R E C E N T R E
Guest curated by Su-Ying Lee from 2017-2019
The RECENTRE series is a discursive program presented by Trinity Square Video that addresses structural racism by identifying bias and discrimination in modes of representation, like the language and imagery applied to people who are Black, Indigenous and of colour (BIPOC).
Artists, facilitators and writers involved include Gabriela Aveiro-Ojeda, Alvis Choi, Amy Desjarlais, Rania El Mugammar, Christopher Gilliard, Elwood Jimmy, Amy Lam, Maize Longboat, Morris Lum, Janet Rogers, Jeff Thomas, Sajdeep Soomal, Skawennati, Vincent Tao, Syrus Marcus Ware and Tania Willard. See below for the details of past programs.
RECENTRE was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts
RECENTRE Poster Publication
Launched August 14, 2019
In the form of two posters, the publications include images by Skawennati and Morris Lum and texts that intersect art, gentrification, spatial justice and marginalization by Maize Longboat, Christopher Gilliard, Alvis Choi, Amy Lam, Sajdeep Soomal and Vincent Tao.
This is the final component of the RECENTRE project, that began in 2017, guest curated by Su-Ying Lee. The publications were motivated by Trinity Square Video's proximity to Chinatown, Toronto’s escalating crisis of affordable living and studio spaces, and The Invitational art fair. In October 2018, The Invitational was organized by real estate developer Metropolitan Commercial along with David Moos Art Advisory, and through art-washing transformed an iconic, Chinatown building (346 Spadina Avenue) through an aspirational make-over. Chinatowns were created through early racial segregation and traditionally located in the geographic margins of cities in undesirable locations. In such unfavourable locations, relatively low property values allowed independent businesses and housing tailored to the local cultural community to establish and proliferate. Individuals and businesses seeking low cost space, including artists and art galleries, find homes in these conditions. As cities grew and shifted, the locations of Chinatowns became central urban areas, making them attractive to developers and vulnerable to gentrification.
With an image by Skawennati and texts by Maize Longboat and Christopher Gilliard the Futures poster approaches technologies and digital space as tools that can both reproduce historical inequities and offer new possibilities for Indigenous self-determination, and racial and spatial justice.
Morris Lum’s work is featured on the Today & Yesterday poster along with the writing of Alvis Choi, Amy Lam, Sajdeep Soomal and Vincent Tao who discuss acts of resistance and difficult relationships to place and identity through past and recent events.
The 20 x 15 inch posters will be available free of charge at Tea Base (Chinatown Centre Mall
222 Spadina Ave Unit C15, Basement, Toronto) and Art Metropole (158 Sterling Rd, Toronto, inside MOCA).
PAST RECENTRE PROGRAMS
Writing for what is absent with Elwood Jimmy
October 9, 2018
Participants will be led through individual, and collective space-holding exercises before being asked to respond to provocations relating to bodies – the human and non-human, the visible and invisible – in relation to their own practices, communities, sensibilities and ways of being. The workshop is exploratory and designed for personal and collective inquiry and reflection.
Elwood Jimmy is a learner, collaborator, writer, artist, cultural translator & facilitator, and gardener. He is originally from the Thunderchild First Nation, a Nêhiyaw community in the global north. For almost 20 years, he has played a leadership role in several art projects, collectives, and organizations nationally and abroad. In his practices, he has employed photography, film, video, storytelling, language, text, textiles, natural materials, performance, and personal & community narratives as the foundation for a number of collaborative projects.
The Dynamics of Rowing Your Own Boat: Cultural Competency Today with Janet Rogers
October 18, 2018
Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from Six Nations. She was born in Vancouver British Columbia, lived in Stoney Creek, Hamilton, Toronto Ontario and is currently of no fixed address as she is awarded residency after residency throughout 2018-2019. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poetry with music. Janet is also a radio broadcaster, documentary producer, media and sound artist. Her literary titles include; Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007, Red Erotic, Ojistah Publishing 2010, Unearthed, Leaf Press 2011 “Peace in Duress” Talonbooks 2014 and Totem Poles and Railroads ARP Books 2016 and a forthcoming title Between Spirit and Emotion, Bookland Press fall 2018. She produced and hosted Native Waves Radio on CFUVfm from 2007-2017. Her music column Tribal Clefs was part of CBC Victoria’s programming from 2008-2016. Her radio documentaries “Bring Your Drum: 50 years of Indigenous Protest Music” and “Resonating Reconciliation” won Best Radio at the imagaineNATIVE Film and Media festival 2011 and 2013.
The Difficult Questions: Small group discussions for organizations
lead by Rania El Mugammar
2018 September 17 & 19
This deep-dive session will be informed in-part by feedback provided to Rania El Mugammar from earlier sessions. Select organizations will be invited to submit anti-oppression related questions to work through in a small group setting. Questions will relate to how organizations approach HR, program delivery, relationships with artists, organizations, audiences and stakeholders while maintaining an anti-oppression approach and policies.
Territorial Acknowledgement Workshops
with Amy Desjarlais
2018 May 28 & June 4
– Understand the reason for making territorial acknowledgements.
– Are the current acknowledgements effective?
– Learn best practices for drafting a territorial acknowledgement.
– Find out how to engage community, and learn what resources are available, how to create a network.
– Understand what organizations can do to contribute to the efficacy of acknowledgements and to align themselves.
Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression workshops for Cultural Producers
lead by Rania El Mugammar
2017 September 19 & 21
This workshop for artists/cultural producers explores the language, theories and practices of anti-oppression in depth. Institutional, community based and organizational strategies for building equity and unlearning oppression are central to the content and objectives of the workshop. Creative, technical and collaborative models for building equity and liberation will be explored. Group activities, case studies and discussion are critical tools to apply the learnings of this workshop. Artists will examine the power dynamics that shape access, inclusion and opportunities in Canada’s arts and cultural landscape. The anti-oppression framework will be used to critique institutional dynamics as well as personal artistic practices. Participants will have access to a plethora of digital and print resources to continue their learning journey beyond the scope of the session.
The Imposition of Order
lead by Jeff Thomas
September 23, 2017
In this workshop Jeff Thomas will share the skills he has developed as a photo-based image-maker, while meeting the challenge to become the author of his own form of Indianness.
The Two Row Wampum is one of the oldest treaty relationships between the Onkwehonweh (original people) of Turtle Island (North America) and European settlers (1613). According to the Wampum, neither will make compulsory laws nor interfere in the internal affairs of the other. Neither will try to steer the other’s vessel. More information on the Two Row Wampum here.
Grounded on the question of how to achieve the Two Row Wampum’s message of peaceful co-existence in the contemporary world, Thomas will work with participants to consider the place of conversation, the sharing of stories, and negotiating that discussion through art gallery experiences. Participants will be reflecting on the demarcation space. In particular, the significance assigned to cultural spaces and how they are regarded and engaged with.
Representations in Gaming
lead by Gabriela Aveiro-Ojeda
October 7, 2017
This workshop will feature a talk and hands-on design prototype session on methods that can be used for better expressions of race in games. Topics to be covered will include, but are not limited to: ways to avoid racist portrayals, how to design stories and characters for a game format, challenges involved with portraying race, accountability, consultation, diversity in video games, and more.
Participants do not need to have a background in games to attend the workshop, and all experience levels are welcome.
Lost and Found: Using Found Footage in the Art of Revolution
lead by Syrus Marcus Ware
October 14, 2017
Join Syrus Marcus Ware for a participatory workshop exploring the use of found footage and audio from protests and activism around the movement for black lives and other historic activisms. Participants will engage in discussion about the ethics of re-approporiation and ways of working with found footage from a history of white supremacy. Using 2D collage participants will create a new collaborative work that speaks to the zeitgeist.
lead by Tania Willard
October 28, 2017
Using concepts of Indigenous epistemology, land rights and creative acts, curator and artist Tania Willard will discuss her approach to her work with BUSH Gallery. Centering methods of acknowledging territory and developing relationship with site, and contrasting notions of in situ, Site/ation acknowledges the deep artfulness and Indigenous land rights holders of all sites in “Canada.” The workshop will feature sun-printing techniques practiced at BUSH gallery rez-idencies that act as an archive of conversation, action and engagement.
Preceding the workshop on Saturday, Tania Willard will be giving a talk the evening of Friday, October 27th presented by C Magazine at Art Toronto titled “Site/ation”.