the vibrant inside: spaces of abandonment in the gentrifying city

the vibrant inside: spaces of social abandonment in the gentrifying city
Xroads Gallery, HNES room 254, Environmental Studies, York University
October 1-19th, 2015

artist statement:
The Red Wagon Collective (RWC) is a loose knit group of women identified who do cultural work around the effects of poverty and homelessness in the Junction neighborhood and environs. Currently the main project of the Red Wagon Collective (RWC) is the Monday Art Group (MAG) which takes place at a women’s shelter in the Junction, a gentrifying neighborhood in Toronto. Women from the neighborhood gather every week with women living at the shelter to make art. MAG is a space where women work on their own projects, develop skills, make gifts or practical items, share and produce knowledge and spend time with one another, in other words MAG is an informal economic space of affective, knowledge, informational, supportive, resource, and gifting exchanges. The MAG is also a performative space where we push the boundaries of neighborliness, of social arts, dialogue and resistance.

MAG is a space of racialization, class and disability – the theme of the proposed exhibit is social abandonment and community at the intersections of homelessness, Indigeneity, poverty, embodied difference, class, racism, immigration, health, trauma, exclusion… the multiple forces that press upon our bodies.

MAG is the basis to work on collective and multi-directional practice and to do installation projects that intervene in the public space of the neighbourhood and social justice, activist and academic discourses. Our work is the result of a social practice, which refuses to instrumentalize or leave behind the bodies who have created the knowledge and the works presented here. The work’s concern is the agency of those with lived experience in discourses of social justice. MAG gains its outsider art aesthetic from the neoliberal conditions of poverty in which we work. RWC/MAG are engaging an aesthetic based on the lived experience and creativity and conditions of work within marginal spaces, which looks and sounds different than understood contemporary art. The character of the work relates to the economic and historical condition of the bodies who have produced it. RWC takes interest in the unique expression of those with lived experience of the violence of capitalist/colonial society and puts forward the question of its inclusion, unmediated, in social justice discussions.

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video works

demolished (Marlene Bluebird Stickings, 2015)


on skin (nancy viva davis halifax, 2011)


the commons (nancy viva davis halifax, red wagon, Monday Art Group, 2015)


two worlds one street (Monday Art Group, 2015)

also shown:

Dark Light (Monday Art Group/Mashed Economies and Hazel Bell Koski, 2013)

I am the foundation of corporate capitalism, I fell between the cracks and now exist there (Lynda Solowynsky and LK Jackson, 2011)

Stopping this Vicious Circle (Marlene Stickings, 2012)