RWC/ MAG exhibit on now at the Bloor Gladstone Library – May 1-30, 2017

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Red Wagon Collective/Monday Art Group

Bloor/Gladstone Library Installation, May 1-30th, 2017.

The Vibrant Inside: places of abandonment in the gentrifying city

Multi-media installation

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.

 

Strawberry Ceremony 2017

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.

OCAP Sleepover at John Tory’s condo!

Red Wagon Collective/Monday Art Group members joined with OCAP in the Sleepover at John Tory’s to protest the 18 million $$$ that the city is supposed to put into affordable housing and more shelter space, but instead is being put into some unused fund! A small group of us brought our Tent Project installation work with us, but due to police overdoing their jobs, we weren’t able to put it up. Instead we lay the quilt on the ground and worked on some knitting and crochet. Before long we were joined by some folks who wanted to get in on the yarn action.

It was a cold, cold night. But the vibes were so great at the sleepover that it made the cold endurable. OCAP served amazing food and there was music, singing and drumming and great speeches!

We also had our homelessness flag displayed, it always gets a lot of attention. We still talk about the politically dubious image of the flag – we think about turning it upside down as a way to symbolically decolonize it. We’ve had mixed views on this.

RWC/MAG were very happy to be part of this action.

LOVE TRUMPS HATE – NO DAPL – SOLIDARITY WITH STANDING ROCK

Members of the RWC joined the Water Is Life protest against Trumps reversal of Obama’s decision to the halt the construction of DAPL on Standing Rock Sioux territory. Our role in the demo was in support of test#:collective’s projection project. It was an honor to be in the presence of amazing women organizers, drummers and singers, dancers and speakers who came to share their knowledge of the struggle at Standing Rock.

OCAP screening: Bursting at the Seams

bursting-at-the-seams

Members of Monday Art Group proudly participated in this OCAP video. We will also be producing a longer video from the footage that was shot that did not make it into this film.

Everyone’s Invited to the Gala Screening & Premiere of OCAP’s new short film

Bursting at the Seams

Thursday, November 10 | Mayor John Tory’s Condo | 6:30pm
[Bedford & Bloor, Outside St. George Subway Station]
Food will be served before the screening

In collaboration with a few key allies, OCAP has made a short film on conditions of brutal overcrowding within Toronto’s homeless shelter system. We are going to show it outside the building where Mayor John Tory lives in somewhat better circumstances.

A Shared Poem III – Dreams

This week we were tired and hot. Some of us were hungry and broke too. In all our pain we got to talking about dreams, dreams of ourselves, of others. Dreams for our future and our present. Our desires of the every day, and the desires that only surface in our …. dreams. This is our collective group poem.

 

Dreams

I dream of being with her one day

Too shy to tell her

But I can still pause at the thought

I live a life full of shattered dreams

all I see is mysery and stress

so I keep my self high just to

avoid myself from all this mess

you are my dreams

you are my love

you were the sunshine of my life

losing you was a nightmare

and now I only see you in my dreams

you took it all, twice, no less! Casting me adrift.

Giving up on what my desires want for me.

It’s not allowed.

Although –

I had a dream of you,

brown skin and dark hair.

Now I can’t look at you

because I prefer you in my dream.

Have a nice day.

Can’t we all get along?

22.08.16

 

yarn graffiti

Joined Bee Jackson for Saturday Art Group at Evangel Hall. Made a yarn graffiti (or knit bomb) in response to all the development going on downtown and our group conversation about being on waiting lists for RGI (Rent Geared to Income) housing for up to 10 years and counting… I also enjoyed the great creativity going on. Wonderful group today.

 

A shared poem II

On what felt like the hottest day of the year Saturday Art Group stayed cool together and wrote another collected poem, building on the topic sentence/question ‘What’s on my mind.’

What’s on my mind (?)

 

thick stemmed echinacea

easy to break when handled with force

that pinkness seeps into me now when I look

my body feels a new kind of warmness

and I let it

I realize I am healing me

 

changes in perception

not all that was seems to be gone and what seemed to distorted

perception is now

purely reality

And the quote by many comes into perspective –

Be careful what you wish for!

 

Wish I were not so shy

But it’s okay

because i got drugs

 

What’s on my mind my kids

that I love them with my heart the way they smile and

jump and play

my kids i have on my mind all the time

 

heat of the sun bearing

on my electric eyes

headaches and sadness

wrapped in row upon row of knotted colored yarn

Life not profit

 

Sometimes roses are red

and sometimes violets are blue,

God how I miss sleeping next to you

 

the heat of the sun

is a most wonderous, powerful, penetrating light

which carries me through a most profound desolate dessert

endless sequential furnace opening my pores

gathering waters of seasless bountiful liquid

streaming from me

I arrive at my destination dissolved into infinite vapours of appreciation.

 

– Saturday Art Group 07.23.16

 

IMG_0555

 

 

a shared poem

 

IMG_0502  IMG_0501

 

Title: Bipolar Balloon

Artist: C.J

Picture taken on June 17th 2016

 

 

Today The Saturday Art Group wrote and performed  a collective poem called, ‘My Week.’

same as the week b4

i’m striving
to piece my life back together
each new strand
a personal goal

amazing and Wonderful
magical
relaxing

chilling with my boo

got a new stolen bike
and
threw away some fish heads

all my blood tests went well

stressful –
wondering how
to forgive myself

still learning
compassion

brings me closer
to independence

allowing me to develop a new perspective

and value of lessons learned

horse chestnut tree
being trickster

green spiky balls
teachin’ me how to relax

same as the week b4

– SAG – July 16th 2016