Photo of Claire Cunningham.
Claire Cunningham, a short, white woman wearing bright orange work trousers, a grey jumper, orange and grey baseball cap and sunglasses stands tilted to the side held up by silver and grey crutches held in her hands. She stands on a pebble beach without houses, people and a seagull in the background. Photo by Paul Blakemore.

Claire Cunningham

Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performance based in Glasgow, Scotland and a current Work Place Artist with The Place, London and until recently, a Factory Artist with Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf, Germany.

One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Cunningham’s work is often rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of the potential of her own specific physicality with a conscious rejection of traditional dance techniques (developed for non-disabled bodies).  This runs alongside a deep interest in the lived experience of disability and its implications not only as a choreographer but also in terms of societal notions of knowledge, value, connection and interdependence.  A self-identifying disabled artist, Cunningham’s work combines multiple art forms and ranges from the intimate solo show ME (Mobile/Evolution) (2009), to the large ensemble work  12  made for Candoco Dance Company.   

Art form
Sculpture
Music
Performance Art
Spoken Word
Theatre
Dance

Community
Disabled

Exhibitions
Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance [Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University]

Location
Scotland, U.K.

Photo of commissioned artwork "All You Can Hold." It is a wide oval shaped mosaic against a white wall.
Photo of commissioned artwork "All You Can Hold", permanently installed at the North York Women's Shelter. It is a wide oval shaped mosaic against a white wall. In the center it features a large outstretched hand set against a big yellow sun, palm up, made up of browns, pinks and oranges. The hand is encircled by a tidal wave in white and blues. A smaller moon-like circle emerges from the waves in the bottom right corner.

Wy Joung Kou

Wy Joung Kou is a queer, chronically ill, multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto. With a body of work spanning mosaic art, poetry, sound, movement, performance, video, and installation, their work is often inextricable from queer, disabled, diasporic narratives. Grounded in a disability justice framework centering accessibility, community and interdependence, their artistic practice is interwoven with personal narratives of grief, care, and intimacy.

Kou’s educational trajectory as a professional artist has followed a path combining mentorship and community-models of learning, skill exchange, and collaborative process. As a mosaic artist, they consider themselves a poet turned visual-tactile storyteller. Their stories are ones told in languages of colour, texture, grit, and feeling. Since 2015, Kou has worked with the Red Dress Productions team on multiple large-scale mosaic works installed permanently in indoor and outdoor Toronto/GTA locations, including a 16 foot long mosaic mural of their own design at Street Health (2018). Kou’s independent mosaic work has exhibited in establishments such as Tangled Arts & Disability Gallery, The Gladstone Hotel, Critical Distance Gallery and the ArQuives.

Kou grew up in Ottawa (ON) where they had the privilege to cultivate a movement repertoire rooted in over a decade of formal training as a competitive figure skater, all-star cheerleader, dancer and Taekwon-Do black belt. Their professional ventures in movement and performance now lie mainly in taiko drumming as a member of RAW – Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers. As an apprentice from 2017-2019 and a member as of 2020, their participation in RAW is centered around performance, creation, and education. They have also taken to the stage as a writer, reading their poetry at events including Naked Heart Festival, Unruly Bodies, and Bricks & Glitter Festival. They have been writing poetry since their youth and began printing and distributing their first DIY (zine) poetry chapbook “Tigressbalm” in 2018.

Kou is the founder and organizer of the Sick & Disabled Queer Zine Fair (2018-2019) as well as an Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency alum. They were the inaugural winner of the JRG Grant for Artist with Disabilities (2018), and have been the recipient of multiple Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts grants.

Recent work

  • “All You Can Hold” – Commissioned mosaic work for the North York Women’s Shelter (January 2020)
  • UNDAUNTED: Into The Open – Raging Asian Womxn Taiko Drummers in concert at Betty Oliphant Theatre (December 2019)
  • Access is Love and Love is Complicated – Critical Distance Gallery (October 2019)
  • Inkling Symposium – Virtual poetry reading at Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (April 2019)

Art form
Visual Arts
Music
Sound Art
Installation
Performance Art
Spoken Word
Film
Mosaic Art
Taiko Drumming

Community
Disabled
POC
LGBTQ2SIA+
Queer
Feminist

Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Two people reach out to touch Big Softie’s guts, which are soft and dimpled and made from stuffed knee socks and nylon stockings, and examine the Unidentified Remains that are scattered amongst them. At the centre of it all lies Big Softie’s heart, a red patchwork soft sculpture with tendrils extending outward.
Two people reach out to touch Big Softie’s guts, which are soft and dimpled and made from stuffed knee socks and nylon stockings, and examine the Unidentified Remains that are scattered amongst them. At the centre of it all lies Big Softie’s heart, a red patchwork soft sculpture with tendrils extending outward.

Valentin Brown

Valentin Brown creates “soft body horror” – a mythology of monsters that live on the “Body Farm.” Using mixed media images and sculpture, Valentin pieces together a Mad gaze: a way of seeing that encompasses what some might call a combination of autism, gender dysphoria, and PTSD. This lens of “Madness” reframes Valentin’s experiences with awe, humour, and hope in a way that exists outside of medical models, and affirms that Madness is not a pathology, but an invitation to pursue unexpected futures.

“Body Farm” is a multi-sensory experience that can also be explored in physical spaces though touch and audio. Accessibility features such as tactile sculpture and audio description are intrinsic to the world of the “Body Farm,” affectionately asserting that, like Mad-positivity, accessible arts practices are a doorway to vibrant new worlds.

Valentin lives in Hamilton, Ontario, and is a 2017 graduate of Visual and Creative Arts at Sheridan College. In 2019, Valentin was awarded the Won Lee Fellowship and the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency, and exhibited his first solo show, “Body Farm”, with Tangled Art + Disability. Valentin will be a participant of Centre3’s 2021 Emerging Artist Residency and will show a new solo exhibit of “Body Farm” at Hamilton Artists Inc. in spring of 2023.

Exhibitions

Art form
Visual Arts
Painting
Textiles
Sculpture
Sound Art
Installation
Writing

Community
Disabled
Mad
Fat
Queer
Trans

Location
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Professional photo of artist M.C Cruz, circa July 2019.
Professional photo of artist M.C Cruz, circa July 2019.

M. C Cruz

M.C Cruz a.k.a Chris is a child of Chilean immigrants. Who was born, raised and currently based in Toronto but has also lived in in Chile and more recently did an Artist Residency in Morocco and Spain. They attended Etobicoke School of Arts and majored in Visual Arts before moving to Vancouver to study film and video production at Capilano University. They facilitated filmmaking workshops for marginalized communities as part of Fright Film Academy and Fright Film School. They have written, directed and produced several live action and animated short films including “Vampyric PSA”, “La Llorona” and “Root Causes”. “Root Causes” screened at Rendezvous with Madness film festival with a special invitation to be part of the filmmakers panel. It has also screened at OCAD for a special preview screening by Artist Health Alliance.

Their painting series “Refuge From Home” has been showcased at the University of Toronto and Toronto City Hall this past October 2019. It is currently being shown at TMAC and virtually (due to the pandemic) as part of the juried art exhibition “Being Scene” by Workman Arts.

Their goal is to keep on creating art and telling stories that challenge the status quo, always with meaning and passion.

Recent work

The painting series “Refuge From Home” is currently being shown at TMAC and virtually (due to the pandemic) as part of the juried art exhibition “Being Scene” by Workman Arts. I am also working on art and films while in Morocco during this unforeseen pandemic. Please check out my website and Instagram for updates! Thank you so much! Gracias de verdad!

Exhibitions

PUBLIC EXHIBITS

  • Being Scene Juried Art Exhibit at Toronto Media Arts Center (TMAC), March 2020
  • Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival, Jackman Hall Cinema, October 2019
  • University of Toronto, Artside Out, October 2019
  • Toronto City Hall, Hispanic Canada Heritage Art Show, October 29 – Nov. 2 2019
  • WOCMES FIlm Festival, University of Seville, Spain, July 2018
  • Dar Souiri Gallery Photography Show, Essaouira, Morocco, July 2018
  • Rad Grad Exhibit, Sketch at Artscape Youngplace, December 2015
  • U for Change Photo and Film Screening, Sept. 2012

Art form
Visual Arts
Painting
Photography
Textiles
Design
Film
Writing

Community
Mad
Neurodiverse
Survivor
Indigenous
POC
LGBTQ2SIA+
Queer
Feminist

Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A black and white photo of a performer dressed as the Ubermarionette wearing a morph suit -which covers all visible skin.They are sitting casually leaning back on a flight of stairs. They are wearing light coloured overalls, a black beret and holding a Super8 video camera to their right eye.
A black and white photo of a performer dressed as the Ubermarionette wearing a morph suit, which covers all visible skin. They are sitting casually leaning back on a flight of stairs. They are wearing light coloured overalls, a black beret and holding a Super8 video camera to their right eye.

Lisa Anita Wegner

Lisa Anita Wegner is a filmmaker, performer, curator, producer and instructor at the haus of dada. She is the creative producer of Mighty Brave Productions, a small award-winning multi-media production company and a founding member of the Akhilanda Collaborative. Her work has been shown at the Phoenix Art Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Mayworks Festival, Nuit Blanche, ReelAsian Film Festival, Long Winter, Workman Arts, Gallery 1313, Toronto Art Fair, Buddies in Bad Times, The Black Cat Artspace and NXNE Festival. Her ventures into large-scale performance installations include the 26-foot “Queen Of The Parade,”; a 10-foot version of The Queen was commissioned by Partners in Art, for ARTrageous In Motion. Lisa is pushing further with live performance performing Anandam’s Body Break at Theatre Passe Murielle, PROCESS at Artscape Youngplace, Buddies in Bad Times and Rendezvous with Madness to name a few. Lisa exhibited writing and a photography in Yoko Ono’s ARISING exhibition at The Phi Centre in Montreal. Lisa is proud to be affiliated with Tangled Art + Disability.

Art form
Visual Arts
Painting
Photography
Installation
Performance Art
Film
Theatre
Curation
Programming

Community
Disabled
Mad
Survivor
Queer
Feminist

Exhibitions

  • Arising: Writing / Photography in group show. Shown at Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain 2018. Curated by Yoko Ono, Montreal, ON
  • Queen Of The Parade: Performance/Film 2013/2014 curated by Patrick Macaulay for Nuit Blanche and for ArtRageous in Motion annual fundraiser for Partners In Art, Toronto ON
  • The Art Game: Performer in live art installation 2011 “The Most Prolific Artist in the World,” Toronto International Art Fair, Toronto ON; Kent Monkman installation 

Organizational Affiliation

  • haus of dada
  • Mighty Brave Productions

Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Headshot of Emily. She has long blonde hair, and is wearing a black blazer and smiling.
Headshot of Emily. She has long blonde hair, and is wearing a black blazer and smiling.

Emily Gillespie

Emily Gillespie is an author, activist and daydreamer. She has an MA in Disability Studies. Dancing with Ghosts (2017) is her first novel. She is currently working on her second book. Her writing appears in several anthologies.

Recent work

I am finishing my second novel, which I received TAC funding for.

Art form
Performance Art
Writing

Community
Disabled
Mad
Neurodiverse
Survivor
LGBTQ2SIA+
Queer
Feminist

Organizational Affiliation
Workman Arts

Location
Hamilton, Ontario

A photo of Gaitrie wearing a blue wig and blue lipstick. She is wearing a metallic bodysuit and signing.
A photo of Gaitrie wearing a blue wig and blue lipstick. She is wearing a metallic bodysuit and signing.

Gaitrie Persaud

Deaf artist, model, actress, Deaf Interpreter, ASL coach and infamous dynamic personality, Gaitrie “Natasha” Persaud, was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Her family lineage hails from Portuguese, Brazilian, Guyanese, and Indian backgrounds. Before becoming a mom to three beautiful children, Gaitrie lived in New York State where she was able to meet Deaf BIPOC artists and was given an opportunity to collaborate on events as a model, artist, and promoter with Def Familia. Currently, Gaitrie is a musical performer for MDL CHLD, LAL and international singers. She is also working on her own Deaf BIPOC television series in American Sign Language (ASL) and the play “The Two Natashas” with Natasha Bacchus. Gaitrie recently performed with her group at Buddies in Bad Times for Pride. She is currently building her empire Phoenix the Fire. Her company is a theatre community hub providing workshops, resources, facilitating partnerships to leverage QTIBPOC Deaf Artists & their endeavours.

Recent work

  • PRIDE Performance
  • Live Streamed The Two Natashas
  • Canadian Improv team Eh! on Facebook livestream

Art form
Visual Arts
Music
Performance Art
Film
Theatre
Dance
Writing
Workshops

Community
Deaf
POC
Queer

A photo of Natasha.
A photo of Natasha. She is standing outside, signing, wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt. Her short hair is dyed red.

Natasha Baccus

I am Natasha Cecily Bacchus. I am an athlete and artist, passionate about mental health, deaf advocacy, fitness and physical expression. Throughout my life, I have nurtured my passion for fitness by competing as a professional athlete and securing medal positions in both the Deaf Olympics and Pan Am Olympics as well as many other competitive sporting events. While running was my first passion and a means of emotional release, I used acting as a mode of physical expression and found theatre and film to be the preferred spaces for me to thrive as an actor. I have participated in a number of theatre and film productions and have a strong desire to continue to grow and develop as an artist in these industries, expanding representation to include differently-abled persons and empowering Black Deaf women in Canada to shine on and off the stage.

Recent work

  • 2019 – Deaf Performer for Deaf Queer First Event under Deaf Spectrum in Toronto
  • 2019 – Pioneer Actress “The Black Drum” SoundPepper Theatre, Toronto, Ontario
  • January 2019 – Deaf Interpretation Theatre for Fringe Festival
  • July 2019 – Deaf Actress for The Black Drum Festival Clin D’Oeil in Reims, France
  • August 2019 – Theatre In&Out “The Good Host” Assembly Deaf Arts Accessibility Discussion
  • September 2019 – MDL ASL music

Art form
Visual Arts
Music
Performance Art
Spoken Word
Theatre
Dance
Writing
Scriptwriting

Community
Deaf
Black
Queer
Feminist

Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A headshot photo of a woman in a red hijab and black shirt with her hands over her face against a white background with lines of alternating black and red text consisting of various labels used to describe mentally ill folks (such as mad, insane, psycho). The labels are also overlaid on the woman’s face, body, hands, and shirt.
A headshot photo of a woman in a red hijab and black shirt with her hands over her face against a white background with lines of alternating black and red text consisting of various labels used to describe mentally ill folks (such as mad, insane, psycho). The labels are also overlaid on the woman’s face, body, hands, and shirt.

Hanan Hazime

Hanan Hazime is a multidisciplinary artist, creative writer, community arts educator, and writing instructor living in Tkaranto/Toronto. She also identifies as a Lebanese-Canadian Muslimah Feminist and Mad Pride Activist. Through her intersectional and interdisciplinary artwork, Hanan aims to push boundaries, question arbitrary binaries, dispel stigmas, and shatter stereotypes. Her primary mission as an arts educator is to provide accessible arts education to marginalized communities with a special focus on crafting safe, empowered spaces for Muslims, individuals with mental health challenges, folks with disabilities, and BIPOC youth to discover and enhance their writing and art skills. When not writing or creating art, Hanan enjoys reading fantasy novels, over-analyzing things, photo-blogging, dancing with faeries in the woods, and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Exhibitions

PAST GROUP EXHIBITIONS:

  • In Red, (mixed media on canvas), Feminist Art Fest 2020
  • Dissociation, (collage on paper), 2019 (mus)interpreted Exhibit
  • I’m Fine II (digital print on fabric), Being Scene 2019 Exhibit 
  • Labels series (3 digital prints on fabric), Bursting Bubbles 2018 Exhibit
  • I Can’t Breathe (mixed media on canvas), Being Scene 2018 Exhibit

Art form
Visual Arts
Painting
Photography
Sound Art
Design
Performance Art
Writing
Digital Art

Community
Disabled
Mad
Neurodiverse
Fat
Survivor
POC
Feminist
Muslim

Location
Tkaronto/Toronto, Ontario, Canada