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.
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.
Thank-you cards for those who chose to recycle their unused art supplies with RWC – MAG
The Red Wagon Collective has started a new sister art group out of a homeless drop-in of downtown Toronto (Bathurst and Queen). We meet in the multi-purpose room, using three sewing machines and closet of recycled supplies.
The Saturday Art Group is for homeless, insecurely/institutionally housed, shelter users, recently incarcerated, low-income people. We believe art to be necessary to our survival and resistance. We choose to make art in a time marked by austerity, as our lives and well-being are and have been under threat. We work on both individual and collective pieces; our work both celebrates our joys and articulates our frustrations. We are frustrated by a lack of affordable housing in the city, the conditions in which we are forced to live, and the alarming number of homeless deaths in Toronto.
Check out the page that represents the work of a new RWC artgroup taking place downtown:
There is also a fb page for this group:https://www.facebook.com/redwagoncollective/
We are very excited to be doing more art and knowledge production in the city around experiences of poverty, homelessness, mental health difference and disability…
after going on six years of doing Monday Art Group our first collective quilt arises.
onto our quilt we have brought forth snakes that can signify feminist knowledge. powerful, present, slithering through the land. and cats: wise ones that sense the other side, that bring non-human companionship: the inter-species nurturing of soft fur to gliding hand, purring their pleasure.
we conjure a cabin in the woods: sanctuary from everyday disciplines and stresses of life in capitalism. vines consume the house with natures powers. a forest surrounds the house – dappled light and cool air… an ecos of green abundance to our austerity death economy. a dream place for those of us caught in concrete.
we also bring forth the ballerina, a winged fairy dress, a butterfly shy one leg, and a pair of flying squirrels: freedom to move, express, transform, transcend, and be beauty in our own ways.
and then the dodo bird: a trusting bird that knew no fear and became extinct from mans introduction of prey into its habitat. now the myth of a world without predators.
and finally, the feeling of a glittery hive for us bee queens, or window panes of some glam cathedral for the the lost and fabulous, the joy of sparkle and light….
our first quilt …. almost done
thinking about mother’s today. mother’s living in a shelter enduring separation from their children. and all the separations of children and mothers through colonization, war and migration throughout time. mother’s who have raised children and mother’s who have lost their daughters or sons. missing and murdered Indigenous, or shot by police… mother’s who have been killed on streets or who have been imprisoned, abused, exploited, taken for granted, made homeless. thinking about patriarchal society that doesn’t honor women, doesn’t listen to the knowledge of women. put down, undermined, disempowered. thinking about the mother’s that initiate resistance struggles – the inspiring fighters that don’t take shit. the mothers holding society accountable for the harms to the children, to future generations, to the earth. thinking about mothering as what we do to generate community, stitching and mending the social fabric. the labour we pour into our mutual endurance and resistance. to mother, to nurture growth and expression, to encourage and smile at liveliness … aliveness and love. not ideal mothers, just mothers everyday.
(Doll and finger puppet by Kerry)
Monday Art Group, April 11, 2016
I am poor this week
This week I learned there is always
Somebody there to help you
I also learned I have someone who loves, trusts and will support me
To the end of time
I am happy this week
This week it is April and it snowed
Alone in my little cabin
With cabin fever
I walk this week
This week I figured out my mother
She insisted on fighting
And my sister … struggling
I would love to be able to do more
I mused ‘this is not for me’
‘it’s just not my thing’
I am hungry this week
I walk through the park to enjoy the day
I meandered and found lovely colors
And lovely creatures
I think in time
After more work
A lot more work
I will be able to do more special things
This week I met new people
Ladies who love to chat
At a poverty rally
A rally for hope
For neglected and poor
And even sweets and sweet tea to add to all that
I have friends this week
MAG were invited to read poems alongside nancy viva davis halifax at the launch of her new poetry book, Hook. nancy’s work in this book reflects her own herstory of living rough as well as the time spent at MAG, the women encountered and exchanged with while making art, drinking tea, talking laughing…. We were honoured and proud to be there alongside nancy and the many people who showed up to share this space.
The music and food was also amazing. Thanks to everyone who made this a heartfelt space to share work.
Monday Art Group/ Red Wagon Collective
amazing opening of the vibrant inside exhibit.