In this 201 workshop, 2022 Biennial artist Syrus Marcus Ware, along with academic Giselle Dias and activist and writer Sandy Hudson, offer insights into building abolitionist communities rooted in social justice and care and future planning. With light touches into systems theory and systems change, this workshop offers practice insights for how to work to build our own MBL Freedom—free communities that have divested from carceral strategies.
On the first Saturday of each month during the Toronto Biennial of Art, Ware and fellow artists, activists and organizers gather for a hybrid series of workshops and performances that invite participants to consider the future, the stakes at present, and our collective freedoms. Drawing on prevalent concepts explored within Ware’s MBL: Freedom (on view at the Small Arms Inspection Building), participants will be led through a series of critical thinking exercises and activities that will aim to explore abolition, crip and disability justice and futures, climate change, and building futures together where we take care of each other.
Image credit: Syrus Marcus Ware with Giselle Dias and Sandy Hudson, Abolition is Love: How to Live Abolition in Everyday Life, April 2, 2022. Program held at Small Arms Inspection Building as part of Toronto Biennial of Art 2022. Photography: Roxanne Fernandes.
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Dr. Syrus Marcus Ware (born in 1977, Montreal, Canada; lives in Toronto, Canada) is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and Black activist culture. He has shown in galleries and festivals across Canada. Syrus is part of the Performance Disability Art Collective and a core team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. His ongoing curatorial work includes That’s So Gay (2016–21) and BlacknessYes!/Blockorama. Syrus is the co-editor of Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada (University of Regina Press, 2020).
Participated in the “Rabbit Hole: Pod Theory” Residency, 2020.
Giselle Dias (Métis) is a queer, disabled community organizer, writer and educator. She has been engaged in prisoners’ rights, penal abolition and transformative justice for the past 28 years. Her ancestors are from the Red River, Ireland, India and the Seychelle Islands. Her Spirit name is Niigaanii Zhaawshko Giizhigokwe (Leading Blue Sky Woman). Dias is currently doing a PhD in Social Work in the Indigenous Field of Study at Laurier University. Her research is focused on understanding Indigenous & Afro-Indigenous queer, Two-Spirit, Indigiqueer visions of abolition from a Land-based lens. She is the Program Coordinator & facilitator at the Centre for Indigegogy which offers Indigenous Wholistic Professional Development.