Evadne Kelly: Dancing Spirit, Love, and War

We’re so excited to announce the publication of Evadne Kelly’s Dancing Spirit, Love, and War: Performing the Translocal Realities of Contemporary Fiji! Evadne is one of our brilliant postdoctoral researchers.

The cover of Evadne's book, in black and golden yellow. 4 dancers in grass skirts and making fists are at the top, above the title and author in yellow block print.
The cover of Evadne’s book, in black and golden yellow. 4 dancers in grass skirts and making fists are at the top, above the title and author in yellow block print.

This text explores meke, a traditional rhythmic dance accompanied by singing, signifies an important piece of identity for Fijians. Despite its complicated history of colonialism, racism, censorship, and religious conflict, meke remained a vital part of artistic expression and culture. Evadne Kelly performs close readings of the dance in relation to an evolving landscape, following the postcolonial reclamation that provided dancers with political agency and a strong sense of community that connected and fractured Fijians worldwide.

Through extensive archival and ethnographic fieldwork in both Fiji and Canada, Kelly offers key insights into an underrepresented dance form, region, and culture. Her perceptive analysis of meke will be of interest in dance studies, postcolonial and Indigenous studies, anthropology and performance ethnography, and Pacific Island studies.

Available for purchase now wherever you buy your books, and you can also read an excerpt on Google Books.

Brand Ambassadors Wanted: Menstrual Accessory

Do you menstruate, and are you interested in representing your menstruation experiences in creative ways?

A photo of Vanessa wearing all white, with one hand on her hip. She has hot pink Menstrual Accessory between her legs, and hot pink shoes. She's standing on a metro platform, with the tracks behind her.
A photo of Vanessa wearing all white, with one hand on her hip. She has hot pink Menstrual Accessory between her legs, and hot pink shoes. She’s standing on a metro platform, with the tracks behind her.

The Menstrual Accessory Menstruation Sponsorship and Ambassador program is exclusive membership to the ultimate elite menstruators and social influencers. Those who are leaders in their community and are passionately engaged in promoting menstruation.

Menstrual Accessory embraces individuals of all genders at different points of their menstruation journey through a supportive community. We believe in creating versatile products that reflect a passion for menstruation. They are designed to endure the highest flow, enforce confidence & motivate, which are the critical components of a menstruator’s happiness. We are thrilled to sponsor menstruators and bring on brand ambassadors who are menstruating in different settings, e.g., at home, in the office, on vacation, and becoming an essential and integral part of your menstruation experience.

Individuals who demonstrate our brands’ core values will be chosen; individuals who show enthusiasm and engagement with the community both locally and virtually. Most important is how you impact the representation of menstruation. Your social influence and social media presence plays a significant role in our consideration for sponsorship or being an Ambassador.

To be considered for the Menstrual Accessory Sponsorship or Ambassador program, please submit your Menstrual Accessory Brand Ambassador Application to Vanessa Dion Fletcher at vanessaafletcher@gmail.com.

For more info about Menstrual Accessory, visit their Instagram, online store, and/or watch Vanessa’s presentation at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Reframing Difference

Image of quote: I'm interested in disability justice because it's important to live in a society where you don't have to hide your disability.

Produced in support of the 2019 Hart House Hancock Lecture by Sarah Jama, Moving Toward a Disability Justice Revolution, the purpose of this podcast is to amplify the voices of people with disabilities and to emphasize actions U of T can take to make the university more inclusive. Kate Welsh, MEd, disability activist and artists, interviews students and has frank, open conversations.

This exhibition highlights the voices of U of T students living with disabilities. Produced in support of the 2019 Hart House Hancock Lecture by Sarah Jama, Moving Toward a Disability Justice Revolution, the purpose of the exhibition and podcast is to bring awareness to the lived experiences of people with disabilities, and to build compassion and understanding for members of our community.

Presented by the Hancock Student Advisory Committee. Our heartfelt gratitude to the student contributors for their generosity in sharing their stories.

Listen to Reframing Difference podcast

Finding Language: A Word Scavenger Hunt by Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Image of text on page with highlighted words.

In this interactive tour, artist Vanessa Dion Fletcher will engage participants through response cards that have been meticulously embroidered with quills. The program will encourage reflection on the political, social and emotional meaning of language.

Saturday, March 23, 1-2pm
Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue, Toronto, ON
PRICING: General $20; Members $15*; Students $10

Vanessa Dion Fletcher is an artist of Potawatomi and Lenape ancestry, living and working in Toronto. Her practice is aligned with the intersections of contemporary performance and community engagement as they exist beside the powerful and longstanding material cultures of quillwork and beadwork—actively engaging with identity, social exchange, political critique, and hands-on learning.

In 2017, she asked artist and teacher Brenda Lee of Nipissing First Nation to teach her the process of working with porcupine quills, from harvesting the quills from the deceased animal to cleaning, dyeing, and stitching them onto a finished object. The two artists continue to share their knowledge of their relationships to materials, the land, traditional cultures, and the female body in relation to the natural world.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Vanessa Dion Fletcher

On Diversity and Representation in the Arts

Black and white photo of ceramic bowl with cracks in the glaze

There is a big push in the media and in the art world these days for “diverse” perspectives. This push mirrors “diversity” being used as a buzzword in boardrooms, governments and education as well.

But what does “diversity” really mean if the actual voices of so-called “diverse” individuals aren’t truthfully represented in mainstream media and in popular art discourses? How can journalists, critics, curators and gallery workers confront—rather than reinforce— tokenism and marginalization of minority voices?

This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately. Attending a recent symposium in Toronto called Cripping the Arts, I found I wasn’t alone in these thoughts and concerns. There, for the first time, I found out many of my feelings stem from a long tradition of misrepresentations of people with illness and disability in the media, curation and in art-world texts. I learned that others had also been misrepresented. And I learned a wider movement is afoot.

Read more in Canadian Art

Jeff Thomas: winner of 2019 Governor General’s Award

Black and white image of white corn.
Jeff Thomas, White Corn, detail from panel, 1990, pigment print, 50.8 cm x 127 cm. Collection of the artist

Bodies in Translation collaborator Jeff Thomas has won the 2019 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts!

Jeff Thomas is a self-taught photo-based artist, writer, public speaker, and curator. He has works in major collections in Canada, the United States and Europe. Jeff’s solo shows include Birdman Rising, A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis & George Hunter, The Dancing Grounds, and Resistance Is NOT Futile. He has also been in many group shows, including The Family Camera; Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989; Land/Slide: Possible Futures; SAKAHÀN; and UNMASKING: Arthur Renwick, Adrian Stimson, Jeff Thomas. He has received the Canada Council’s Duke and Duchess of York Award in Photography, the Karsh Award in photography, and a REVEAL Indigenous Art Award, and he has been inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. An urban-based Iroquois, Jeff was born in Buffalo, New York, and now lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

“There is no one I admire more than Jeff Thomas. His intelligence, generosity and integrity underpin and inform every aspect of his art, which he uses to make sense of and improve the world. Jeff’s work has changed how we see the world and given us intellectual tools for critical agency that we cannot afford to be without.”

— Dr. Richard Hill, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies, Emily Carr University of Art & Design

Read more on the Canada Council for the Arts website.

Cripping as Disrupting

Performer with prosthetics doing a hand stand on wheelchair
Erin Ball performs in Crip Shorts. Photo: Michelle Peek Photography courtesy of Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology & Access to Life.

“The theme of disruption carried throughout the symposium with discussions about breaking down exclusionary environments and practices, and the silos that enclose Deaf, Disabled and Mad arts. While the contemporary art world often touts diversity and equality, the spaces in which it’s programmed and the rules by which it’s governed often operate on white, settler and patriarchal models. The mission of disabled artists and their allies is not only to increase visibility for marginalized artists but to break down, or crip, the colonial and ableist structures that have alienated them.

For example, methods of Relaxed Performance, as discussed by Andrea LaMarre, Carla Rice and Kayla Besse, subvert the ableist gaze in theatre. It strives to change the etiquette on what it means to be “a good audience member” in an artistic medium which the speakers identified as having a long history of exclusion and exploitation of marginalized individuals. Having proper interpretation, allowing audience members to speak or come and go from the theatre as needed, or having the actors address the audience are some of the methods they propose to increase access. They also noted that in order to have better representation of deaf or disabled actors, they must first foster deaf or disabled audience members. Inclusion has to start at the door, not in a report or as a one-off on the marquee.”

Excerpt from On the Complexity of Cripping the Arts written by Christiana Myers and published in Canadian Art.

Bridging forward: Accessible Arts Festival

A woman's face with cloudy abstract imagery superimposed

Inclusive Arts London is a regional collective dedicated to developing opportunities for artists and individuals who identify as deaf, disabled and/or mad.

From June to July,  Inclusive Arts London’s Bridging Forward: Accessibility Arts Festival is bringing exciting works from local, provincial, and national artists to London Ontario. See upcoming program below!

June 8, 7-10 PM: Present Tense: IAL Exhibition Opening

This exhibition features emerging to established contemporary visual and media artists from Southwestern Ontario and beyond, including: Elaine Stewart, Aislinn Thomas, Hailey Doxtater, Jenelle Rouse, Vero Leduc, Sarah L and Judith Purdy. All events are open to the public and presented in accessible locations.

Present Tense: IAL Exhibition Opening with works by:
Elaine Stewart
Aislinn Thomas
Hailey Doxtater
Jenelle Rouse
Vero Leduc
Sarah L
Judith Purdy


Our exhibition opening is at a wheelchair accessible location with an accessible washroom. An ASL interpreter will be on site. This is a visual art and media art show – there is no audio description for the visual works but the media work has audio description.

For more information: Inclusive Arts London Exhibition Opening on Facebook:

June 14, 6-9 PM: Defiant Lives Screening and Round Table on Disability Activism

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.
Introduction at 6:15 PM
Screening begins at 6:30 PM (90 minutes)
Round Table from 8:00-9:00 PM

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 specializing 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 trans-media documentary.

The work is closed captioned but is not audio described. An ASL interpreter will be there for the round table. This is at an accessible location with an accessible washroom.

For more information: Defiant Lives Screening and Disability Activism Round Table on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1836098233363699/?ti=icl

June 15, 7-9 PM: Chronic: Films by Jennifer Reeves

Hosted in conjunction with Inclusive Arts London, London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA) presents a selection of 16mm films by New York-based artist Jennifer Reeves. Featured is her 1996 film, CHRONIC, an elegiac and transcendent portrait confronting disorder, trauma, tragedy and loss. Both honest and unflinching, this semi-autobiographical portrayal of a young woman’s struggles and experiences with severe mental health issues is conveyed through an impressionistic style, collaging dream and memory while offering a profound message of resilience and catharsis through artistic expression. Accompanying the film are two other shorts by Reeves, exploring themes of queerness, longing and identity.
Admission by donation; $5 suggested, no one turned away.

Total duration: 63 minutes

Content warning: this film may be difficult and/or triggering for some audiences; subjects include trauma, self-harm and suicide.


Monsters in the Closet
1993, 16mm, 15 minutes

Dirty little girl stories, girl gangs, and other tales from the closets of adolescence. (J.R.)

1996, 16mm, 38 minutes

CHRONIC is an experimental narrative about a young woman who began mutilating herself as a girl to cope with a traumatic mid-western childhood. The lush optically-printed scenes take Gretchen’s point of view from her punk youth, a stay in a mental hospital, and her release into the big city. Scripted scenes are inter-spliced with documentary and found footage, illustrating the culture Gretchen lives in, her inner world and relationships from her birth to her final day. (J.R.)

We Are Going Home
1998, 16mm, 10 minutes

Solarized, tinted, and optically-printed, this is a surreal portrait of desire, ghosts and pursuit of the sensual. Rhythmic color shifts in the emulsion bring life to the rural landscape, which seems to embody the terrain of the subconscious. Three women seek pleasure and the beyond in parallel universes, which never quite intersect. When one finds another, she is either buried in the sand or asleep under a tree.

WE ARE GOING HOME was shot at Philip Hoffman’s film retreat in rural Ontario. The film was made in the memory of Marian McMahon, an experimental filmmaker who died of cancer in the fall of 1996. (J.R.)

About the filmmaker:
Jennifer Reeves (b. 1971, Sri Lanka) is a New York-based filmmaker working primarily on 16mm film. Her work has shown around the globe from microcinemas in the US to the Berlin, New York, London, Sundance, and Hong Kong Film Festivals, the Robert Flaherty Seminar, the Museum of Modern Art, and at various universities and arthouse cinemas in the US, Canada, and Europe. She has had multiple-program retrospectives at the San Francisco Cinematheque, Kino Arsenal in Berlin, Anthology Film Archives, the London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in the UK and a major 10-screening retrospective at the Era New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland in 2009.

Reeves has made 20+ film-based works dating back to 1990. Since 2003, she has collaborated with numerous composers, including Marc Ribot, Ikue Mori, Skúli Sverrisson, Elliott Sharp, Zeena Parkins, Anthony Burr and Eyvind Kang for a series of live multiple projection performances that have toured internationally.

She does her own writing, cinematography, editing, and sound design. Her subjective and personal films push the boundaries of the medium through optical-printing and direct-on-film techniques including hand-painting film frames. Reeves has explored themes of memory, mental health and recovery, feminism, sexuality, landscape, music, and politics in her films.

Reeves also teaches film part-time at The Cooper Union in NYC.


Our last event is a 16mm screening (FB below) of a few short films addressing mental health. These are archival prints and sadly aren’t audio described or closed captioned. This is at an accessible location with an accessible washroom.

For more information: Chronic: Films by Jennifer Reeves on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/932551706923989/

Hear, Feel, See, What!

Artist Jenelle Rouse posing in dance

Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts in Hamilton and VibraFusionLab in London, Ontario present Hear, Feel, See What!, a collaborative speculative soundscape and interactive installation. Five artists from Hamilton, London, and Toronto, including hearing, hard of hearing and Deaf artists, and an archivist co-authored a piece that captures and documents both the audio and vibrations of historical, existing, and future sounds of Hamilton and London. In a society that is in a constant state of rapid change, this piece aims to collect and preserve city sounds before they are lost to history.

The multi-sensory work invites spectators to engage either through sound, audio description, visual interpretation and/or vibrations while facing a video projection of Jenelle Rouse, a Deaf dancer whose practice responds, interprets and composes movement. In this work, Rouse offers us an embodied reflection and translation; an experiential and corporeal response to the local and digital soundscapes. Her dance embodies a symbolic intersection of the two cities as she streams the vibrations through her movements. Transmitting the speculative soundscape through dance, the two cities converge in a sentiment of live streaming, and digitization. Hear Feel See What! challenges the conventional ways in which we engage with and experience the arts and encourages us to question our notions about accessibility in both art making and presentation.

From June 8 to 30, 2018

Hamilton: Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts 173 James North
London: VibraFusionLab 1-400 Adelaide Street North

Opening reception in Hamilton: Friday June 8, 2018 (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m) during the James North Art Crawl
Opening reception in London, ON: Friday June 8, 2018 at VibraFusionLab (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.)

Exhibition link: http://centre3.com/exhibition/hear-feel-see-what/

Accessibility information: ASL interpreter will be present at the opening reception and both locations are wheelchair accessible.

About the artists:

David Bobier, who identifies as having a hearing disability, and Leslie Putnam are from the o’honey collective. Their collective explores the relationship in which humans either oppose or connect with their natural environment. They take iconic elements from the natural world and place them within the realm of human experience and transversely place human constructions within the natural world. The two artists work toward community engagement and the exploration of the intersection between the human and natural world, attempting to bridge the gap between what people know as the truth of their natural world, and the way we have come to experience it through our own constructed realities.

Jenelle Rouse lives an exciting life juggling between various roles. While working as a classroom teacher at a Provincial School for the Deaf for almost 10 years and working towards a doctorate in the Education field of Applied Linguistics, Rouse works as a part-time evolving dancer. She is a self-taught deaf artist with a desire to express thoughts and emotions through body movements and dance.

Lindsay Fisher is a visual artist and curator, disability arts advocate, and identifies as being a deaf artist. Fisher’s practice critically examines cultural understandings of disability, accessibility, and disability arts as an interventionist tactic to be used to make the city more inhabitable to people living with difference.

Michael Rinaldi is an actor/sound designer/writer living in Hamilton Ontario. He has been fortunate to have collaborated with some of Canada’s most exciting theatre companies: Tarragon, Factory, GCTC, Blyth Festival, Common Boots/Theatre Columbus, Theatre Calgary, Vancouver Playhouse, The Arts Club, Electric Company Theatre, Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and many more. He has been nominated for multiple awards in acting, collective creation, and sound design, most recently the 2017 Dora’s for Outstanding Sound design, and the OAC’s 2017 Pauline McGibbon Award for Emerging Designer.

TJ Charlton is an interdisciplinary artist, musician, arts educator and archivist currently based in Hamilton, ON.

My Head Lay on a Trusty Word

You’re invited to experience My Head Lay on a Trusty Word, a documentary film exhibition by Roberto Santaguida. This is the final exhibition of Space Shapes Place, a national series of vibrant commissions produced by Tangled Art + Disability.

Opening Reception: April 19, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Exhibition dates: April 19 – May 19, 2018
Location: Tangled Art Gallery S-122, 401 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON

Fork on table top
Still from exhibition

About the exhibition

My Head Lay on A Trusty Word marks a new installation by Montreal-born filmmaker Roberto Santaguida. The narrative sculpts a tale of his own personal journey: at fourteen years old, Santaguida ran away from home and dreamt he found redemption on the Atlantic coast. For this project, the artist replicated his travels east, revisiting the small towns, scenic routes, twilight beaches, and the woman who helped him find his way back.

About the artist

Since completing his studies in film production at Concordia University, Roberto Santaguida has worked extensively in documentary and experimental film. His films have shown at more than 250 international festivals around the world. Santaguida is the recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award and a fellowship from Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany.


Tangled Art Gallery is in a barrier-free location. Audio description will be available for the exhibit. For public engagements we will have ASL interpreters, live transcription and attendant care present. Service animals are welcome. We request that you help us to make this a scent-free environment


Tangled Art Gallery is located in studio 122 on the main floor on the 401 Richmond Building. The closest accessible subway station is at Osgoode Station. The closest accessible streetcar stop is the 510 Spadina Queen Street West Stop (Queen Street stop going south from Spadina Station, Richmond Street stop going north from Union Station.)


For images, interviews, or more information please contact: Kristina McMullin
P: 647 725 5064
E: kristina@tangledarts.org
Website: tangledarts.org


A still of My Head Lay on a Trusty Word. The frame features a table setting with a plate of food, one fork and one glass. The tablecloth is cream coloured with a bright red floral pattern. The image is grainy like old film.