KICKSTART THE MONTH OF MAY: Contact Opens, Jane’s Walks’ Weekend & the NAC Features “huff”

How one woman changed a community then went on to change the world.

So much of the way we think and act around neighbourhood, community and city building in the 21st Century is because of the ideas of a single woman – Jane Jacobs. If you need an example of how one human being can have huge impact, Jane is that inspiring person who walked her talk and went on to inspire an international movement. Her ideas of what a community should be resonated with many because it articulated what people already knew to be true as to why certain spaces become thriving communities.

Every year, to honour Jane’s legacy, cities world-wide hosts walks that allow people to discover some brilliant nuance of the place where they live that they may never have discovered otherwise. All of this is possible due to the thousands of volunteers who get out into their community and share their knowledge during Jane’s Walks.

I just discovered the above video highlighting a great walk I participated in a few years back. This walk, that featured the work of Toronto’s many street artists, had us meandering through the downtown core via the back alleys where a technicolour world awaited us. The tour was given by Jason of the Tour Guys, an organization in Toronto that specializes in giving offbeat tours of one of North America’s most interesting cities.

Women who are Indigenizing city spaces.

This year, in both Toronto and Ottawa, walks will be given that highlight the history of Indigenous Peoples.

Toronto’s Jane’s Walks’ lineup includes The Steps of Old Lake Iroquois.

“This walk will explore historic land use along Davenport Rd and the lands along the ridge while providing excellent views of the city. How did First Nations people get around? Who were some of the early movers and shakers? What was the origin of Wychwood Park?”

In Ottawa there is a newly launched initiative, Indigenous Walks, and IW’s tour guide, local Metis artist and educator Jaime Koebel, will be sharing her knowledge and passion for Indigenous history on Saturday and Sunday at 2pm each day. Jaime uses the experience of sight-seeing the beautiful monuments in the Capital city to allow people to experience the history of Ottawa, as well as the history of Canada, by walking in the shoes (or moccasins) of an Indigenous person. The tour starts at the Human Rights Monument at City Hall. More info can be found here. 

And speaking of Indigenizing public spaces, artist Dana Claxton’s (Lakota) “Indian Candy” is part of CONTACT, Toronto’s annual festival celebrating the art of photography.

Each year CONTACT commissions work to be put up on billboards around the downtown core, activating what is normally a space reserved for spreading  a message of commerce to instead spread messages on social issues.

Dana’s work  “interrogates the presentation of Indigenous iconography through the digital archive in Indian Candy.

Working from found images of the “Wild West” sourced online, the artist focuses on those connected to Sitting Bull, the iconic tribal leader who led a resistance against government policies in the United States. As a descendant of Sitting Bull’s band who came to Canada, Claxton simultaneously mines her own personal family history and the legacy of racism. Her diverse range of images present aspects of Indigeneity in a new light; from the buffalo, which represents spirituality for Lakota people and was a main source of sustenance until their near annihilation, to signed souvenir cards from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. As a whole, Indian Candy uncovers truths and performs as a provisional archive of Aboriginal imagery seen through the lens of colonialism.” 

For the month of May you will be able to see Dana’s billboards along Dundas St. West. For more information on the exhibit as well as a map click here.

Also part of CONTACT, some of MIXED BAG MAG’s favourite people, projects and art spaces!

THE POWER PLANT WITH
WEDGE CURATORIAL

Pictures from Paradise: A Survey of Contemporary Caribbean Photography
More info…
Opening Party Tomorrow!


THE GLADSTONE HOTEL WITH MANIFESTO
40 Years of Hip Hop Photography
More info…
Opening Party Tonight! 


MOCCA WITH MERYL MCMASTER:

Material Self: Performing the Other Within
More info…
Opening Party Tonight! 

And another favourite MIXED BAG MAG space for the arts, this time in Ottawa, is The National Arts Centre. This week “huff” has opened at the NAC and runs through until May 10. This provocative work has left everyone I know who has experienced it, changed. It’s not a piece of theatre that is easily digestible but despite the heavy subject matter, substance abuse among First Nations’ youth, people seem to walk away feeling that the experience of being uncomfortable witnessing Cliff Cardinal’s one man show was a positive one that includes a message of hope!

For more information on ‘huff’ visit the National Arts Centre website.

FYI – $12 Student Rush Tickets available here!

 

For more information on the Scotiabank CONTACT Festival visit their website,

For more information on Jane’s Walks visit the Toronto and Ottawa full schedule links below:

Jane’s Walk’s Toronto Schedule

 

 

Jane’s Walk Ottawa Schedule

 

FYI-  Be a part of the Samba Launch Party Procession Tonight at 6 pm. MIXED BAG MAG’ fave Zahra Ebrahim of archiTEXT will be one of the procession leaders of this walk that is all about PLAY! Details here.

WISHING EVERYONE A WEEKEND WHERE YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW & HAVE FUN!

All above images of Jane’s Walk 2011 (Graffiti Tour & Samba Procession) by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

 

THE MIX IN TORONTO THIS WEEK: Ichimaru, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Fatoumata Diawara, Jon Blak & Jean-Luc Godard

Black grafitti wall with faces outlined in white Corner of Richmond & John St. Toronto. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Are we in a new time and place?

In a Ali Baba franchise off Richmond Street in Toronto I sat with two friends eating falafel. It was time for the sunset call to prayer. The voice of an imam sang Bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim out from the owner’s laptop.

One friend was explaining Métis history to the other friend originally from Paris. Mon ami parisien paused. With a growing look of elation on his face he declared how beautiful this moment was – the Arabic praise to Allah here in Toronto, traditional Anishinaabe territory, on a busy urban street while speaking of the Métis, a word that is rooted in the French for ‘mix’.

It was a beautiful moment that we, in this hyper-hybrid context of Canada in the 21st Century, can easily take for granted. But these conversations are powerful because they are the wards that support us moving forward towards deep and empathetic inclusivity. The power of storytelling!

And what is happening this week in the Toronto culture scene is storytelling from a multiplicity of viewpoints using various artistic mediums.

It’s going to be a great week!

Portrait of Geisha in black and white

From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru opens today at the Textile Museum, tomorrow evening is Anishinaabe writer / activist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson launch of “Islands of Decolonial Love”, Saturday Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara will be performing at Koerner Hall and “Home: Photographs of Jon Blak” opens at The Gladstone Hotel. Finally the French connection – the films of Jean-Luc Godard are being featured at TIFF this week until mid-February.

(left image of Geisha Ichimaru provided by the Textile Museum)

 

From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru

“The fascinating life of Ichimaru (1906-1997), one of the most famous geishas of the 20th century due to her exceptional singing voice, is told through this collection of her magnificent kimonos and other personal effects. In the 1930s, Ichimaru left geishahood to pursue an illustrious career as a full-time recording artist, but even as a diva, she continued to perform in full geisha regalia.” Read more…

Runs through to May 25, 2014
Hours Daily 11 am – 5 pm
Wednesdays 11 am – 8 pm
$15 General Admission
Pay What You Can Wednesdays from 5 – 8 pm

Woman speaking and holding beaded wampum belt with other panelists
Leanne Simpson speaking on a panel at Niigaan Gala. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

The Catalyst Café featuring Leanne Simpson, Tara Williamson, Sean Conway & Nick Ferrio

“Leanne teamed up with Indigenous musicians including Tara Williamson, Nick Ferrio, Sean Conway, Sarah Decarlo, Melody McKiver, Cris Derksen & A Tribe Called Red, to record writings from her book Islands of Decolonial Love as a spoken word/musical performance.

Renowned writer and activist Leanne Simpson vividly explores the lives of contemporary Indigenous Peoples and communities, especially those of her own Nishnaabeg nation in her debut collection of short stories in Islands of Decolonial Love.” Read more…

Thursday January 30
8-10pm @ The Music Gallery, Toronto’s Centre For Creative Music
197 John St.
Doors Open @ 7pm
$15 | $10 students Purchase Tickets Here

Image of female singer in African and western style outfitFatourmata Diawara performing at Luminato 2012. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Fatoumata Diawara with Bassekou Kouyate

“Named by TIME magazine in late 2012 as one of the next 10 artists poised for stardom, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara originally moved to France to study acting, and appeared in several films before picking up the guitar and writing her own songs. “Enchanting and blissful. Her well-crafted songs are often light and breezy, but her soulful voice brings a bluesy depth and potency that can stop you in your tracks.” Read more…

Saturday, February 1
8 pm @ Koerner Hall
Purchase Tickets Here

HOME: Photographs by Jon Blak

“Home presents photographs by Jon Blak that explore Caribbean Canadian history, culture, art and music with a particular focus on youth culture. Toronto-based photographer Jon Blak works as an artist and educational outreach mentor. Much of his work addresses racism, stereotypes, and role-modelling for young people. Blak’s images reflect the changing contemporary cultural milieu in both Jamaica and Canada as he examines issues around class, race and cultural production to celebrate the impact of community. Home will include an interactive installation, and a short documentary film by Matthew Mulholland.” Read more…

Opening Saturday, February 1
10 pm – 1 am @ The Gladstone Hotel
Runs until February 28
12 – 5pm Daily 2nd Floor Gallery

PRESENTED BY WEDGE CURATORIAL WITH THE GLADSTONE HOTEL AS PART OF TD THEN & NOW SERIES 2014

Godard Forever: Part One

“The first part of our massive, two-season Jean-Luc Godard retrospective — spanning the French New Wave master’s “Golden Age” from his epochal debut Breathless to the apocalyptic nightmare of Weekend — comprises perhaps the most innovative, influential and revolutionary body of work in all of cinema.”More info & full schedule…

Runs until February 13 at TIFF Bell Lightbox on King St. W.

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 www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“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 (imagewww.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

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

“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 www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

black stroke2Fik’s Unreleased @ Gallery West

2Fik, Picnic sur l’étang [Picnic on the swamp], 2009 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“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 www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“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 www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“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

black stroke
Meryl McMaster’s In-Between Worlds @ Katzman Kamen Gallery
Meryl McMaster, Aphoristic Currents, 2013 (image www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“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 www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com)

“ 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