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Home /  Exhibitions / Past Exhibitions / Community Arts Space: Recent Histories
Maldewin Weskijinu / Blood Soaked Soil

Community Arts Space: Recent Histories

Thu Jul 05 to Sep 17, 2018, All Day

Presented by TD Bank Group

Inspired by the transformative aspects of ceramics, both real and metaphorical, the Community Arts Space is the Gardiner’s incubator for arts-based community projects. In collaboration with local artists, designers, and collectives, the Museum presents five public projects that examine how cultural knowledge is passed on or performed, and the role of a museum in cultivating so-called lived and living memory.


The Visibility and Representation Project
Co-presented with The 519
Invisible Footprints 0.2: Deep Cuts
July 5 – 19

Invisible Footprints 0.2: Deep Cuts visualizes and documents the lived experiences of Toronto’s queer and trans East and Southeast Asians. Organized by Mezart Daulet, artists Aries Cheung, Heidi Cho, Vince Ha, and Khanh Tudo have developed this multimedia exhibition through community-based intergenerational art making at The 519.

Despite the vibrancy of queer and trans Asian life, these lived experiences are repeatedly sidelined or rendered invisible within the greater local narratives. Indeed, queer and trans Asian life in Toronto has always occupied shapes and circumstances beyond what is documentable.

Invisible Footprints celebrates and preserves these lived experiences. Spawned from ARROW, an art installation by Vince Ha, this ongoing community art and archive project, founded by Rice Roll Productions, revisits the footprints of artists, activists, academics, and groups like Asian Lesbians of Toronto and Gay Asians of Toronto to illuminate marginalized histories.

Following Invisible Footprints 0.1: Art and Archives Exhibition (Open Space Gallery, October 2017), Deep Cuts explores personal micro-stories often hidden deep within our bodies, nightmares, and experiences of pleasure. Over forty community members documented their nuanced lived experiences through clay making and facilitated dialogue.

Thursdays, May 10 – May 31, 6 – 8 pm
Clay Making and Community Dialogue

Thursday July 5, 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Invisible Footprints 0.2: Deep Cuts Public Opening

Saturday July 14, 1 – 3 pm
Invisible Footprints 0.2 Deep Cuts Artist Talk and Tour

Public Space Intervention
I wanna dance with some body
August 1 – September 17

Local artist and curator jes sachse addresses the negotiation of bodies moving in public/private space with a series of outdoor sculptures.

Reflecting on how bodies interact with the architecture of access, jes sachse’s I wanna dance with some body considers both the expressive and radical possibilities of the incline plane.

By envisioning ramps as more than the ubiquitous objects of universal design, this chorus of three, executed on an industrial scale, do not function in their typical modality. Their soaring angles challenge small, unnoticeable retro-fitted solutions at the back and side entrances of public buildings. Here, the negotiations of moving bodies rely less on building codes, and act rather as a site for conversation and individual bodily experiences.

Public programming explores the rehearsed and impromptu choreographies embedded in the movement language shared by disabled and nondisabled bodies. This includes a collaborative engagement with American dancer and choreographer Alice Sheppard, followed by a relaxed daytime disco amid the sculptures.

Thursday July 5, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Live Choreography: jes sachse and Alice Sheppard

Friday July 6, 6 – 7:30 pm
Alice Sheppard Artist Talk

Saturday August 25, 1 – 5 pm
I wanna dance with some body Daytime Disco

The Young People Project
Co-presented with Art Starts
Reclaiming Artifacts
August 2 – 16

Reclaiming Artifacts invites visitors of all-ages to explore the “discovery” of artifacts found during the construction of a condo in the year 2050. With support from Art Starts, design researchers Calla Lee and Prateeksha Singh collaborated with youth artists from Lawrence Heights to create these fictional clay artifacts, resulting in a multimedia exhibition that meditates on the neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization. Residents of Lawrence Heights, one of Toronto’s largest community housing projects, have been in the midst of a sweeping revitalization process.

In collaboration with artist Aitak Sorahitalab, Art Starts Program Manager Mia-Skye Sagara, and youth facilitator Wendy De Souza, Lee and Singh designed workshops allowing the artists to imagine objects representing the lives of current and future residents, found in Lawrence Heights through gentrification. The fictional clay objects become artifacts that represent the experiences and values of each artist, and also suggest a shared future for those of us who live in the Greater Toronto Area.

Reclaiming Artifacts is led by youth artists Ayesha Barazkai, Siddiqa Barakzai, Akashiaa Beckford-Stone, Amina Malik, Kianna L.Morgan, and Sutanya Samuels.

Thursday August 2, 5 – 8 pm
Reclaiming Artifacts Opening

Sunday August 5, 11 am – 3 pm
Family Sunday: Notebooks of the Future

Sunday August 12, 11 am – 3 pm
Family Sunday: Fossil Imprints

Performance on the Plaza
Co-presented with Angry Asian Feminist Gang, Margin of Eras Gallery
Panic in the Labyrinth
August 2 to August 19

Panic in the Labyrinth is a series of performances that transgresses the traditional poetry reading. Drawing its title from an Adrienne Rich poem and conceptualized by multidisciplinary artist Annie Wong, the series imagines an outdoor stage for performative poetics to unfold, where the act of women speaking aloud and the experience of listening to women are politicized gestures of asserting and affirming presence and holding space.

“A Choir of Demands and Desires On Repeat” features a nomadic choir recalling and repeating the demands made by women and feminist movements, and “We’re Winning So No Comment” examines a history of misogyny interrupted by a series of award speeches made by inspiring women. Following these choral performances, Wong has invited Amy Wong of Asian Angry Feminist Gang and Whitney French of Margin of Eras Gallery to co-curate Ritual Readings, a Sunday afternoon event commemorating a legacy of feminist literature and women writing.

“A Choir of Demands and Desires On Repeat” and “We’re Winning So No Comment” will be performed by Faith Arkorful, Fiona Raye Clarke, Hanan Hazime, Lasasha Nesbeth, Angela Sun, and Rebecca Zala.

Panic in the Labyrinth Performances
Thursday August 2, 6:30 – 8 pm
Thursday August 9, 6:30 – 8 pm
Thursday August 16, 6:30 – 8 pm

Sunday August 19, 12 – 5 pm
Ritual Readings

Museum Intervention
Co-presented with Akin Collective, Titiesg Wîcinímintôwak // Bluejays Dancing Together Collective
Maldewin Weskijinu / Blood Soaked Soil
August 23 – September 3

Artist, writer, and illustrator Louis Esmé (Mi’kmaq, Acadian, Irish) is a Two-Spirit, non-binary person, and co-founder of Titiesg Wîcinímintôwak // Bluejays Dancing Together, which gathers knowledge, stories, and desires for re-urbanized Two-Spirit people and their relations.

They have created eight distinct clay areas in the Gardiner to represent the eight Mi’kmaqi districts. Made during a six-month residency at Akin Collective’s studios, these districts feature conical vessels that reference ancestral Wabanaki forms. They are activated by visitors and through an audio installation by musician Christa Couture.

Additionally, artists Ashley Bomberry, Shane H. Camastro, Seeds & Stardust, Jodi Lynn Maracle, JL Whitecrow, Jeremy Dutcher and others will respond to Maldewin Weskijinu through the exhibition of their own works.

For Esmé, Maldewin Weskijinu is a reminder that the land hemorrhages with the blood of their People. They tip the pot of colonial niceties towards the earth / water / sky, making something new from very old elements in the ever looming shadow of institutional collecting. Esmé works to highlight the brilliance of local Indigenous artists from the Dish With One Spoon; their Mi’kmaw pots intend to hold the complexities of being here and home at the same time.

Friday August 24, 6 – 8 pm
Maldewin Weskijinu / Blood Soaked Soil Public Launch

Wednesday, August 29, 5 – 7 pm
Maldewin Weskijinu / Blood Soaked Soil Community Conversation

Presented by

Community Partners


The 519 is committed to the health, happiness, and full participation of the LGBTQ2S community. A City of Toronto agency and a registered charity with an innovative model of Service, Space and Leadership, The 519 strives to make a real difference in people’s lives while working to promote inclusion, understanding, and respect.

In 2017, The 519 provided in-kind space and resources for artistic workshops in support of the development of two process-driven projects, NU_FORuMS and Collecting Personal Archives. For Community Arts Space 2018, The 519 will again provide workshop space for a process-driven project, supporting the delivery of knowledge and skill-sharing serving the LGBTQ2S community in Toronto and beyond.

Akin Collective is a Toronto-based arts organization that provides affordable studio space as well as arts-based programming through its sister non-profit organization, Akin Projects. Akin provides space to nearly 250 visual artists, designers, and creatives in studios that maintain a friendly and inspiring atmosphere where people can work on creative endeavors and entrepreneurial undertakings of all kinds. Akin builds community through monthly art critiques, free or low-cost workshops, open studio events, gallery tours, exhibitions, as well as various other projects. During the Community Arts Space’s inaugural 2016 cycle, Akin Projects mounted Place/Setting, an exhibition hall project delivering all-ages clay-making workshops and community events. For Community Arts Space 2018, Akin will provide six months of free studio time at one of its studios, as well as kiln firing access.

For 25 years, Art Starts programs have benefited thousands of people living in marginalized Toronto neighbourhoods by providing a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for self-expression and creative collaboration. They afford opportunities for vulnerable people of all ages to contribute to the creative ecology of their neighbourhoods, using the arts to help end the negative cycles associated with marginalization and poverty.

Programming Partners

Angry Asian Feminist Gang

Asian Community AIDS Services

Invisible Footprints

Margin of Eras Gallery

Rice Roll Productions

Titiesg Wîcinímintôwak // Bluejays Dancing Together Collective