Funmilola Lawson, A Day in the Life
1 May – 10 July 2022
Photo by Errol Young.
A Day in the Life is a new audio work by acclaimed spoken word poet and rapper Funmilola Lawson. Presented and commissioned as part of Mayworks Festival of Working People, this audio work, along with photographs by Errol Young and Odify, is installed in the colonnade vitrines on the north side of the Accolade East Building, adjacent to the AGYU. Written from the perspective of three women from the Jane Finch community, Lawson reflects on the systemic inequality and barriers that so many racialized women face. Overwork, low wages, poor transportation, and overpolicing are just some of the challenges considered as the protagonists call for changes, ultimately turning to Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, a grassroots social justice organization that has been fighting poverty and advocating for workers rights since 2008. A tribute to JFAAP’s collective mobilization and activism, Lawson recognizes how instrumental this grassroots, resident-led organization has been in advancing the struggle for better living and working conditions for Jane Finch community members.
A Day in the Life was commissioned by Mayworks as part of their Labour Arts Catalyst program, a unique opportunity where selected Toronto-based artists were paired with labour organizations and given resources and funds to create art informed by visions of labour and social justice. An essay about this project by Toronto writer and PhD Student Maandeeq Mohamed is available online and in the lobby of the AGYU.
Funmilola Lawson is a hip hop artist, songwriter, and spoken word artist who uses her music and words to inspire other youth while bringing attention to issues that impact her community. In addition to having her poetry published, Lola has also won a number of poetry slams. Notable performances include BET freestyle Friday, South By Southwest (Texas), and A3C Hip Hop Festival (Atlanta). An important highlight of her career was when she opened for rapper Wale at Art Basel Miami in 2018. Lola holds a BA in Social Science from York University and is pursuing her Masters in Education.
Based in Jane and Finch for the past 40 years, Errol Young is a photographer and activist whose work has been published in newspapers, magazines and on the web. One of the founding members of Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP), he has photographed significant historical events including the Abortion Caravan in 1970 to more recent JFAAP demonstrations. Young has been instrumental in developing a photographic archive of JFAAP taking photos of protests calling for the rights and protection of temporary workers, the defunding of the police and an end to poverty and food insecurity.
Odify is a multimedia artist and photographer born and raised in Jane and Finch, in Toronto. A graduate of OCAD University Odify’s work has been featured at Nuit Blanche and OCADU’s Ignite Gallery in 2019. He is working towards producing a solo photography exhibition for the fall of 2022.
Maandeeq Mohamed is a writer engaging Black Studies and related cultural production. Her writing is featured in Real Life, C Magazine, and Canadian Art. Currently, Maandeeq is the Reviews Editor at C Magazine, as well as a PhD student in English and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, where she is a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Fellow.
Mayworks Festival Calendar: https://mayworks.ca/2022-festival-calendar
For more information about Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, please visit: https://jfaap.wordpress.com/
The AGYU thanks Funmilola Lawson, Errol Young, Odify, and Mitra Fakhrashrafi, Curatorial Coordinator at Mayworks Festival, for supporting this project.