muslim-Hebrew-Indian-classical-contemporary music the answer is that the 21st Century is about meaningful fusion not fragmented remnants. Something old is not being lost but rather something fresh and new is being gained.

Mixed Bag Mag had a great time at BINDAAS and thanks Size Doesn’t Matter for hosting a distinctive event.

Follow Size Doesn’t Matter on Facebook & Twitter @SDoesntMatter







Photography by Leah Snyderfor Mixed Bag Mag.

MASHUP MUSIC: Ashkenaz Festival Wrap Up

Celebratory Finale

“The signature event of the Ashkenaz Festival, the Ashkenaz Parade transforms Harbourfront Centre into a swirling cavalcade of music, dance, theatre, masks, giant puppetry, stiltwalkers and various other forms of pomp and pageantry. Once again under the direction of Toronto street theatre stalwarts Shadowland Theatre (Anne Barber and Brad Harley, Artistic co-Directors), the Parade features hundreds of musicians, artists and community participants in a joyful and whimsical procession that serves as the penultimate climax to the Ashkenaz Festival. This year’s Parade is based on an imagined “sequel” to the famous tale of the Golem of Prague, in which the famous monster of Jewish folklore embarks on a journey of self-discovery in order to find love and personal fulfillment.” (cited www.ashkenazfestival2012.sched.org )










Photography by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag

FYI – Mixed Bag Mag recommends checking out Caribbean Tales Film Festival running this week at Harbourfront Centre. More information on film screenings here.

THE ORIGINAL TRICKSTA!: Scotiabank Buskerfest in Toronto

Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.

Lighting a fire under our collective keisters!

Why Buskerfest? Because all cultures have a history of trickster characters who offer social commentary via entertainment!

Traditionally buskers are transmigratory, crossing borders mixing into weird and wonderful clusters that gather around at the fringe of societies. When they exit the edge to come out onto centre stage they reflect back to us a little something about who we are. More than just transcending barriers with their daredevil feats they crack social barriers bringing the community together for a little fun. They use wit to break the ice with the crowd and aren’t afraid to be playful provocateurs heckling the audience to shake them up.

The joke de rigueur this year was that “Toronto is the most diverse city on the planet so it would really suck to be a racist here!”  Undoubtedly, yes. But if your mind is open and barrier free Toronto is the perfect place to be!

Thanks to Nile and his mommy Jamie, Rebecca and her daddy Antony, Aisha, Farrah, Nazira and  Bushra, Yamoussa and Maccie for all your smiles!

For more information on Scotiabank Buskerfest visit their >website, friend them on >facebook or follow on twitter >@BuskerfestTO.

Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil performers facepainted at Buskerfest Toronto.
Yamoussa Bangoura, Artistic Director of www.kalabante.org & Maccie Paquette, www.macciepaquette.com.

Photography by Leah Snyder & Ahmed Sirry for Mixed Bag Mag.

BALKAN-KLEZMER-GYPSY-PARTY-PUNK SUPER BAND: The Lemon Bucket Orkestra


The Lemon Bucket Orkestra performing on King Street after Luminato 2012.

An apt description!

If you have yet to experience The Lemon Bucket Orkestra then there is something special waiting for you at Scotiabank’s Toronto Buskerfest this weekend (at the St. Lawrence Market) as well as Harbourfront Centre’s ASHKENAZ Festival next weekend.

It would take a whole lot of words to describe the experience of witnessing a performance by The Lemon Bucket Orkestra – they are musical Vitamin B! Peps you up, is good for what ails ya!  They are a true musical mashup crossing cultural borders and musical genres. Treat yourself sometime this weekend to being caught up in the moment – Lemon Bucket Style!


Toronto’s The Lemon Bucket Orkestra performing on the anniversary of the Toronto Blackout.

Check out the The Lemon Bucket Orkestra website for more videos, snaps and tour info and follow their updates this weekend on facebook and twitter @Lemonbucket.

For information on the Toronto Buskerfest visit their website, facebook page and follow on twitter @BuskerfestTO.


The Lemon Bucket Orkestra performing on King Street after Luminato 2012.

Photography by Leah Snyder