Set in 2040, this afternoon performance – conceived by 2022 Biennial artist Syrus Marcus Ware and featuring performers Aeshna Ware-Huff, Janice Lee, Jaz Fairy J, Troy Jackson, and LAL – takes place in the future community of MBL Freedom and offers a mind-expanding performance exploring disability justice, queer and crip magic.
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.
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Image credit: Syrus Marcus Ware with Aeshna Ware-Huff, Janice Lee, Jaz Fairy J, Troy Jackson, and LAL, The Cafe at the end of the future: A crip performance extravaganza, May 7, 2022. Program held at Small Arms Inspection Building as part of Toronto Biennial of Art 2022. Photography: Kesang Nanglu.
Aeshna Ware-Huff (she/they) is a high school student and soon-to-be Senior at Princeton High School. She has been doing music since three-years-old and writes her own songs. They are also in the SOR (School of Rock) Program where they do thematic concerts. She has performed at these concerts as the lead singer and helps out with the young kids. Aeshna has also done additional performances including musicals, performances at bars, and for fundraisers and different organizations. They are thinking of minoring in music when they get to University. She hopes you enjoy the performances.
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.
Janice Jo Lee (born in Tkaronto, Canada) aka Sing Hey, is a contemporary folk artist of Korean settler ancestry. Lee is a folk-soul singer-songwriter, spoken word poet, actor, bouffon, playwright, and educator. They are an award-winning performer who creates looping landscapes with their voice, guitar, trumpet and Korean jangu drum. Lee is a hard femme queer radical. They speak their truth and get in trouble for it often, on stage and off. Lee is interested in using art to build flourishing communities based in justice and joy. Their work explores gender justice, antiracism, friendship, burnout, community, ancestry and the Earth.
Lee was born in Tkaronto and formed their early artist career living and organizing in Kitchener-Waterloo on Haldimand Tract Treaty Territory. They were the founding artistic director of KW Poetry Slam in 2011 and has organized with LSPIRG, WPIRG, and Rainbow Reels. Janice has released two music albums Sing Hey (2016), Drown the Earth (2013) and is working on their upcoming album Ancestor Song.
Rosina Kazi and Nicholas Murray are LAL, the Toronto-based protest electronic duo that has built a career out of daring audiences to be their best selves, loudly. Coming from the worlds of hip hop, punk, and experimental music, LAL blends those influences into the smoothest, richest shake that will enliven the mind, body, and soul. Their beats and melodies can charm the most cynical club head, softening them up so that the lyrics of anger, sadness, and possibility can worm their way deep inside.
Troy Jackson is an Afro-Nova Scotian, Gay, Muslim, Father, Son, Husband, Twin, Brother, Performer, Singer, Writer and Artivist. Jackson’s work utilizes pop music, film, and the written word to express themes of Queer and Black liberation. Among other notable showings, his work has shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Inside Out Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival.