Setting a tone: Pamila Matharu, Makeda Silvera, Andrea Fatona, with respondent Faith Paré
Friday, March 26, 2021 @ 2 – 3:30 pm
Notes on documentation:
Following respectful oral history practices, we’re delaying making the documentation of this event available to allow the presenters time to assess how they would like their participation to be framed. This pause is part of an ongoing process of understadning the documentation of live events through an ethics of listening positionalities, how our embodied experiences affect the ways we listen, and are attuned to resonances in different registers. When we have gone through this process fully, we will be posting the results of that consideration here.
“Working with Collectives” interviews in Tiger Lily, 1, nos. 2 &3 (1986);
Fireweed: 16. Spring. (1983) Women of Colour Issue;
Fuse 11: 1 & 2. Summer. (1987) Black Ink
Support documents: https://osf.io/87g2a/
Network diagrams: http://photomedia.ca/visualizations/artexte/sigma/agyu/
Intergenerational mentoring is a central experience of cultural transmission; within publishing networks we can sense a print-based trace of Black feminist sensations of belonging. Magazines of the 1980s, such as Fireweed and Tiger Lily, offer a view into activist spaces where gaining access to print was a means to rewrite the terms of racialization and socioeconomic oppression. This panel will conjure personal memories around institutions such as Sister Vision Press and Fresh Arts as crucibles for cultural production in Toronto.
Andrea Fatona is an independent curator and an associate professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Dr. Fatona was recently named a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in the Centre for the Study of Black Canadian Diaspora at OCAD University. She is the driving force behind The State of Blackness: From production to presentation website, which began as an archive of the activities of a 2014 conference of the same name. The site also serves as a repository for information about ongoing research geared toward making visible the artistic production and dissemination of works by Black Canadian cultural producers.
She is concerned with issues of equity within the sphere of the arts and the pedagogical possibilities of art works produced by Black Canadians in articulating broader perspectives of Canadian identities. Her broader interest is in the ways in which art, “culture”, and “education” can be employed to illuminate complex issues that pertain to social justice, citizenship, belonging, and nationhood.
Pamila Matharu is a settler of Panjabi descent from north-west India, born in Birmingham, England, and based in Tkarón:to (Toronto). She holds a BA in Visual Art and a Fine Arts BEd from York University. Approaching contemporary art from the position of critical pedagogy and using an interdisciplinary and intersectional feminist lens, her work culminates in a broad range of forms including installation art, social practice, and experimental media art. Matharu has shown nationally and internationally, served on the boards of several artist-run centres in Toronto, and is the recipient of grants from the TAC, the OAC, the CCA, as well as numerous awards.
Recently, she was awarded the CONTACT Festival’s 2020 Burtynsky Photobook Award, the 2019 Images Festival Homebrew Award, and the 2019 Ontario Association of Art Galleries’ Exhibition of the Year award for her critically acclaimed solo exhibit One of These Things is Not Like the Other at A Space Gallery, Toronto (2019). Currently an artist-in-residence at Archive | Counter-Archive, Where Were You in ‘92? is a new project slated to begin in October 2021, iterations of which will continue to unfold at Or Gallery (Vancouver, BC), and Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, ON) through 2023.
Emigrating to Canada from Jamaica as a child, Makeda Silvera currently makes Toronto her home. In 1985, in response to a lack of publishing venues for women of colour, she co-founded Sister Vision Press (active until 2001). The Press was particularly known for publishing oral histories of ordinary women omitted from traditional history and contemporary writing. As author, editor, and activist, Makeda has published collections of short stories (Remembering G, 1990; Her Head a Village, 1994), novels (The Revenge of Maria, 1998; The Heart Does Not Bend, 2002), collected interviews (Silenced: Caribbean Domestic Workers Talk With Makeda Silvera, 1989), and ground-breaking anthologies, most notably Piece of My Heart, 1991, the first North American anthology of literature by lesbians of colour.
Faith Paré is a poet and performer of Afro-Guyanese and Québécois ancestries. Her writing has previously appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, GUTS, and Shameless Magazine, and is forthcoming in Carnation. She is a proud alum of Our Bodies, Our Stories, a mentorship for emerging artists who are queer and trans BIPOC led by Kama La Mackerel, and was the recipient of the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s 2020 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship under the guidance of Dr. Gillian Sze. She is a co-founder of VOLTA Collective with Meredith Marty-Dugas and Paige Keleher, addressing anti-carceral action and transformative justice through creative intervention. Find her @paretriarchy.
Desire Lines: the series
The trajectory of arts magazine publishing in Toronto from the 1970s onward has always been a space criss-crossed by lines of desire. This speaker series takes an algorithmically produced network diagram of publishing metadata as a jumping off point for story-telling around personal memories.
This series is organized by Felicity Tayler, Interim Head, Research Support (Arts and Special Collections) at the University of Ottawa Library and Michael Maranda, assistant curator. New generation respondents are curated by Faith Paré, made possible by an RA-ship from the SpokenWeb partnership. The background to the series comes out of a metadata analysis of three magazines from the seventies and eighties, Fuse, Border/Lines, and Fireweed, that Felicity put together with Tomasz Neugebauer of Concordia University.
We would like to offer thanks to the participants who are generously contributing to this program, which is deeply informed by the legacies of their practices. We would also like to thank our partners Artexte and SpokenWeb.