HOW WE CARED

HOW WE CARED

Three video stills ontop of blueprints and maps

HOW WE CARED
Saroja Ponnambalam & Rupali Morzaria

How can we create our own architectures of liberation? How we cared (3-channel video installation) is a return to Pandi Kumaraswamy’s archives, reinterpreting the multiple systems of care in his life, over which he had varying levels of autonomy. This expanded schematic of forced care, natural forms of care and creative care. The three sites operate within a fluid and undetermined ecosystem spanning the healthcare/medical world to the spiritual/natural based on family experiences. The schematic attempts to move away from finite solutions to healing medically diagnosed disorders. It prompts viewers to take a step back from conventional architectural practices that use speculative methods to conjure up imaginary built environments for those receiving mental health care.

Saroja Ponnambalam is an Ontario-based filmmaker. Her art practice involves working with a variety of documentary mediums – animation, photographs, family video archives and interviews. Her more recent work explores intergenerational mental health experiences through an intersectional lens.

Rupali Morzaria is a designer and film programmer currently based in Tiohti:áke/ Montreal. She is moved by storytelling and movement—in film, dance, and advertising—and uses design as a way to indulge in this fascination. Her work is based in traditional forms of print media and finding new forms of expression within contemporary media arts.

 

Keywords: BIPOC Experience | Bipolar Disorder(s)| Depression | Family | Psychiatry

IN-PERSON VIDEO INSTALLATION
CAMH (ground floor window)
1025 Queen Street West
Oct 28 – Nov 7

This piece has an audio component that will need to be accessed through a personal mobile/cellular device onsite. If data is unavailable, access to Wi-Fi is available upon request.

Headphones/earphones are also recommended to bring to experience this installation, though not necessary if mobile/cellular device has a speaker. Workman Arts will have extra headphones available onsite upon request.

If accessing this in-person installation is a barrier and to find out alternate ways to experience this piece, please contact Paulina Wiszowata at paulina_wiszowata@workmanarts.com or at 416-583-4339 ext 6. 

WORKSHOP – MOCA PARTNERSHIP:
FROM SCRAPBOOK TO SCREEN
Sun, Nov 7, 1 PM ET

Join artist Saroja Ponnambalam for a virtual workshop that responds to MOCA’s GTA21 exhibition.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Made with funding support from Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council

Toronto Arts Council - Funded by the City of Toronto
Ontario Arts Council Logo

COAL MINES AND TREE TOPS

COAL MINES AND TREE TOPS

Man making "shush" gesture to bird

COAL MINES AND TREE TOPS
Dani Crosby

This body of work titled Coal Mines and Tree Tops follows the main character, a canary through different scenarios meant to represent an autistic experience. These images represent the experiences of the artist, Dani. However, they are meant to be related to by anyone who finds a connection to the work. This body of work discusses Dani’s personal experiences as an autistic person. Dani chose the canary as a visual metaphor for strength, sensitivity, vulnerability, and perceived expendability. Each piece explores a different experience and their creation has helped Dani process these experiences, some for the first time. In this series, Dani visually discusses subject matter such as: positive connection, strengths, relationships, abuse, sensory management and overwhelm, vulnerability to predatory individuals, coping mechanisms, the weight of masking and more.

“I decided to create this work about my experiences because I finally feel safe to do so. I feel it is time to remember out loud, to create visual evidence of past and present challenges and joys associated with my identity. I feel it is time to start sharing my experiences with others. This is a first step in what I hope will be an ongoing discussion in my work. This work serves to benefit me therapeutically and also possibly provide others with understanding and a sense of compassion between myself and those who have had similar experiences.” -Dani Crosby

Dani Crosby is an artist, illustrator, arts educator and community collaborator working and living in central Oshawa. Art has become many things for Dani – a service they offer and an experience to share in academic settings. But before any of these things it serves as a place to put the parts of themselves that have nowhere else to go. Dani recognizes how lucky they are to have this outlet. Dani has been making art since childhood and has never stopped. They began showing, creating illustrations, and teaching visual arts in 2004 and continue to this day.

 

Keywords: Alcoholism | Anxiety | Depression | Trauma

PANEL:
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: CHANGING THE NARRATIVE
AUTISTIC REELS: RECLAIMING OUR STORIES
Sun, Oct 31, 1 PM ET


Note: The link to the virtual panel is accompanied with the film ticket to “Autistic Reels: Reclaiming Our Stories”.
All films are PWYW

ACCESSIBILITY

SELF // ISOLATION

SELF // ISOLATION

Blurred grey smoke-like smudges.

SELF // ISOLATION
Chelsea Watson

Self // Isolation is a collection of digital pieces generated from photographs taken by the artist in her home. One portrait was taken for every month she spent alone in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using code to manipulate the photographs through a process called generative art, the images morph from everyday household objects and scenes of day-to-day life, into indiscernible blurs. Drawing from experience with anxiety and depression, the artist attempts to capture the chaos, fog and distortion, which is often experienced in times of trauma, and acutely felt by most during the pandemic. The project is a comment on the unreliability of memory and the brain’s misperception of reality, and ultimately a reflection on the artist’s progressive mental decline during the lockdown.

Chelsea Watson is an artist from Calgary, Canada currently residing in Toronto. Her unique process, known as generative or computational art, uses creative coding to make computer programs that create art. Chelsea’s work is purposefully random with an appreciation for imperfection. She draws inspiration from tactile art forms, such as paintings, ceramics and textiles to create layered and textured pieces with code as her medium.

Keywords: Addiction | Dispalcement | Harm Reduction | Healthcare | Indigenous rights | Trauma

MASTER CLASS:
SELF ISOLATION – LEARNING TO MAKE COMPUTATIONAL ART
DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
In spring 2020, Chelsea Watson taught herself how to make art from code by creating 100 computational pieces in 100 days. What started as an exploration of a new artistic medium, this structured approach to creating art became a way for her to connect and cope while self-isolating for the better part of a year. Join Chelsea as she takes you through her challenge, and walks you through a hands-on workshop to explore generative art and introduce the basics of creating art using code.

Recording available online Oct 28 – Nov 7

ACCESSIBILITY

Jo, Don't Go There

Jo, Don't Go There

a note from Oliver Jane, Creator of Jo Don’t Go There

Sometimes the “show must not go on” and that’s ok.

When I made the decision to not move forward with my piece Jo Don’t Go There in Rendezvous with Madness 2020, I was encouraged by my friend and contact at Workman Arts to write a short reflection for all of you in lieu of the show. Here you will find some rambling, musing, and reflecting. Thank you for taking a brief moment to reflect with me.

When I agreed to move forward with the project several months ago, I was excited by the challenge of transferring my live performance pieces to video web content. Unfortunately, I found that meeting the demands of a precarious/always changing pandemic environment made completing the project difficult. I am an artist that lives with chronic pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, PTSD symptoms, and OCD symptoms. The greatest lesson I have learned from managing all of these is that I should not go beyond my limits. Unfortunately, working in solo-isolation and not having funding to adequately compensate others to do the much-needed-tasks to make this project show-ready was bringing me close to my limits.

Since I made the choice to pause the show, the phrase “the show must go on” has been echoing through my mind. Upon reflecting on the nagging presence of this phrase within my mind, I recall that I have, almost exclusively, operated within creative environments where that sentence is espoused. I have worked in so many creative environments where the expectation to see a show to its completion is demanded of artists, producers, and production teams: no matter the cost. My years training to be an artist and working professionally have been colored by watching many friends and colleagues sacrifice their physical and mental health to see work to its completion. For many years I have wondered if creative communities should let go of the phrase “the show much go on” and refrain from normalizing the practice of sacrificing physical and mental wellness amongst artists. What I have witnessed in theatre schools and amongst theatre makers has made me consciously attempt to avoid working myself beyond my limits so that I do not worsen my already-sometimes-very-challenging health.

So I say once again, to comfort myself and to encourage those who find themselves also facing projects, businesses, and plans that need to be put on pause, closed, or canceled as a result of the pandemic: “the show must not go on” and that’s ok.

I’d like to offer gratitude to the team who has assisted me during this process. Though the show will not be viewed in this festival, I am continuing the reflect on and develop the body of work I have made thus far. I feel I must offer my deep gratitude to all those who gave me their time and talents.

  • I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with my older brother, a very skilled video editor, who has been a cherished peer, mentor, and teacher (of art and life) for these last several months.
  • I am grateful to the handful of talented musician friends who were willing to do some work on this project for free, for very low fees, or for barter.
  • I am grateful to Workman Arts for supporting me as I adjusted the show to the changes brought about by the pandemic. This is my second experience working with Workman Arts, and I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate the work Kelly, Scott, Cara, Paulina, and the rest of the team working behind the scenes at Workman Arts do to make this really special festival happen. And during a pandemic, no less!
  • Finally, I am grateful for organizations like Workman Arts that are actively striving to foster greater diversity of representation within the Ontario and Toronto creative community. I hope you all will continue to support and patronize Workman Arts even after the festival has passed.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the festival, you remember to stay safe, you do what you can to support and aid the most vulnerable in our communities, you donate to groups and organizations that are trying to address the already existing racial and economic inequality within North America that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and you all focus your energies on taking care of your immunity and your mental health while the world faces global crisis. I know I will!

I send love and gratitude to you all.

-Oliver Jane

goat(h)owl theatre / Lead Artist, Performer, Creator, Writer: Oliver Jane / Collaborator, Performer: Leah Pritchard / Collaborator, Performer: Jillian Rees-Brown / Video Collaborator, Editor: Jon Jorgensen

Enter the mind of Jo, a nonbinary trauma survivor, video artist and clown. Meet Jo’s consciousness embodied: their performative imaginary friend Oli Oli Ennui, a snarky clown who doesn’t take all this modern art stuff too seriously. If you know Jo’s personal story (hailing from NYC, navigating OCD and PTSD while occupying space in Toronto during the pandemic), do you know Jo? If you hear Oli sing punk-injected cabaret, do you know their soul? Experience Jo’s multimedia happening: a video series, music playlists, Instagram uploads, photo exhibition and a live installation performance at 651 Dufferin Street. This collection of fragments resonates in permanent refrain: Do you know me now?

Founded by Maria Wodzinska and Oliver Jane in 2017, goat(h)owl generates collaboratively devised experiences. Grounded in the body, at the core of every piece is a question. We take flight through our investigation of the thematic territory, of our position to the question, and of our will-to-know. We attempt to affirm the unknowable with proposals — playing in-front-of/with/around an audience. We want to shake up sedimented modalities of meaning and truth-telling with our moving ensemble. We point the eye to the kaleidoscope of forms created. Do we invite the audience to make meaning? Yes. Do we make meaning? Come and see.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Loud Sounds, Mature Language, Nudity, Rape and/or Sexual Violence, Sexual Content, Suicide

Neuroelastic

Neuroelastic

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

Headshot of a person facing the camera with vividly colored stretchy paper strips wrapped around their head.

Creator: Laura Shintani / A/V: Grant Padley

Neuroelastic is a self-activated artistic performance. Taking a cue from the well-known concept of Dr. Norman Doidge’s neuroplasticity, it is inspiring that the mind can adapt in new ways. The artist imagined an idea; by wrapping oneself in streams of coloured synaptic “bandages” this symbolic act can allow thoughts and feelings to show on the outside. Using photography as documentation, a capture of the moment reveals what is hidden. This artwork of self-permission reflects on not only the unseen being seen, but that it can be changed. This collection of images I hope can read as a zany family album of the mind. Neuroelastic is an interior selfie and an invitation to an altered way of being.

Laura Shintani is a Toronto-based multimedia artist who creates work in order to provoke questions in artistic forms. Shintani represents a hybrid of work, art making, study and teaching. She is interested in seeing people embrace the cycle of creativity: playing, problem solving and reflecting. Raised in small-town Ontario, Shintani later studied fashion design at Ryerson University and received a degree from the University of Toronto. After personal discovery she made art a vocation and earned a Master of Fine Art from the University of Windsor. Shintani’s most significant exhibition was at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2019.

This artist has interactive materials which will be provided in the RWM swag bag in order to interact with their virtual content. All ticket holders will be invited to receive RWM swag bags available for free curbside pickup during festival hours.

Images of the Neuroelastic installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all ticket purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Due to Renovations

Due to Renovations

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A photograph of a bottom half of a mannikin with a roll of silver duct tape on top of it against a concrete block wall. A piece of pink duct tape on the wall overlaps a piece of silver duct tape, with the two pieces forming an X shape.

Creator: Van Lisa

Due to Renovations is an installation piece focusing on a transmasculine experience of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Through several casting techniques, the artist captured their transitioning body at different stages of their HRT. These casts are suspended and framed within a construction zone containing other artifacts from the artist’s transition, including: a video montage of their gender identity experimentation, medical supplies and reports from their HRT and notated anatomy blueprints. Themes explored within the work include westernized concepts of gender expression; gender and body dysphoria; body modification and drag. Due to Renovations is an autobiographical paradox: it attempts to preserve a transition for both the spectator and the artist.

Van Lisa is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on performance. As an AFAB (assigned female at birth) transgender individual, their work aims to conceptualize and challenge westernized ideologies of the transmasculine experience. Van works in Tkaronto as a performer and curator and is a part of the curatorial collective for both the 2020 and 2021 Rhubarb Festival’s at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Nudity, Mature Language, Sexual Content

Images of the Due to Renovations installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Van Lisa will be participating in the virtual panel discussion Resistant Bodies: The Intersections of Self and Health on October 21, at 1 PM. Click here to book a ticket.

Multitude of Fish

Multitude of Fish

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A photograph of many small hand-sculpted red clay fish laid out on a rocky river bank.

Creator: Jenny Chen

Multitude of Fish is an installation consisting of 1000 handmade clay fish. In this piece, the artist touches on layers of meaning through its process and how it’s experienced by the viewer. She explored how things we cannot see like intention, emotions and thoughts, form our reality. This is reflected in the creation process as each mark carved into the clay builds up to the fish and eventually becomes a piece to the overall installation. For the past two years, Jenny worked with the image of water in her drawings which was preliminary work that led up to this installation. In her work, the fish flows through its surrounding space and leads the viewer on a journey reminiscent of the inner realm.

Jenny Chen is a multimedia artist, currently working in watercolor, pen and clay. Her work uses symbols to create otherworldly environments while considering themes of existentialism and spirituality. Her exhibition history includes the Living Arts Centre (group), Toronto Media Arts Centre (group) and United Contemporary (solo). She is a recipient of grants from the Ontario Arts Council (exhibition assistance) and Cue Arts Projects.

Images of the Multitude of Fish installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

ALSO OF INTEREST

untitled ({not} always like this)

untitled ({not} always like this)

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A photograph depicting a wire wastebasket in the corner of a room, overflowing with crumpled tissues covered in a smooth, hard yellowish or grayish substance.

Creator: Kassandra Walters

untitled ([not] always like this) is an ongoing artwork created by collecting the artist’s used tissues and dipping them in porcelain, adding worth to an otherwise worthless object. The piece is a response to the society we live in and the importance placed on doing: you must make, you must work, you must grind. Our opinions of ourselves are tied to a quantifiable output rather than how we feel. Instead, we should spend time listening to our bodies, allowing ourselves to take things slow, being intentional with the way we move through the world and giving ourselves permission to heal from the everyday. These tissues hold the memories of going against the grain, of days stuck in sickness and hours lost crying.

Kassandra Walters is a multimedia artist currently practicing in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. Her art tackles mental health, all that it encompasses and all that encompasses it. With a strong desire to normalize speaking about the unspeakable, Kassandra’s work is honest and raw. She finds solace in the act of making through repetition.

This artist has an item in the RWM swag bag to go with their piece in the exhibition. All ticket holders will be invited to receive RWM swag bags available for free curbside pickup during festival hours.

Images of the untitled ([not] always like this) installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Scarecrow

Scarecrow

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

An abstract painting of a monstrous figure; its arms are spread and its head appears to be exploding.

Creator: Mitchell Clark Meller

GENRE: VISUAL ART

Quote from the artist: My work is a reflection of an idiot world run by idiots. A two faced world where if you “appear” good, then you are an upstanding person. Being good is not important, just “appearing” good. A place where you can have a career managing and polishing someone’s public persona to make them appear human when they’re actually reptiles. A place where selfishness rules and the ego dictates action. I’m just here for a limited time and I paint what actually IS.

As a self-taught outsider artist from Toronto, Mitchell’s talent is intuitive and his paintings spring from an authentic need for expression. He discovered that through painting, one can overcome hardships. Working in a variety of media in a self -defined style, his larger works begin as vast, abstracted canvases that act like theatre venues, unveiling narratives of semi-figurative actions, improbable scenarios and inordinate scripts. The works offer the artist’s unique vision of the world through narratives of discontentment and critique, mockery and playfulness or just the simplicity of being.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Violence, Suicide, Anxiety

 

Please visit our online store to purchase:
Looking Up While Down I
Lamb (Scarecrow Redux)
Phoenix Pt. II

Images of the Scarecrow installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Post-Part

Post-Part

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

Post Part

Lead Artist: Catherine Mellinger / Director: Pazit Cahlon / Illustrator and Content Creator: Nat Janin / Sound Design: Adam Harendorf

Post-Part is a room within a room installation that draws on the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Barbara Ehrenreich, the modern collage movement and the RGB innovation of Carnovsky. Post-Part re-imagines a 19th century-style brocade wallpaper pattern incorporating “hidden” illustrations, collage elements and sensor-triggered audio, to bring to life the experience of postpartum mood disorders, including postpartum psychosis. Handheld cellophane filters reveal collage compositions hidden within the wallpaper, and the viewer’s proximity to the wall triggers audio recordings of women’s testimony as well as “cures” prescribed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Longernin Collective formed to create the installation work, Post-Part. Drawing on combined experiences in illustration, animation, writing, film, collage and art therapy work, the members’ individual works have been exhibited, published and screened to audiences locally and globally.

Longernin Collective would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Images of the Post-Part installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Franco Pang & Paulina Wiszowata

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 12PM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Lead artist Catherine Mellinger and Director Pazit Cahlon will be participating in the virtual panel discussion Spectral Spaces: Re-animating Historical Environs through Current Feminist Discourse on October 20, at 12 PM. Click here to book a ticket.