It’s been a long time since I posted anything regarding the RWC or Monday Art Group. The truth is we got the boot from the Shelter where we were doing the art group. However, despite the loss of this space, the low-income community in the Junction remains organized through the Friends of Watkinson Park. You can find out more about our recent activities there. This website is now an archive of one period of our work, by and for low-income people in the Junction.
Last night in Monday Art Group we worked on a sign to carry during the silent march. It’s not quite finished, but when it is each side will read:
Tears for Indigenous Youth – Canada Has Blood on its Hands
No Future Without Indigenous Youth – Act Now to Prevent Suicide
During our work each of us artgroup members shared some knowledge, experience and feelings about living in a society that perpetuates colonial violence, as well as what it means to be a settler ally.
March and Round Dance:
Where: 25 St. Clair Ave E
Time: Gathering at 12noon
March begins at 1pm
Idle No More Toronto Round Dance at 2pm. We will March together to a Round Dance Ceremony (hosted by INM~Toronto and Ontario)
FB Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1867295840250204/?ti=icl
*** so bring your voices, drums, shakers, signs and spirit
“While racial profiling and sexual harassment may have grabbed the public spotlight, being poor and living on assistance is more likely to elicit hostility and prejudice than race, skin colour or gender — although being Muslim is marginally worse for this.
According to an Ontario Human Rights Commission survey released Friday, one in five Ontarians have negative feelings against those on social assistance, surpassing their unfavourable views against all other groups, except Muslims, who were disliked by 21 per cent of the respondents.”
Red Wagon Collective/Monday Art Group collaborated with OCAP, Carol Condé and Karl Beveridge and Friends of Watkinson Park on a project for Nuit Blanche. The project was part of an installation called: A Monument to the Century of Revolutions, which was produced for the international public arts conference, Creative Time and Nuit Blanche. A Monument to the Century of Revolutions was an immersive and living installation consisting of an array of shipping containers arranged in a wedge shape puncturing the circle of city hall, a reference to L. Lissitzky’s Beat the Whites With the Red Wedge. The 20 some odd shipping containers produced a small village housing works from Chto Delat and local artist activist groups reflecting on the history and future of revolution. With individual and collective actions on Nathan Philips Square and stage, City Hall was transformed into a veritable mass-shipped revolution that unpacks into a world.
On Monday, July 24th Monday Art Group were very pleased to have an artists visit from Helene Vosters and her Stitch-by-Stitch: A TRC Sewing Circle & Reading Group project of sewing the Action Items from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools, onto small Canadian flags. Many of us sat around a table and worked together talking about the project, our everyday experiences with Indigenous struggles, institutionalization and the issue of reconciliation with Indigenous nations. At one point a couple of art group members read aloud from “Final Report: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.” It was really wonderful to have a visiting artist and people expressed to Helene that she would be welcome back again – she has a lot of sewing to do and MAG is eager to help!
Rehab Nazzal‘s is a community engaged project of “Cross Stitching Solidarity” using Palestinian embroidery techniques to bring people together at the gallery to make something that is larger then the sum of its parts. Francis and Nazzal, although using disparate visual strategies, both propose a kind of transnational solidarity that implicates, resists, and creates new possibilities for Mikinaakominis/Canada.
Members of MAG worked on some of the Palestinian cross-stitch patterns and then we went down to the gallery to add them in to the piece which is filling up beautifully. It was really great for us to learn some new cross-stitching skills while at the same time show our solidarity, care and deep concern for those being made homeless in Palestine. An honor to be part of this work.
On July 1st, members of RWC joined with Idle No More Toronto and Unsettling Canada 150 Sewing Circle & Picnic to protest the celebration of colonial violence, Indigenous genocide, white supremacy and land theft.
STITCH-BY-STITCH: AN UNSETTLING CANADA DAY/CANADA 150 SEWING CIRCLE, READING GROUP & PICNIC, an action In solidarity with UNsettling CANADA 150 National Day of Action by Idle No More and Defenders of the Land.
Stitch-by-Stitch invites participants to embroider sections of the TRC Report’s 94 Calls to Action onto Canadian flags, to read aloud from the TRC’s 388-page summary report and from Arthur Manuel’s “Unsettling Canada: a National Wake-up Call.”
Stitch-by-Stitch is a work in progress with 19 of the project’s 58 (33 calls) flags complete and an addition 12 or so in various stages of completion. Stitch-by-Stitch’s unfinished status is a reminder that as a praxis of redress, reconciliation is an ongoing process that requires collective and sustained labour. Stitch-by-Stitch will be a porous event. Participants are welcome to come and go, embroider, witness, and share reflections as they wish.
We are hoping to bring stitch-by-stitch to Monday Art Group for a session!
Red Wagon Collective/Monday Art Group
Bloor/Gladstone Library Installation, May 1-30th, 2017.
The Vibrant Inside: places of abandonment in the gentrifying city
The Red Wagon Collective (RWC) is a loose knit group of women identified folks who do cultural work around the effects of poverty and homelessness in the Junction. The main project of the RWC is the Monday Art Group (MAG). Women from the Junction, including those who are living at a local shelter for women, gather every week as neighbours to make art. MAG is a space where we can work on our own projects, make gifts or practical items, mend our clothes, share and produce knowledge, develop collective projects for public display, and spend time with one another in community.
RWC understands community as an uneasy space of social difference – a space necessary for survival and for activism. With MAG the RWC seeks to push the boundaries of neighbourliness, social arts, dialogue, and resistance to a system that creates conditions of exclusion and trauma. We also proclaim the vital creativity of low-income life in the gentrifying city of Toronto. Our work includes: multi-media installation, video, photographic works, poetry performance, and monograph publication.
The exhibit presented at the Bloor Gladstone Library is comprised of works that remain in the MAG space after women have passed through, alongside of specific pieces that were made for display. RWC has collected and re-worked abandoned art pieces in various ways as a document of our time together sharing a nourishing, healing and often critical creativity. These pieces represent the aesthetic diversity of women who experience the shelter system as either as residents or neighbours. They also represent the conditions in which we create: under stress of social abandonment and without regular funding.
Beautiful dream catcher by Rayla
On February 14th, 2017 RWC/MAG made a banner and brought it down to the Strawberry Ceremony for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls (boys, men and trans people). It is always a very moving and sad ceremony. But good to be able to show up and give support and acknowledgement to the dire impacts of colonialism on Indigenous communities.