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September-October 2018

Indigenous arts are the real deal. How counterfeiting is destroying that

New campaign aims to protect Indigenous crafts from mass-produced knock-offs in Canada’s gift shops

Prajakta Dhopade

Think of the dreamcatcher and it evokes a familiar image. A hoop, a woven web, adorned with beads and feathers. The iconic talisman, said to have originated from the North American Ojibwe, is a common sight in most Canadian souvenir shops. But don’t believe its “Made in Canada” label. More likely, it’s been mass produced […] More »
September-October 2018

Music criticism is changing its tune—and that’s a good thing

The music explainer is the new review, and it has the potential to improve our understanding of music criticism

Drew Crocker

“Music criticism is dead,” proclaimed Dan Kopf emphatically on culture website Quartzy this past spring. In the present streaming era, when you can easily discover music on your own, the “music explainer,” in the form of podcasts, is where it’s at, he argued. Why consider secondhand opinions when you can hear directly from creators about […] More »
September-October 2018

New Toronto film project aims to preserve the pasts of Indigenous and visible minority communities

A look inside the Home Made Visible project

Emily Macrae

A child playing in a snowbank. A woman cutting a cake. A man digging a car out of a snowdrift. At first glance, these are common Canadian moments. But look closer and they become celebrations in the daily life of any Canadian family. Whether they are new to the country, first- or fifth-generation Canadians, these […] More »
September-October 2018

This Vancouver teacher turned her master’s thesis into a comic book

She wanted to prove that graphic art can still be scholarly

Valérie Frappier

It’s been said that the medium is the message, but how much say do we have over which mediums shape our experiences—and how might they shape our education? Meghan Parker, an art teacher at a public high school in North Vancouver, considers this question in her recent thesis, “Art teacher in process: An illustrated exploration […] More »
September-October 2018

Stand-up comedy got me through the darkest point of my life

How I laughed through the pain

Erica Ruth Kelly

Dear stand-up comedy, I almost threw up all over you the first time we met. I was 18. My then-boyfriend took me to a Just for Laughs showcase in Montreal. Mascara ran down my face as I watched one of the performers, Jeremy Hotz. You and I were still getting to know each other then. […] More »
September-October 2018

Inuk scholar celebrates long-overlooked Nunatsiavut art in her new book

On Heather Igloliorte's SakKijâjuk

Victoria Chan

In the absence of access and recognition comes resilience and creativity. This became apparent to Heather Igloliorte, an Inuk scholar and art historian, as she researched the presence of Labrador Inuit artists in Canada’s history during her years of doctoral research at Ottawa’s Carleton University. What she discovered was the near absence of information on […] More »

For Asian artists, social media has changed everything

In the typically white, male-dominated Canadian arts community, online promotion and sharing has paved a new path for marginalized artists

Hanna Lee

Hana Shafi’s Instagram feed is a burst of bright colours and thick lines interspersed with the occasional selfie. The Toronto-based artist, who goes by Frizz Kid, posts images of her digital art almost every day. From the playful—an anthropomorphic pizza slice placed around the words “Thick as hell”—to the serious—a person, closed-eyed with purple hair, […] More »
July-August 2018

New Ottawa exhibit offers a peek into Canadian children’s pasts

Inside A Little History, at the Canadian Museum of History

Allyson Aritcheta

A freestanding wall decorated with blue motifs frames a glass case. Inside the case sits a brooch inscribed with a person’s name and dates of birth and death. On the other side of the wall, the front of the brooch is exposed: a portrait of a little girl, Alice Walker, the daughter of Canadian artist […] More »
July-August 2018

This art series is a post-capitalist fantasy

Artist Dana Prieto seeks to hold Canadian mining executives accountable for extractivism in Argentina

Jillian Morgan

Glazed in black, the beauty of Dana Prieto’s hand-crafted ceramic vessels forces the viewer’s attention—but what they wouldn’t be able to tell at first glance is that the artwork may contain traces of arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. Prieto, an Argentine visual artist based in Toronto, describes the vessels as an “inhospitable gift,” made with soil from […] More »
July-August 2018

This Vancouver dancer wants to teach you to vogue

Ralph Escamillan's VanVogueJam encourages people to strike a pose

Victoria Chan

While dance has the potential to break down barriers, Vancouver-based dancer and choreographer Ralph Escamillan says it’s not always easy to find free classes to train and practice in the city.  So he created one. After starting a community organization called VanVogueJam in 2016, the 25-year-old has been teaching vogue, a dance-based art form originating […] More »
July-August 2018

When it comes to representations of OCD in media, we can do so much better

We shouldn't have to rely on stereotyped characters to see ourselves in the shows and movies we consume

Lisa Whittington-Hill

I am quite open about the fact that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. Talking about it comes easy to me. More difficult to handle are the reactions I get from others. “So are you like that nerd on The Big Bang Theory?” someone in a work meeting recently joked after I mentioned my […] More »