Event Category: Artist talk

Access and the Arts

Kichener-Waterloo Art Gallery logo: black text with a short black bar on the left of the text

A presentation and discussion led by artist Aislinn Thomas about access in art spaces.

So often we use the word “accessible” as a shorthand for wheelchair accessibility, which doesn’t affirm the variety of barriers people with disabilities (and those without named disabilities) face. What can we do as artists, institutions, and community members to be truly and radically inclusive? What accessibility features do we need in order to participate in public life?

Led by local artist, Aislinn Thomas, this presentation seeks to broaden the definition of accessibility, make the case for a relational approach to access, and speak to the imaginative potential available to those who wish to fold points of access into their work and spaces. It will include ample time for discussion and sharing.

Free admission.

This workshop is part of the Flourishing project at Tangled Arts + Disability.

More information about Access and the Arts at KWAG
Access and the Arts on Facebook

Defiant Lives Screening and Round Table on Disability Activism

A photo collage in shades of red with the words Defiant Lives in white

Inclusive Arts London’s Bridging Forward: Accessibility Arts Festival is bringing exciting works from local, provincial, and national artists to London over June and July 2018. For this event we will be screening Defiant Lives, a documentary on disability activism in the US, Britain and Australia. We will follow-up the screening with a round table discussion on disability activism in Canada with leaders from the movement, including Eliza Chandler, Jeff Preston, and Jenelle Rouse. All events are open to the public and presented in accessible locations.

Defiant Lives Screening and Round Table on Disability Activism
Introduction at 6:15
Screening begins at 6:30 PM (90 minutes)
Round Table from 8:00-9:00 PM

For more information: Defiant Lives Screening and Disability Activism Round Table on Facebook

Defiant Lives introduces the world to the most impressive activists you’ve never heard of and tells the story of the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia.Featuring exclusive interviews with elders (some now deceased) who’ve led the movement over the past five decades, the film weaves together never-before-seen archival footage with the often-confronting personal stories of disabled men and women as they moved from being warehoused in institutions to fighting for independence and control over their lives. Once freed from their imprisonment, disabled men and women took on the big charities, criticising the use of celebrities to beg on their behalf. They chained themselves to public transport around the world and demanded access “to boldly go where everyone else has gone before”; and they lobbied for support to live ordinary lives in the community with family, lovers and friends.Defiant Lives is a triumphant film full of extraordinary characters who put their lives on the line to create a better and very different world where everyone regardless of impairment is valued and can participate.

About the speakers:
Eliza Chandler is an Assistant Professor in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University. She is the co-director of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded partnership project, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life. From 2014-2016, she was the Artistic Director of Tangled Art + Disability, an organization in Toronto dedicated to cultivating disability art, and co-founder of Tangled Art Gallery, a gallery which showcases disability arts and advances accessible curatorial practices. Chandler regularly give lectures, interviews, and consultations related to disability arts, accessible curatorial practices, and disability politics in Canada.

Jeff Preston, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Disability Studies at King’s University College at Western University where he teaches classes on disability, popular culture and policy. A long-time advocate and motivational speaker, Jeff’s work focuses on the intersection of disability, subjectivity, biopower and culture. Jeff’s first book, The Fantasy of Disability, was published in 2016 by Routledge.

Jenelle Rouse is a passionate person living her dream of being a kindergarten teacher and currently a PhD candidate. She is a self-taught Deaf artist in body movements and dance. While actively involved in Picasso Pro since 2006, Jenelle has been performed live performing artworks since 2010: “Talking Movement” (as a performing dancer); “Withered Tree” (as a choreographer and performing dancer); and “Perceptions II” (as a choreographer and performing dancer). She also performed a short dance film, “Perceptions” (2015). Jenelle has been recently involved with Bodies in Translation, London Arts Council’s Crossings, Tangled Art + Disability London and Centre[3]. Ultimately, she has continued her passion in dancing and performing since then.

About the filmmakers:
Sarah Barton is a filmmaker with more than 20 years’ experience and has focused mainly on making films about disability. Her first major film Untold Desires (1994) about sexuality and disability won the first Logie Award for SBS television and an AFI Award for most outstanding documentary. In 2003 Sarah created and produced the first 70 episodes of the award winning disability community television series No Limits. During her time as series producer of No Limits Sarah mentored and trained a number of disabled performers including the late comedian and writer Stella Young.Sarah’s short documentary Stroke A Chord (2012) about a choir of stroke survivors who can sing but not speak was a finalist in the ATOM Awards in 2013. Between 2011 and 2015 Sarah worked as Chief Executive Officer of Disability Media Australia an organisation she co-founded in 2005. She also returned to No Limits in the role of Executive Producer mentoring and training disabled producers, cast and crew. In 2015 Sarah returned to her production company Fertile Films to complete Defiant Lives and recently launched an online video distribution platform called DisabilityBusters.com. In 2010 Sarah received a Churchill Fellowship to travel to America and England to research a feature documentary about the disability rights movement. Screen Australia subsequently supported the project in 2015 and the film Defiant Lives is due for release in 2017.

Liz Burke is an independent producer specialising in compelling, stylish and often political television and feature documentaries. Documentaries include, ‘Yuletide (2000) SBS, ‘Just Punishment’ (2006) ABC, ‘The First Wave’ (2008), ‘Missing in the Land of Gods (2012) and ‘Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip’ ABC (2014) Her films have won AFI and ATOM Awards. ‘Missing in the Land of Gods’ was nominated for Best Feature Documentary IDFA 2012, FOXTEL Best Australian Documentary, Sydney Film Festival 2012 and has been screened at many international and national film festivals. Life’. Liz’s most recent documentary is ‘Defiant Lives’ which tells the story of the rise of disability activism in Australia, UK and USA. Liz also teaches into the BA of Film and Animation at Swinburne University of Technology. She is currently enrolled in a PhD at the University of Canberra researching the affordances of the transmedia documentary.


A group of people at a protest. One is holding a sign with the words Still We Rise

Always dynamic, often explosive, a town hall meeting is a public forum for the rigorous exchange of ideas. We expect this meeting to be no exception when a panel of game-changers take to the stage to offer their views on feminism today.

Whether advocating as an artist, student, filmmaker, or youth network leader, each panelists brings an outspoken and determined voice to the table, backed up by action and achievements. They were selected by an equally inspiring committee of entrepreneurs, policy makers, and executive leaders between the ages of 16 to 27, invited by Luminato to suggest exemplary people whose contribution to the status of women they deeply admire.

Building on the historic achievements of the suffragettes the second wave feminists burst forth vociferously in the 1970s making significant gains in the fight for equality. Now, with intersectionality as its driving concern, the third wave, and more recently a fourth, defined by their use of technology and the hashtag call to arms, is themselves taking on the existing power structures. Today it’s the Millenials’ turn to figure out how to deal with and break down the systems and structures they’ve inherited, and finally transform society for good.

Panelists: Vivek Shraya, Arezoo Najibzadeh, Krysta Williams, Tessa Hill
Moderated by: Celina Caesar-Chavannes

For more information: NO GOING BACK at Luminato and NO GOING BACK on Facebook

Free. Reserve your seat here: https://luminatofestival.com/Tickets/ChooseSeats.aspx?eventid=66801

Salt of the Earth Opening Artist Talk

A photograph of a clay pot on a white window sill.

Please join us for an intimate artist talk with Bishara Elmi, whose new installation – Salt of the Earth – is the next exhibition to open at Tangled! If you are interested in attending this opening event, please RSVP using our Eventbrite page, linked here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/salt-of-the-earth-opening-artist-talk-tickets-38854530948

This talk will be held within the gallery and due to limited capacity and access, we are requesting that all interested in attending RSVP.

Exhibition dates: October 26 – November 25, 2017
Opening Artist Talk: October 26, 6:00-8:00 pm
Media Preview: October 26, 3:00-5:00 pm
Second Saturday Social: November 11, 1:00-4:00 pm
Location: Tangled Art Gallery S-122, 401 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON

Dirt is the central material that multidisciplinary artist Bishara Elmi works with in Salt of the Earth; signifying how this element is loaded with multiple meanings and legacies that span across continents to the artist’s homeland in Somalia. This new installation is comprised of crafted domestic objects made from earth that enact a “home” space. These dirt sculptures which Elmi labours over in the making of the work could fall apart at any moment within the installation, and the sense of stability that comes with home could cease to exist.

About The Artist:
Bishara Elmi is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, educator, and public speaker working in visual forms and with numerous materials and creative processes, currently residing in Toronto by way of Mogadishu. Elmi also works individually and within collectives centering BIPOC youth, women and femmes voices and stories and has created many spaces for these types of storytelling and skill sharing to take place.

Tangled Art Gallery is Canada’s first fully accessible disability arts gallery dedicated to advancing accessible programming and curatorial practices. Tangled Art Gallery is proud to be barrier-free, cost-free, and open to the public. All events include ASL Interpretation, Attendant Care, and trained sighted guides. Service animals are welcome. We ask that you help us make our events scent free.

Second Saturday Social with sab meynart

Gallery view of artist sab's artwork on walls and objects in the center. sab meynart and artistic director Barak adé Soleil talk to eachother in the space.

Second Saturday Socials are part of the public programming of Tangled Art Gallery’s Series: Space Shapes Place. October’s Second Saturday Social will take place in tangent with sab meynert’s exhibition, Progress is a Spiral Upwards, and will include a guided live description tour of the exhibition, a dialog between the artist and Tangled Art Gallery’s Artistic Director, Barak adé Soleil, as well snacks and beverages.

The live description tour will begin at 2:00pm, followed by a dialog with the artist.

Space for this event is limited and is available on a first come first serve basis.Please RSVP to this event on our eventbrite event listing here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/second-saturday-socials-tickets-38543801548

Storywave Collective Presents: Who We Are

Storywave Collective promo image

Ciel Sainte-Marie
Wy Joung Kou
Amber Willams-King
Jordyn Taylor
Lynx Sainte-Marie
Pete Owusu
Adam Roy Cohoon


Ciel Sainte-Marie
Ciel Sainte-Marie is an elusive catdeer who likes to bite, romance, and talk about symbols & personal myth. She is a Black, Caribbean, mixie queer spoonie who is slowly venturing out of the wilds of liminal spaces. Faerie is dead. Long live Faerie.
Instagram: @cielsaintemarie

Wy Joung Kou
Wy Joung Kou is an emerging queer multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto. Their practice includes work in performance, writing, visual art, community-based art, and disability art. As a chronically ill youth involved in intergenerational artist and activism platforms Kou has spoken on panels and delivered keynotes about disability Justice and youth activism at various conferences, these subjects being intrinsically linked to their identity as an artist and the work they produce. They have been self-employed as a queer community barber and hair artist for the past 3 years, have been a self-taught jewelry maker since their early teens and have worked as an assistant artist on various public art projects with Red Dress Productions since 2015, learning ceramic and glass mosaic work in the context of participatory community art. Kou has exhibited visual/tactile installation art pieces in group shows such as Project Creative Users’ CRIP INTERIORS in winter 2015 and in the second edition of the show which was featured in Nuit Blanche Toronto 2015 programming. They were recently awarded the Ontario Art Council’s Access and Career Development Grant to pursue a year long internship with Red Dress Productions as they take part in the production and mounting of Drift Seeds, a community-engaged performance piece set to be performed in June 2017.

Amber Willams-King
I am a Black, queer self-taught artist working in photography, collage, printmaking, and illustration. I see mixed media as a way of acknowledging the multiplicity and fluidity of being and I use materials that speak best to the narrative at hand. This practice seeks to challenge notions of a monolithic Black experience; exploring sexuality, gender, race, representation and intersections of identity. I use found images to investigate colonial histories, legacies of resistance in response to varied oppressions, and the reality of our current socio-political landscapes to excavate new possibilities and future imaginings.

Jordyn Taylor
Jordyn Taylor studied drawing and painting at the Academy of Art Canada. As a queer disabled woman, she uses her work to explore themes of body integrity and challenge societal notions of disability and autonomy. In winter 2015 Jordyn participated in agroup exhibition entitled Crip Interiors put on by the art collective Project Creative Users, of which Jordyn is a founding member. Later that year the collective got together again to create a zine called Atrophy, exploring the theme of cripping rape culture.
Beginning in 2005 Jordyn has been displaying her work in group shows across Toronto, most recently at the Mod Club as a participating artist in RAW: Verve. These days Jordyn’s drawing and paintings can often be seen at Super Wander Gallery as she works to put together her first solo show.

Lynx Sainte-Marie
lynxsaintemarie.com .
Lynx Sainte-Marie is a disabled/chronically ill, non-binary/genderfluid, Afro+Goth Poet of the Jamaican diaspora with ancestral roots indigenous to Africa and the British Isles, living on stolen Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat land (Greater Toronto Area). A writer, multimedium artist, activist, educator, agitator and community builder, Lynx’s work and art is informed by Black feminism(s), collective community love and social, disability and healing justice movements. http://lynxsaintemarie.com/

Peter Owusu-Ansah.
I am a Deaf person. I am not even thinking that I am a visual artist, but I love making images. Seeing is how I get my joy. When I looked at the joy of the visual art world, I felt pain because I did not see a Deaf role model. Even though Deaf people are there, their names do not show up. It is my challenge to do something about it by exploring my true joy of visual image. It is my hope that there will be a place in history for my work. It is my hope to inspire the spirit of Deaf visual artist to rise and be great as any great artist in the world. We are a part of the world and I do believe that we deserve to be role model to not just Deaf people but to anyone else too.

Adam Roy Cohoon
Adam has operated as an independent Artist and Disability Advocate since 2003, where his work has included blogging, photography, filmmaking, and public speaking. He has presented his film work at the Opening of the Toronto Free Gallery, Camera Bar, and the University of Toronto Disability Art Show. He first gained wide recognition with the Disability and Media community through his selection to the National Film Board Momentum Program. work has appeared on the blog “Enables Me” and my work has also appeared on “CBC Toronto”. I have also had my work appear in the “Metro” newspaper and “Toronto Star Online”. To his credit, and unique development process, Adam had developed a manner in which he himself, through recent technological advances, leading to the GoPro camera affixed to his powered wheelchair, and accessible computer and laptop, he independently developed a manner of producing films. Mounting the GoPro on a wheelchair has allowed me to take video and photos from first person perspective, using a custom camera mount

This exhibition features audio description for all works and will also have multiple tactile pieces. All events associated with this exhibit will be barrier-free and will have ASL interpretation. We request that you help us make this event scent-free. This is a FREE event.

Tangled Art Gallery is located in studio 122 on the main floor of the 401 Richmond Building. The accessible subway stations are at Union Station and Spadina Station. 401 Richmond can also be accessed by Streetcar by taking the 510 Spadina streetcar from Spadina subway station or the 510 Richmond Street stop going north from Union Station, which is intermittently accessible.


Spina Bifida: Front to Back

Spina Bifida promo image

Steve Kean has spina bifida. He is a disabled artist. For the first time in his artistic practice, he is examining how people like him who live with this condition, view themselves and seek to claim their power and beauty.

Body image remains a relevant topic in many different contexts. “Front to Back” focuses on the context of disability. Spina bifida often results in the necessity of using a wheelchair. People look down on those with spina bifida, literally and figuratively. They have historically suffered great indignity, even for the sake of medical education. Being the subject of treatment and learning is an experience many of those with spina bifida share.

“Front to Back” has been a true collaboration between Kean and those he photographs. It is a path to a sense of dignity and control over what happens to those with spina bifida. Audiences for the images in this project will see the people first. People whose lives have meaning and are beautiful.

Exhibiting this work in a public space was the final step and has given Kean and the participants whom he photographs a place and time to show spina bifida as a beautiful part of how they inhabit their bodies and shape their lives.

An educational resource guide for this exhibition is available for download HERE. This resource covers the key themes of the exhibition content and provides dicussion points for gallery and in class sessions. To book a gallery lead session with your class during the exhibition please email galleries@humber.ca (link sends e-mail).

This exhibition is presented by Tangled Arts and sponsored by Humber’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Diversity.

Artist Bio:
Steve Kean is a photographer originally from Sudbury who has been living in Toronto for the past 23 years. He came to photography while in high school where he was failing art class. Kean’s disability made it difficult for him to draw or paint, but he still had a burning need to create art. A camera was the answer for him. Mostly self-taught, Steve has made tens-of-thousands of images over more than thirty years attempting to master his craft.

Much of Kean’s work focuses on how people with disabilities inhabit their bodies and illustrate how their experiences may differ from everyone else. His images challenge the viewer to think about how people with disabilities see and interact with the world they share with able-bodied people. Influenced by the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston, Vincenzo Pietropaolo and W. Eugene Smith, Steve seeks to capture the moment(s) that can define his subjects and their place in society.

About Tangled Art + Disability:
Tangled Art + Disability is boldly redefining how the world experiences art and those who create it. We are a not for profit art + disability organization dedicated to connecting professional and emerging artists, the arts community and a diverse public through creative passion and artistic excellence. Our mandate is to support Deaf, Mad and disability-identified artists, to cultivate Deaf, Mad and disability arts in Canada, and to enhance access to the arts for artists and audiences of all abilities.

About Humber’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Diversity:
The Centre’s initiatives integrate the complex and often contradictory ways that socially constructed identities intersect and interlock. As such, initiatives extend beyond binaries such as male/female, black/white, gay/straight, able/disabled to include multiple layers of identity that are experienced simultaneously. This intersectional and integrative approach, grounded in a practice of care, is woven throughout all of the Centre’s services.


By Transit, take the 501 Queen streetcar to Kipling Ave. Or, from Kipling Station, take the 44 Kipling south bus to Humber College.