MAY 13, 2021 - 7PM EST
Four artists were invited to engage with critical texts by Black authors and share their reflections.
ALISHA TASHAN DAVIDSON
Alisha is a Jamaican-Canadian interdisciplinary artist residing on the unceded ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Alisha is a graduate of Studio 58. She participated in the 2020 Director’s Lab Unit with Rumble Theatre and has worked in multiple performance pieces with Kinesis Dance Somatheatrto. A current poetry mentee of The Writer’s Studio at SFU, Alisha is striving to grow as a writer of lyrical prose, plays and non-fiction. She sees her artistic passions responding to what she believes is her life’s calling; a future in counselling therapy and somatic practice under a decolonized and anti-racist lense.
What does it mean in the era of Black Lives Matter to continue to ignore and deny the violence that is the foundation of the Canadian nation state? BlackLife discloses the ongoing destruction of Black people as enacted not simply by state structures, but beneath them in the foundational modernist ideology that underlies thinking around migration and movement, as Black erasure and death are unveiled as horrifically acceptable throughout western culture.
Amaka Umeh (she/her, they/them) is a genderfluid, Toronto-based storyteller of Nigerian (Igbo & Ikwerre) origin. A graduate of the Musical Theatre Performance Program at the Randolph Academy for Performing Arts, she has been fortunate to receive priceless, diverse opportunities to explore the provocative, liberatory, and transformative powers of investigating truth through imagination and pretense while wrestling with the limitations of the English language as an effective mode of communication. In collaboration with the Ontario performing arts community, their work has been generously recognized with a Dora Mavor Moore Award, a Toronto Theatre Critics' Association Award, and two MyEntertainmentWorld Critics’ Pick Award nominations. Amaka also completed the Stratford Festival Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre, Factory Theatre Mechanicals and Toronto Fringe T.E.N.T. Programs.
Delving behind Canada’s veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada.
K.P Dennis a Black, non-binary, multi-disciplinary artist, director, producer, and activist based on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. They were the 2016 Youth Poet Laureate of Victoria, the 2017 recipient of the VACCS Community recognition Award, and in 2020 they received the Witness Legacy Award for Social Purpose and Responsibility Through Art. In 2021 their play Cavities was produced by Obsidian Theatre and CBC Arts, directed by the Obsidian Theatre’s critically acclaimed artistic director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, and is available for viewing on CBC Gem.
In February 2020 they released their chapbook, Growing Pains, and are currently working on their new play The Parable of the Vulture, funded by Canada Council of the Arts.
WE DO THIS TIL WE FREE US: ABOLITIONIST ORGANIZING AND TRANSFORMING JUSTICE
BY MARIAME KABA
What if social transformation and liberation isn’t about waiting for someone else to come along and save us? What if ordinary people have the power to collectively free ourselves? In this timely collection of essays and interviews, Mariame Kaba reflects on the deep work of abolition and transformative political struggle.