Join 2022 Biennial artist Syrus Marcus Ware and actors Dainty Smith and Ravyn Wngz for a staged reading of the complete performance of MBL: Freedom (2022), an interactive film experience reflecting on climate change, white supremacy, abolition, and disability justice, currently on view at the Small Arms Inspection Building.
MBL: Freedom presents the newest chapter of Ware’s expansive, interdisciplinary, multi-year project that predicts a near-future taking place between the years 2025 and 2027, wherein Antarctica has become the only habitable place on the planet. In it, three Black, Indigenous, and POC Antarcticans abandon their mission to colonize Antarctica, swimming in icy waters toward the only part of the continent not claimed by a country, “Mary Bird Land,” or MBL. The three set out to create a territory for all activists and abolitionists to be free in, but when they land on the shores of MBL, they make an unexpected discovery that changes their trajectory.
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, 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 Caption: Dainty Smith as Jessica and Ravyn Wngz as Sabian. Syrus Marcus Ware, MBL: Freedom, 2022, Film and mixed medium installation. Cinematography by Mishann Lau. Photo by Roxanne Fernandes. Courtesy of the artist.
Dainty Smith (lives and works in Toronto, Canada) is an actor, burlesque performer, playwright, producer and curator. She believes that genuine human connections can be made through the art of storytelling, and her performances often tell deeply vulnerable stories regarding race, religion, sexuality and challenging social boundaries. She wrote and self-produced Daughters of Lilith, which was part of B Current Theatre’s Playwright Incubation 2021 season and her second play, Blood and Memory, is currently being workshopped and supported by Obsidian Theatre. Her diverse array of stage performances includes Mayworks Festival, Rock. Paper. Sistahz for B Current Theatre, Caminos Festival for Aluna Theatre, The Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and the Luminato Arts Festival. She is the founder of Les Femme Fatales: Women of Colour burlesque troupe, the first burlesque troupe for women and femmes of colour in Canada.
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.
Ravyn Wngz (Mohawk, lives and works in Toronto) “The Black Widow of Burlesque” is a Tanzanian, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, Queer and Transcendent empowerment storyteller. Ravyn is an abolitionist and co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company. She is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Canada, A co-founder of the Wildseed Centre for Arts & Activism, A Canadian Best Selling Author, Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada recipient of 2021, Ravyn is committed to eradicating all forms of anti-Black racism, settler colonialism systems of oppression while nurturing Black and Indigenous healing in communities