Community Resource Program: BeadsAgainstFascism 
Spring 2024

Photo: Courtesy the artist. 

We are pleased to announce the participation of BeadsAgainstFascism (BAF) in our Community Resource Program. Through this program, the AGYU supports BAF in their beading fundraiser for Maggie’s Toronto, Canada’s oldest sex worker justice organization. This QT/BIPOC LGBTQ2s+-led non-profit provides essential resources, programming, and community for sex workers in Toronto. On September 8, 2023, a fire devastated the offices of Maggie’s. The building experienced significant structural damage and Maggie’s was forced to close its office and limit its operations. The organization is currently collecting donations for building repair through a GoFundMe Campaign and BAF has committed to beading wall hangings, pins, and earrings featuring Maggie’s signature red umbrella symbol. Fifty percent or more of the profits from BAF’s commissions will be donated to the sex worker justice organization’s campaign.

A circular beadwork with a red umbrella depicted. BeadsAgainstFascism is a Two Spirit nêhinaw (Cree) and Irish artist hailing from Mushkegowuk Aski (Treaty 9), growing up on the land of the Dawnland Confederacy. Deeply rooted in their cultural heritage, their beading practice began under the guidance of their maternal grandmother and continued to flourish in beading circles where Indigenous women gather to share stories, wisdom, and support. BAF harnesses beadwork to raise awareness and solidarity in the fight for dismantling oppressive systems and as a means of social responsibility. Their pieces share poignant messages of anti-fascism, anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and anti-capitalism. To date, they have collaborated with numerous social justice organizations, including the Chunka Luta Network and the Allan Gardens Community Aid Collective. They’ve also assisted with fundraising for initiatives such as 1492 Land Back Lane and have used their platform to fundraise for Indigenous people in need.

For BAF, beadwork is not merely an artistic pursuit but a form of resistance against settler colonial forces that have attempted to erase Indigenous traditions and material culture. Each meticulously threaded bead symbolizes a defiance against the forces of erasure and a reclaiming of Indigenous identity. BAF also sees beadwork as a means of fostering connections within the Indigenous community and beyond. They express gratitude for the opportunity to engage with fellow radical Indigenous individuals globally, forming an intricate network of solidarity and activism.

To stay informed about BAF’s beading work follow @beadsagainstfascism on Instagram; to receive more updates about the important advocacy work they do, follow their Twitter @beadagainstfash and/or their BlueSky account @BAF. For any inquiries and commissions, reach out to beadsagainstfascism@gmail.com.

BAF’s social justice practice, commitment to anti-oppression, and community-based work is emblematic of the artists our Community Resource Program was established to support. The CRP provides resources to artists who are active in struggles for social justice without expectation of any specific outcomes or products. Instead, we trust the artists we are supporting in this initiative as experts in their field and are best situated to direct these resources as needed. AGYU supports BAF by providing an artist fee for their work and covering some of their material costs.

 


Developed at the beginning of the pandemic, the Community Resource Program has supported the work of Marilyn Yogarajah, Maryam Taghavi, Taras Polataiko, Rana Nazzal Hamadeh, Bush Gallery, Amoya Reé, Keosha Love, and Jayda Marley. This program enables AGYU to act swiftly and respond to urgent local and global concerns. We use this program now to move beyond statements of solidarity in a commitment to do the work needed to ensure that AGYU plays a part in amplifying the critical voices of artists. The AGYU considers our programs as our best tool to support and be in solidarity with local and international actions and causes, and in support of artists and communities who historically and currently have been gravely silenced and/or underrepresented. Through our programs, we amplify the artistic practices, ideals, and the lives of artists. We make this statement as a form of transparency and accountability to position our programs as action—lived, continuous, and responsive. Anti-colonial actions take many forms, and we must collectively consider the most powerful, effective, long-standing ways we can utilize the platforms to which we have access.

See also:

BeadsAgainstFascism: Maggie’s TO Fundraiser

BeadsAgainstFascism: Maggie’s TO Fundraiser
Community Resource Program
Spring 2024

Taras Polataiko

Taras Polataiko
Community Resource Program
Winter 2022/23

Truthsgiving 2021

Truthsgiving 2021
virtual festival
17 Oct 2021

Rana Nazzal Hamadeh

Rana Nazzal Hamadeh
Community Resource Program
Spring 2021

Truthsgiving 2020

Truthsgiving 2020
virtual festival
10 Oct 2020

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