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Public Art Projects

Queering Place Earth Art – Medicines on the Move

Queering Place Earth Art - Medicines on the Move

What does it mean to Queer place?

2SQTBIPOC Artist-Stewards have created a city-wide earth-art installation around queer community-engagement with place, plants and medicines, centering queer perspectives guided by Indigenous teachings of these territories – Anishinaabek lands stewarded for millenia to this day, by the Wendat, the Seneca, the Haudenosaune, the Petun, and the Mississauga of the Credit River, among many other First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples who call T’karonto home. 

Artists-Stewards in Residence planted, migrated and tended an earth art installation that began in the early winter in 2021 to nurture gathering spaces for 2S, Queer and Trans young people and to prompt deep inQueery into what it means to queer place.

Preparing the gardens for migration in the spring. Photography by Jahmal Nugent.

CENTRE – Medicine Wheel Garden 

Fort York Garrison Common, 

100 Garrison Road off Fleet Street (access via Fort York Blvd and The Bentway)

(west end of the Garrison Common near Strachan)

This garden formed a central meeting place at Garrison Common from which planter installations created in 2021 were care-fully migrated and reassembled in new configurations in the four directions of the medicine wheel (Anishinaabek teachings shared by TwoSpirit Métis Creative Lead, Naty Tremblay).

Medicine Wheel Garden as part of Forcefield installation curated by Logan MacDonald, planted and tended by Queering Place Artists 2021. 

Artist-Steward: milen 

@milennotmilan

milen is an eritrean from scarborough who is passionately curious about friendship and historical memory. these days, they can be found conspiring with others to build creative ways to strengthen the collective power of working people through story sharing and recreational play.

milen is an eritrean from scarborough who is passionately curious about friendship and historical memory. these days, they can be found conspiring with others to build creative ways to strengthen the collective power of working people through story sharing and recreational play.

EAST – Children’s Peace Theatre 

322 Dawes Road, East of Main st. North of Danforth

(access via Bus 23 Dawes Road from TTC Main Street Station)

The first stop was in the direction of the rising sun, where with childlike energy, the group of artist-stewards wore yellow and playfully rolled tires into place to plant …..

Artist-Steward: Deon Mars 

@the.viewfrommars

Born in the Caribbean, Deon Mars migrated to Toronto in the year 2000. She has always been a creative individual and started her journey in art administration, retail styling and visual merchandising before finding photography – her true calling. 

She has focused on being a freelance photographer for the past several years, beginning as a photographer’s assistant where she developed most of her experience. Deon has also displayed other forms of visuals for Toronto Pride where she showcased poetry about love, queerness and Blackness on canvas art. Her aim is to explore and merge different art forms once again. 

As a Black, queer person, her photography includes editorial and portrait shots that elevate the individuality and uniqueness of other LGBTQ+ folks and mainly Black people. Deon’s overall goal is to always serve her communities and she would love to open her own studio/gallery one day. 

SOUTH – Artscape Gibraltor Point 

Toronto Island (access by City Ferry or water taxi)

The South migration meant loading planters onto a water taxi at Toronto’s harbourfront. After a sweet boatride across to Toronto Islands tire planters were assembled to join the gardens and lead the planting of new ones at the artists’ centre. The south direction colour is red, mid day sun, and represents young adulthood, risk, and a bit of rebellion in placemaking….

Photography by Jahmal Nugent

 

Artist-Steward: Jah Grey

@jahgrey

Jah Grey is an award-winning, internationally exhibiting self-taught photographic artist primarily focused on portraiture, who began his career researching and studying concepts of black masculinity in 2014. His photographs are an ongoing study that’s focused on the relationship between the black masculine body and vulnerability, and explores the disconnect between the concepts of vulnerability and masculinity, showcasing the struggle between the idealized norm vs. the desired embodiment through a trans lens. His work is inspired by shared experiences of vulnerability and aim’s towards supporting positive notions of black masculinity. 

His photographs have been shown across North America – including but not limited to; the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Burlington, the Ford Foundation Gallery in New York City, in Los Angeles at the LAMBDA LITFEST, and the National Day of Healing hosted by Ava Duvernay at her ARRAY HQ. 

Jah Grey is also the founder and director of the Black Men’s Therapy Fund, a Canadian fund that’s focus is removing barriers of entry to mental health/wellness tools, and the stigmas around Black men seeking mental health supports.

WEST – Resistering Garden 

Seneca Park (aka Etienne Brule Park) 

10 St. Catherine Street (north of Bloor St. West)

(access via Old Mill Station)

This garden engaged artists to bring plants up the Kobechenonk (aka Humber River) in a land back installation with the Resistering collective led by Joce Tremblay.

Artist-Stewards:

Zephyr McKenna 

Zephyr McKenna is a Two Spirit multidisciplinary artist living in Tkaronto, with relatives

from Munsee Delaware First Nation, Alderville First Nation, and Ireland. Through a variety of mediums including animation, illustration, beadwork, and drag, Zephyr explores cultural revitalization, Indigenous language reclamation, and what it means to be a two spirit urban Anishinaabe and Lunaápe person. Zephyr aims to create art that sparks conversation and collaboration between indigiqueers and indiginerds across Turtle Island and beyond.

Artist-Stewards:

Rose Morrisette

Rose Morrissette is an earthworker and land steward who has worked with Greenest City and the 2Spirit Garden in High Park. Rose is deeply committed to supporting the Resistering Garden among other land-back initiatives.

NORTH – Maloca Garden, York University 

4700 Keele Street Campus (Garden at Pond Road)

(York University subway stop and walk west to past the HNES building)

This garden is hosted by the Faculty of Environment and Urban Change in the Maloca Gardens. Artist travelled with planter tires by subway and paraded across the campus to the North-West corner and configured the installation in a central spot amidst community gardens and the protection of Motherwort.

Artist Steward: Elias Main

Elias Main has been active in earthwork in North Toronto for these last few years particularly with Black Creek Community Farm. 

Weave and Mend Garden – Center Auntie Garden at SKETCH, downtown west 

The plant migrations complete with additions made to the Weave and Mend Garden at SKETCH at Artscape Youngplace. This garden inspired the Queering Place Project in its unique placemaking by Indigenous 2S fem and nonbinary artists in 2018. Read more about that project here.

STORY

What does “queering space” look like? Is it a mark, a gesture, a flag, a story, a feeling? What characteristics of place bring queer people together? Though Queer communities often lack access & resources to regularly inhabit natural places they have a long history of doing so, somewhere between the public and private. What are the characteristics of queer plants? Where & how does queerness show up in biodiverse ecosystems? 

Artists of 2021 contemplated these questions while they beautified repurposed tires with native pollinator plants and accompanying sound-stories that moved like a river (ode to water) that travelled south-west to north-east past wind chimes (ode to wind), in the Burgundy maple grove in the Garrison Common. 

The medicine wheel centre garden of the installation was first envisioned in collaboration with the Force Field Indigiqueer art installation curated by Logan MacDonald that featured artworks by Dayna Danger (Métis/Saulteaux/Polish), Ange Loft (Kahnawake Mohawk), Peter Morin (Talhtan Nation), and Fallon Simard (Anishinaabe-Métis). Through a series of curved panoramic billboards arranged in a circular formation, the installation draws inspiration from a medicine wheel, as each artist responds to one of the four directions and their associated natural elements. Ange Loft, Fagan for the 2021 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. Queering Place Artists in Residence of 2021 planted and nurtured that garden in which sweet bunnies were born under the cover of sweetgrass!  

We began by planting the medicine wheel with many plants traditionally used in woodland medicine wheel garden landmarks to connote the four directions – including tobacco, goldenrod, aster in the east, cedar, bearberry & bee-balm in the south, sage, strawberry & liatris in the west, sweetgrass, boneset, hops & milkweed in the north. We included sunflowers in the center along with ribbon flags for dynamic sight lines signaling to 2S folks & wilds to come, gather here. 

“Working in Queering Place has been an amazing way to connect with land and community. The experience has really highlighted all the ways that these relationships are intertwined. To me the project is best summed up as a constant unfurling. I think Queering Place lives both in the roots of the plants that make and have made their home there, and also in the spaces left between ever-present unanswered questions.”

            – Zephyr McKenna, Artist-Steward in Residence

QUEER PLANT KIN-SHIPS

We invited plants that were broadly “queer”; native, pollinators, medicines, seductive, vibrant, generous plants, as well as non-native plants that share space well & contribute meaningfully to a dynamic ecosystem. Most plants integrated into the Queering Place installation came through queer kinships. We invited plant contributions within our existing 2SQT networks along with stories – where they came from, lineages, human-plant relationships, and how they held space in queer homes. Contributors were generous with plants, stories, seeds & links to new growers! Plants came from Queer growers all across the GTA, from X University rooftop garden, Crawford Lake first nation, Black Creek Farms, a hamilton queer land project, Naty’s family farm near Windsor & gifted from Richters & Fiesta farms. We always received plants in ceremony.

2022 Artists & Creative Team

Zephyr McKenna

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Zephyr McKenna

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
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I’m an urban Anishinaabe and Lunaape Two-Spirit person with relatives from Alderville and Munsee Delaware First Nations, as well as Irish, Scottish, and English ancestry. Illustration and animation are the mediums I feel most at home with, but I’m very much a multidisciplinary artist, and love finding connections between varying and unconventional mediums.

I’m currently studying 3D modelling and animation in George Brown College’s Game Art program, building skills to create games and other digital media that focus on language revitalization, celebrating two spirit stories, and imagining Indigenous futures.

2022 Mentor and Medicine Wheel Garden support

Em Dial

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Em Dial

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
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Em Dial (she/they) is a queer, non-binary, multiracial, chronically ill grower, poet, and educator, who was born and raised on Ohlone lands, in what is currently known as the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Their work plays against the idea of the (un)natural, with words and seeds rooted in histories of resistance and nourished by communities of care.

In addition to working with organizations like CommunityGrows and Black Creek Community Farm to increase access to growing space and food sovereignty, Em is also a 2022 Kundiman Fellow and a recipient of the 2020 PEN Canada New Voices Award and the 2019 Mary C. Mohr Poetry Award.

Pogi the Artist

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Pogi the Artist

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
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At heart, I am an abstract and conceptual artist, with a style influenced by graffiti and realism. I like to bend the rules, but not break them, with my work exploring spaces between traditional and non-traditional styles and perspectives. On the surface, my quick work consists of images of coffee, vices, brick walls, and tunnels abstractly morphed together with nature and concrete structures. In depth, often through journaling and sketching, my work explores ambiguity, space, and “finding home.”

Poetry and music also help me express these depths in nuanced ways. If I had more space, I would further explore these concepts through relevant large scale paintings, sculptures, and installations. Currently, I’m exploring my style of painting more deeply, researching and experimenting with more ways to develop my creations through materials, mediums and concepts.

The Noise Witch

Project Lead - Queering Place

The Noise Witch

Project Lead - Queering Place
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The Noise Witch is a multi-disciplinary creative with a focus on music performance and art direction. Their art is inspired by drag, burlesque and experimentation within digital media. They are a practicing Reiki Master, Teacher, Tarot reader, and Astrologer, with a focus on Ancestral healing and reclamation. Their work is centred around decolonization, healing, Trans rights, sexuality and Spirituality, while also aiming to provide joy and inspiration for those experiencing their offerings.

2021 Artists & Creative Team

Naty Tremblay

Creative Lead - Queering Place

Naty Tremblay

Creative Lead - Queering Place
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Naty Tremblay believes deeply in the radical & transformative power of the arts leveraged for community rooted education, organizing, healing and visioning. Naty’s experiences as an identical twin, a poor muskrat french-metis farmer, a rambler, and a gender-queer feminist have greatly shaped their creative social change practices. Naty has co-created a broad body of interactive multi-media stories, performances & workshops, gatherings & community-engaged artworks exploring identity & power, regenerative reciprocity, healing justice & magics of the natural world. Naty has a BA of Integrated Media for Social Change from OCADU.

They co-founded the Xpace artist-run center & The People Project, an organization doing creative activism with LGBTQ youth. Naty has coordinated media, community arts & transformative justice programs at SKETCH Working Arts for 8+ years, building creative leadership capacity with poor young people. Naty is the Executive Director of Rittenhouse: A New Vision, Canada’s oldest abolitionist organization, supporting Transformative Justice capacity building with communities impacted by violence & criminalization.

They are a proud member of the Drawing with Knives shadow puppetry troupe, The Switch Collective – creating political multi-media street performance, and the Trans Healing Arts Collective – visioning spaces that center the healing & creativity of Trans* peoples.

Facebook: Naty Tremblay

DRAWING.WITH.KNIVES

The Switch Project Toronto

The Smiling Room

Rittenhouse

Lisa Myers

Curatorial Mentor

Lisa Myers

Curatorial Mentor
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Lisa Myers is an independent curator, artist and educator with a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. Based in Toronto and Port Severn, she is a member of Chimnissing, Beausoleil First Nation and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. Myers is an artist and curator and her research focuses on Contemporary Indigenous art and curatorial practice, Indigenous food systems and food sovereignty. Through socially engaged art, she creates gatherings that respond to place, sharing Indigenous foods and reflecting on underrepresented histories and collective forms of knowledge exchange.

 

The Making With Places: Public Art Projects have been designed and developed with curatorial mentorship from Lisa Myers.

Ty Sloane

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Ty Sloane

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
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Tyler J Sloane (They/Them) is a multidisciplinary performance artist. Their art emphasizes marginalized voices that intersect mixed-race and queer identity. They are currently the Performance Arts Artist Associate with SKETCH Working Arts running the Queering Place residency with Naty Tremblay, the In-Conversation Series Buddies In Bad Times Project host with LeZlie Lee Kam at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Company, and also the Education and Mentorship Director at Elevate Equity.

Instagram: @tylerjsloane

The Noise Witch

Project Lead - Queering Place

The Noise Witch

Project Lead - Queering Place
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The Noise Witch is a multi-disciplinary creative with a focus on music performance and art direction. Their art is inspired by drag, burlesque and experimentation within digital media. They are a practicing Reiki Master, Teacher, Tarot reader, and Astrologer, with a focus on Ancestral healing and reclamation. Their work is centred around decolonization, healing, Trans rights, sexuality and Spirituality, while also aiming to provide joy and inspiration for those experiencing their offerings.

Maddie Lycheck

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Maddie Lycheck

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
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Madeleine Lychek is a Filipino-Canadian queer performance and video artist. She uses social media as a digital playground to engage with conversations surrounding power and play, exploring how a body and it’s consumption can be used as a radical act of self-discovery.

Em Dial

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Em Dial

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
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Em Dial (she/they) is a queer, non-binary, multiracial, chronically ill grower, poet, and educator, who was born and raised on Ohlone lands, in what is currently known as the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Their work plays against the idea of the (un)natural, with words and seeds rooted in histories of resistance and nourished by communities of care.

In addition to working with organizations like CommunityGrows and Black Creek Community Farm to increase access to growing space and food sovereignty, Em is also a 2022 Kundiman Fellow and a recipient of the 2020 PEN Canada New Voices Award and the 2019 Mary C. Mohr Poetry Award.

Bert Whitecrow

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Bert Whitecrow

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
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Bert Whitecrow is a 2 Spirited, Anishinaabe multidisciplinary artist from Seine River First Nation. Their work explores themes of healing, preserving and practicing ancestral knowledge. As a conceptual artist, Bert works with a variety of media, often combining traditional and unconventional materials.

They are a member of MilkWeed collective, which is a mixed Indigenous collective that focuses on building relationships with Indigenous communities through art making workshops, facilitated conversation and permaculture. Bert is currently attending the Indigenous Visual Cultures program at OCAD University and plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in April 2022.

Zephyr McKenna

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Zephyr McKenna

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
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I’m an urban Anishinaabe and Lunaape Two-Spirit person with relatives from Alderville and Munsee Delaware First Nations, as well as Irish, Scottish, and English ancestry. Illustration and animation are the mediums I feel most at home with, but I’m very much a multidisciplinary artist, and love finding connections between varying and unconventional mediums.

I’m currently studying 3D modelling and animation in George Brown College’s Game Art program, building skills to create games and other digital media that focus on language revitalization, celebrating two spirit stories, and imagining Indigenous futures.

Pogi the Artist

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place

Pogi the Artist

Artist-in-Residence - Queering Place
botaddress@@

At heart, I am an abstract and conceptual artist, with a style influenced by graffiti and realism. I like to bend the rules, but not break them, with my work exploring spaces between traditional and non-traditional styles and perspectives. On the surface, my quick work consists of images of coffee, vices, brick walls, and tunnels abstractly morphed together with nature and concrete structures. In depth, often through journaling and sketching, my work explores ambiguity, space, and “finding home.”

Poetry and music also help me express these depths in nuanced ways. If I had more space, I would further explore these concepts through relevant large scale paintings, sculptures, and installations. Currently, I’m exploring my style of painting more deeply, researching and experimenting with more ways to develop my creations through materials, mediums and concepts.

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