Posts Tagged ‘women’

Written in big bold letters – STRONG SMART UNITED

Those three words are what you see first as you walk down Lansdowne just north of Queen Street.  This striking wall is the beginning of a group of murals and street art paintings that now adorn some of the walls and doors in an alley on the north side of Queen Street West.   The paintings were done last weekend by a group of women artists.   The walls had been primed previously by four high school students (and organized by the Toronto Police Services).

mural with the words strong smart united written in rainbow colours, big block capital letters

below: Shapes and colours by controlartdelete (aka Rachel Wilmshurst)

abstract shapes, circles, rectangles, by controlartdelete

below: Emily May Roses’s women

mural by emily may rose of various women's faces, in black and white and pink, long black hair, pink head scarf, pink dress, short hair,

below: Abstract houses and greenery by Jieun June Kim

blocks in a mural look like abstract houses and circles for trees, by Jieun June Kim

below: Two kneeling women and a long necked bird with wings spread by Caitlin Taguibao

mural on a garage door in orange, black, white and green of a bird with wings spread, standing on flowers, with a woman kneeling behind each wing

below: Monica on the Moon, “Over the mountains under the stars”

a monica on the moon mural with a woman getting on a motorcycle in grey tones except for the helmet which is red. the words Over the Mountains and under the stars are written over the motorcycle

below: A colourful mural by _muisca_ (aka Daniela Rocha)

Spanish or South American themed woman with large sun shaped headdress and colourful dress by muisca

below: Unfortunately, this one has already been defaced, including the signature.

mural in an alley laneway

corner of a building in a lane showing the street art on two sides

below: Desert woman theme, by mska

a blue car is parked in front of a mural of a face with desert symbolism, a large cactus is in the mural beside the face

below: Geometric shapes, colours, and patterns, by hellokirsten (aka Kirsten McCrea)

mural by hello kirsten, shapes and geometry,

below: Left – by originalsmilez (aka Julieta Arias).
But on the right, help! I don’t know (do you?)

2 square street art paintings on an alley fence, one is a woman with a wand-like object in her hand and the other is swirls of colours

below: Looks a bit like a brightly coloured Picasso – the work of huntoland (aka Renato Hunto)

picasso like painting of round people in pieces, in bright colours, mural in a lane

below: My apologies but this another one where I don’t know who the artist is

mural on a wall in Toronto alley, part of #womenpaintTO

below:  … and this one as well I’m afraid

stylized throw up type graffiti

below: A elicser figure outside the door.  Elicser is definitely male – was this mural already here?

elicser street art piece in a lane, a face with another face with multiple eyes that might be part of the first's head or might be separate

below: Shades of pink with blue lips, by toest (aka Sarah Gilmore).

a smal street art painting by toes of a pink flower and a woman's head, long dark hair with streaks of pink, blue lips, and eyes closed

below: On a seriously cracked wall there is now a pink flower inside a green triangle surounded by a circle,  by CVBinns (aka Courtney Binns)

pink flower in a green triangle surrounded by a circle, street art

below: Long flowing hair and with eyes closed, a mural by carolannapilado

mural, black background with faces with eyes closed and flowing stylized hair

below: A collaborative effort between auralast (aka Monique Aura) and chiefladybird (aka Ogimaa Kwe Bnes) – mother and child with the city beyond.

mother sitting holding child (baby) in First Nation like theme, black city skyline in the background, by auralast and chiefladybird , yellow background with flowers

below: Also in the lane there are two urban ninja squadron paste ups by Tbonez

a tbonez urban ninja squadron pasteup of the ninja in the jaws of a shark, another paste up of a dog (cat?) is looking at the ninja

a tbonez urban ninja squadron pasteup - standing with hand up and fingers crossed, has a shadow

below: Looking east along the alley. The first road is Macdonell Avenue.  Lansdowne is in the distance.

a woman walking her dog in an alley, another woman walking away from the camera

This project was supported by the StreetARToronto program, Toronto Police Services and the Drake Hotel.  I talked briefly with a policewoman who was in the alley at the same time that I was – there is hope that the lane to the east of Lansdowne can be painted in the future.

Before then, a second all women street art jam and mural will be happening in Little India (1460 Gerrard Street East) at the end of August.   The street art jam will be on the weekend of August 26th and 27th and will showcase the Woman in the Walls mural being painted at that time.

#womenpaintTO

a man walks away from the camera as he walks down an alley that has graffit and street art on the garages and buildings

Sometimes graffiti and street art have a short life span.  Many taggers don’t care about what they are tagging over.  Street art can also be “interactive” in that stickers and paste ups can get “added” to a piece.   Anyone with a marker can have their say.  On the bright side, new murals get painted and new paste -ups appear.  And that is why I go back to the my favorite alleys every once in a while.  This morning I walked the Milky Way again.

two stickers on a pole in an alley. one is a pink and purple striped tail of an animal disappearing down a hole. the other is a white face with angry expression and cigarette in mouth

below: The Parkdale mural by Race Williams is still looking good.

mural in magenta and turquoise that says greetings from parkdale, large magenta streetcar in the mural by Race Williams

below: The naked women are a bit more modestly dressed than they once were .

street art mural of three naked women. Someone has painted white over the private parts

The most noticeable change is the fact that many pieces are now at least partially covered by greenery – small shrubs and tall weeds have proliferated and are looking quite healthy.

below: This lion is looking more and more like the king of the jungle even as the words faded and peel.

tall weeds and small shrubs grow in front of a painting of a lion (from the Lion King) painted on an unused doorway in an alley

below: The small aliens at the top of the building are now in the shade of a fast growing tree.

small aliens painted along the top of a building are now partially covered by the branches and leaves of a small tree

below: And the larger aliens on the fence really need a hair cut now.

space alien mural painted on a corrugated metal fence are now partially covered with vines from the top and weeds from the bottom.

below: A large pink peony (at least that’s what it looks like)

street art painting of a large pink peony

below: The fence around the garden.

wooden fence around a backyard that has been painted with garden scenes, cabbages, flowers, sun, and a donkey

a line of black and green rubbish garbage bins along a wall that has street art on it, picture of a boy with a spray paint can in his hand along with some text , stairs leading up to the upper level of the building as well

text graffiti on two buildings in an alley

Previous Milky Way posts
Back to the Milky Way – Sept 2015
Walking the Milky Way – Oct 2014

metal gate that has rusted. large numeral 47 on it as well as some graffiti scrawls

The usual cast of characters, plus or minus a few.

Floats, marchers, and crowds.
Flags, banners, and signs.
Flamboyance, body paint, and tutus.
Unicorns, fruit, and super soakers.

a group of boys and young men at the start of the pride parade

a woman in a white t shirt with rainbow on the front, and a straw hat is passing out rainbow flags to the crowd. others in the parade behind her are doing the same, others are waving the flags.

two men in black t shirts, one has t shirt that says love is (repeated five times) and is waving a small rainbow flag. THe other man is holding a sign up over his head with a picture of a crowd on it as well as some words (many words) that say At the local level, Get REAL is made up of university campus teams across Canada helping high school students unlearn LGBT discrimination and bullying

two men with a lot of bodypaint of rainbows and flowers as well some sparkly bits

men holding super soakers on top of a pride parade float

a police men watches an intersection of streets as the parade passes, he justs fits under the wing of a large inflatable westjet plane

two men in fruit costumes as well as large oversized glasses

a black man wearing just green tight shorts and green sunglasses is standing on the TD float, a woman is in the background (she is looking after the music).

a young man holds an orange sign .. on the sign is a picture of a raccoon holding a rainbow flag with the words happy pride 2017

bud light float at pride, picture of 4 large cans - a blue, green, red, and yellow can with a person in front of each in a tight body suit the same colour as the can. crowd in front of the float.

three women walking in the pride parade with a turquoise, blue and pink banner, and unicorn horns on their head, stop to talk to a young girl who also has a unicorn horn on her head

lots of people with arms up in the air waving small rainbow flags

crowd watching the pride parade on Bloor Street

a man waiting for the pride parade to start holding a sign that says yup I am a gay. Person inlong frilly pink gown and massive pink feather head dress, posing for pictures

a young Asian man, photographer, smiles as he gets ready to take pictures of mostly nude man with long leather gloves on

the back of a decorated t-shirt, glitter lips with tongue stuck out.

pflag member in purple, holding up a placard that say being LGBTQ2S is not abnormal or unnatural but turning against your own child is s

woemn smiling for the camera, dressed up in colourful clothes and holding rainbow flags.

man with bushy beard, a black cap and a top made out of yellow police caution tape

two women walk together holding hands. one has a white shirt that says gay as fuck in pink letters and the other is wearing a sleeveless body suit in rainbow stripes

a young black girl is sitting on her father's shoulders. She is holding a pink sign with purple hand written letters that say vote against hate

up on the TD float in the pride parade, a person is a long wavy yellow wig and wearing a striped top and short green shiny skirt, is blowing kisses to the crowd.

two young kids, a boy and a girl, are standing within a white cut out square (instagram thing) that says alll aboard on the bottom

a girl holds up a sign from the East Enders Everyone belongs, that has the expression everyone belongs, written in an indigenous language as well as arabic and chinese (or other Asian language)

the bums and hands of a few men wearing red swim suits with the words trigger fish on them

two kids stand behind metal barricades while waiting for the parade to begin

an older man is standing on the sidewalk, wearing a police cap and a patchwork vest in rainbow colours with all kinds of different fabrics, busy, bright,

a woman wearing a t shirt that says free hugs is carrying a pink sign that says you do you

a person in a blond wig and magenta shiny top and matching hat, an Asian woman is having her picture taken as well.

a woman wearing blue rimmed sunglasses and rainbow paper flowers in her hair is looking directly at the camera and shouting. She has a t shirt on that says Positive Space toroto

a man naked except for a pink fuzzy vest and a pink cowboy hat is standing on the sidewalk. There is a string tied around his penis. A man is pushing an empty wheelchair in the background

Identity.  What springs to mind when you hear the word identity?  And how does that relate to art?

Let’s now take those general questions and narrow it down to the work of three artists, or photographers to be more precise: Suzy Lake, Lori Blondeau, and Shelley Niro.  I haven’t chosen those women randomly; I’m writing about them because their work is on view if you go to the Ryerson Image Centre.  Suzy Lake’s photos are on display in the main gallery inside while Lori Blondeau and Shelley Niro’s are showing outside.  The latter two were installed as part of the CONTACT Photography Festival.

below:  Three large images of the Lori Blondeau draped in red while standing on a rock adorn three of the large boulders in Devonian Square.   They are part of her “Asiniy Iskwew” work.  The title is Cree and translates to “Rock Woman”.    In this work, the rocks on which she stands refer back to Mistaseni which was a large sacred boulder that once marked a gathering place.   The Saskatchewan government dynamited it in the 1960’s to make room for a man made lake.

photograph or painting of a woman in red standing on a rock, directly onto the surface of a large rock in a shallow pool of water outside Ryerson Image Center, three large black and white photographs of people's heads are above and behind the artwork

The words on the wall say that Blondeau questions (“interrogates”) how the definitions of Indigenous identity are influenced by popular media and culture, not just in this exhibit but in the rest of her art as well.   Her point here is that pictures of strong woman run counter to how popular culture portrays Indigenous women.

photograph or painting of a woman in red standing on a rock, directly onto the surface of a large rock in a shallow pool of water

My questions – What and/or who shapes your identity?  That question can mean “Your” as in you the individual and it can mean “Your” as in some collective group that you belong to.     How does identity evolve?  Can it be changed?

How does history affect your identity?  As one who has done a lot of genealogy research I understand the importance of history to some people.  I have traced my Canadian ancestors – I know where they’re buried and I know where they lived.   For me that is a comfort.  But I also know that if you want to kill a conversation just bring up the subject of genealogy.  Not everyone is interested.

Back to photography and history –

A second indigenous woman artist is Shelley Niro whose work is titled “Battlefield of my Ancestors”.  It consists of 6 photographs that were taken in upstate New York and in southwestern Ontario.  The pictures are in the garden with the statue of Egerton Ryerson (1803 – 1880), the man who Ryerson University is named after.   He was many things including a Methodist minister, a founder of Victoria College (part of the University of Toronto), a Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada, and the person who wrote a report/study on Native education (1847) that became the model for the residential schools thirty years later.

below: Ryerson standing in the greenery with a picture on either side of him.  On the left is a picture of a plaque in New York state that says: “Site of Indian village Gar-Non-De-Yo destroyed during Sullivan campaign Sept 21, 1779”.  On the right is a black and white picture of the Mohawk River in New York state.

statue of Egerton Ryerson in a small garden with shrubs and small trees. Two large photographs also in the picture, one on each side of the statue

below:  Photo taken of a rock at Cayuga Lake.

photo of a small plaque on a rock exhibited amongst shrubs and greenery outside

The plaque says:
Site of “A very pretty Indian town of ten houses” burned September 21, 1779. See page 76 “Journals of the military expedition of Major General John Sullivan” published by the state

Back a few lines I called Niro an “indigenous woman artist”.   I don’t know if she’d be comfortable with that.  Maybe yes, maybe no.   I used those words because they help to understand her work in the context of this blog.   Should I then use the description “white woman artist” to talk about the third person, Suzy Lake?

Lake’s photography career began in the 1970’s and for the first two decades was primarily concerned with female identity.  In almost all her photos, she is the subject.  The 1970’s were the days of  Women’s Lib and the rise of “Feminism” – the quest for political reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, and equal pay.  It was also a time of increased questioning of cultural norms with regard to women’s roles.  In many ways it resembled the increase of awareness of indigenous identity, rights, and problems that we see today.

large black and white photograph in a gallery, two men on top of a large frame are controlling the movements of a human puppet

 large photo in a gallery of a women dressed just in a long slip, sweeping up debris from the floor. Debris is bits and chunks of plaster that have been removed from the wall

below: Her most recent work involves pictures of her standing in an environment of some sort.  The photo is a one hour exposure and the end result is an image where only she and inanimate objects are present and in focus.  Here is “Extended Breathing in the Rivera Frescos” 2013-2014.   The painting behind her is one in a series by Mexican artist Diego Rivera at the Detroit Institute of the Arts.

three suzy lake photos, one of her in front of a mural and two are close ups of her face

colour photo of close up of a woman's face, just mouth, bottom part of nose and some cheek. She is wearing bright red lipstick

women in pink tutus running in a half marathon

Run Like a Diva,
5 km run and a half marathon in the Port Lands.

below: Pink tutus were given to all those who registered to participate in the event.

two divas in their pink tutus near the start of the RunLike a Diva event on Cherry st in the Port Lands

1700 people ran the 5K event and almost as many (I think) ran the half marathon.

a group of women running on Cherry St in the Port Lands as part of the Run Like a Diva 5k run.

The original plan was to hold this event on the Toronto Islands but with this spring’s flooding, the run was moved to the mainland.   It was a charity event in support of Rethink Breast Cancer.

two women running together in the Run Like a Diva half marathon run, both are wearing pink tutus, they are connected with a piece of rubber that they are each holding on to. on the right is Diva Chelsea, bib number 1100.

two women wearing pink tutus in the Run Like a Diva half marathon . one of them is the Greatest Diva, bib number 1110

a groupd of women in the Run Like a Diva event, bib number 2794 in pigtails and bib number 2413 running beside her.

a black woman in sunglasses, head band, and pink tutu runs. Bib saya I am a Diva, and bib number 936

pink tshirts an dpink tutus, Run Like a Diva, runners running down Unwin street

a young woman, a spectator at a 5km run, holds a sign that says If Trump can run, so can you

below: It was great to see a few men joining the fun, complete with their pink outfits.

a man is dressed in pink for the Run Like a Diva event, pink wide brimmed hat, pink t-shirt and pink tights as well as pink tutu. Bright blue shoes.

a father and daughter, both in pink tutus run in a 5k race, Run Like a Diva, other runners in the background

two women smiling as they run in the Run Like a Diva half marathon. on the left is Diva Debbie, bib 808 and on the right is bib number 1266, Diva Sandy

running towards the finish line in a 5k and half marathon event

a couple, male and female, holding hands, both wearing pink tshirts and tutus as they participate in a 5 km run

below: Near the end of the event, participants were given pink boas and shiny tiaras to wear with their tutus.

two volunteers in bright yellow t-shirts hand out pink boas to race particpants as they come close to the finish line

divas in their pink, tutus, boas and tiaras

a young woman in a pink T-shirt, runner 3127, Eldiva, puts on her tiara and pink boa as she nears the end of the Run Like a Diva

a group of women running in the Run Like a Diva run, all in pink tutus and many in pink t-shirts, laughing and cheering as they come close to the finish line in their pink boas and tiaras

below: Coming to the end!

a group of runners comes to the end of a half marathon, a group of people are behind a fence watching them and encouraging them.

young man is picking up orange traffic cones and putting them into the back of a truck

#runlikeadiva | #divastoronto

This morning’s blog post is a mixed up mashed up collection of some of the pictures that I have taken in the past few days. The theme running through the post is “sunny days and people making the most of it.”  It seems like an appropriate subject for a grey morning!

below: #duckman, one of the many ‘performers’ outside the Eaton Centre on Yonge Street.

a young Japanese man is dressed in a yellow body suit, seated on a stool on the sidewalk on Yonge Street, he is playing the drums - actually 5 empty plastic upside down buckets, with #duckman written on the buckets

below: The beginnings of a new mural on Queen Street West.

motorcycle in the foreground, a man painting a white outline of a rose as part of a mural on the side of Canada Convenience store on Queen West, a few people watching him paint

below: This weekend was the annual Riverdale ArtWalk at Jimmie Simpson Park and Community Center.

a man stands holding up a painting (bottom of painting is resting on the ground), more painting displayed on the wall behind him, at the outdoor Riverdale Artwalk art show and sale

below: Dancing to the drums of Venice and Kevin who are playing as past of an event to raise money to fight sickle cell disease.

a young woman dancers at the bottom of the stage steps at nathan phillips,  two people are beating drums on the satge

below: Four singers – they’ve just finished performing on the stage at Yonge Dundas Square as part of the DesiFEST celebrations.

four female singers are smiling, they've just finished a song, performing at Yonge Dundas square as part of Desifest, all 4 are of South Asian descent

below: A sign of the times.

a blackboard sign on the sidewalk in front of Brioche restaurant that says we serve Covfefe. People walking on the sidewalk,

below: It wasn’t just the people who were dressed for summer.

two little white dogs on a leach, both have pink and white frilly dresses on.

below: Gardening season has begun!  The vacant lot beside Nick Sweetman’s mural has been turned into a Garden Centre.

garden plants for sale, outdoors, in front of a large mural, bees, by Nick, on Queen st east

a front yard with gardening supplies, and pots of plants on the front steps

below: With their backs to the windows … but it looks like they’re dressed for summer

two mannequins with their backs to two windows, both dressed in red clothes

people riding down the escalator at the Eaton Centre, a large screen is playing a slideshow of summer pictures as part of an advertising campaign.

a mother helps her young daughter reach down and touch the water in the fountain at Nathan Phillips square

‘Making Peace’ is a traveling exhibit that is being shown in Toronto at the moment.  It was produced by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and was first shown in in 2010 as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to IPB.  It’s purpose is to promote peace as well as educate and inform.

It can be seen until the end of June on Front Street East in the Canary District (by Corktown Commons, east of the Distillery District).    In Toronto, the exhibit involves short four-sided pillars that line the sidewalk and each side of every pillar has a photo with a description or a quote from a famous person.  There is also a temporary gallery in an indoor space ‘loaned’ to the exhibit by one of the developers in the Canary District.

below: A painting in progress by Ford Medina showing Nelson Mandela in five colours.  These colours carry over into the outdoor exhibit and each colour represents the five main elements that IPB considers necessary for peace:
1. disarmament and nonviolence (purple)
2. conflict prevention and resolution (red)
3. economic and social justice (orange)
4. human rights, law and democracy (blue)
5. environment and sustainable development (green)

indoor temporary gallery for the Making Peace exhibit, a painter is in the midst of creating a large painting of five copies of a picture of Nelson Mandela, each copy is in a different colour, purple, red, orange, blue and green,

below: The display extends into Corktown Commons.  Here the pillars are green as this is the section for the fifth element named above, the environment.

outdoor exhibit, Corktown Commons, short pillars with 4 sides, each side has a picture and a description, the background colour is green which represents the environment and sustainability.

below:  Photo by Ribeiro Antonio.  The words that accompany this photo are: ” On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN agreed to an historic plan of action, entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.  This plan contains 17 goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues.  These include ending poverty and hunger, improving health education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.”  If you are interested in this, there is more information on the UN website.

a photo of a person dressed in a large blue and green Planet Earth costume, holding the hand of a young boy as the walk on a beach towards the water

below: Blue is for human rights, law, and democracy and here you have an old black and white photograph of Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960), a British campaigner, apparently taken when she was in Australia speaking out on behalf of woman’s rights as part of the Suffragette movement.  The Suffragettes (or Women’s Social and Political Union or WSPU) was founded by a small group of women in 1903, including Sylvia, but during WW1 Sylvia was expelled from the WSPU because of her pacifist views and anti-war actions.  Her sister Adela shared similar views – she immigrated to Australia where campaigned against the First World War.

a vintage black and white photo that is part of an exhibit, outdoors, called Making Peace

below: Two photos.  The one on the right, of the woman holding the flower in front of the armed soldiers, was taken at a Peace March against the Vietnam War in Washington DC in 1967.  The photo on the left was taken in 2001 and is the back of a Kamajor fighter in Sierra Leone.  They played a role in the civil war that occurred in that country between 1991 and 2002.

2 sides, taken from the corner, of a box like structure, with black and white photographs on the two sides, one of the back of a man with a rifle across his shoulders and a backpack that says Lets go to school. The other photo is a woman standing up to a line of soldiers with bayonets.

below: A couple of the red pillars on Front Street with the blue sculpture, “The Water Guardians ” behind them.   The images on the closest pillar are of inside the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem as well as UN peacekeepers in Bosnia.

an outdoor art exhibit on peace, two of the structures used for mounting pictures on, with the blue sculpture on Front Street, Canaray District, in between the two boxes.

below: Closer to home, this pillar celebrates the work of the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation.   Working with the city as well as with community groups, businesses, and individuals, they help to increase  Toronto’s tree cover.

a set of four photos about planting trees on the side of a square pillar, one of many pillars that are arranged in a line on the sidewalk.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”  Gandhi

below: Homeless migrant worker, China

picture of a woman sleeping underneath a picture of a woman lying on a bed, shown outdoors so there are some tree leaves in the picture

The exhibit continues until mid-September.