(This story is sponsored by Myseum of Toronto.)
The bustling city of Toronto is packed with cultural, racial, religious, and gender diversity. Like other major world cities, it’s filled with people and communities who’ve been singled out due to their differences.
Myseum of Toronto is a “museum without walls” seeking to tell the stories of underrepresented groups and to explore their stories. Because of the pandemic, Myseum’s annual arts and culture festival will be presented virtually this year, making it accessible across Canada.
“Institutional archives don’t always do a great job representing the histories of other cultures or minority groups,” says the marketing manager at the Myseum of Toronto, Riaz Charania. “Once you put in the time and effort to learn about other communities, you’ll walk around the city with a totally different outlook.”
Instead of presenting in-person installations and hosting gatherings, Myseum’s website will showcase the exhibits and interactive events that delve into the experiences of marginalized groups. The virtual festival, compellingly titled Intersections speaks to intersectionality, a term coined in the 90s by Kimberlé Crenshaw, runs from April to June.
“Intersectionality allows us to look at the varying aspects of our identity, which includes gender, race, sexuality, and religious beliefs. Through this, we can discover what happens when all of these different social identities are compounded into one city,” says Josh Dyer, the director of marketing at Myseum of Toronto. “We see ourselves as a platform that helps these communities tell their stories rather than a platform that tells their stories for them.”
If you’re ready to strengthen your understanding and become an ally to those who have been marginalized, be sure to check out these three thought-provoking events.
In Addition: 5 Years+ of Grassroots Power with Butterfly
In Addition: 5 years+ of Grassroots Power with Butterfly is an online exhibit grounded upon the stories of members from Butterfly, an Asian and migrant sex workers’ support network organization.
This virtual exhibit happening primarily on Butterfly’s Instagram page, showcases photographs and artworks, as well as voice and text messages contributed by the Butterfly community. These artefacts highlight the activism and advocacy efforts carried out in response to the barriers, violence, discrimination, and challenges faced by Asian and migrant sex workers. It’s particularly timely in light of the recently violence being inflicted on people of Asian ancestry, including the murders of six women of Asian descent in massage parlours in the Atlanta area.
The event will feature an in-depth conversation exploring efforts made by Butterfly to advocate for Asian and migrant sex workers and in addition, it will teach attendees how they can do this. This powerful and thought-provoking discussion is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST on April 24.
If you’ve visited the “Whose Chinatown?” exhibit, you will have seen the work of artist and architect Linda Zhang. Her work, which was originally developed for Myseum’s Intersections festival, is on display at Vancouver’s Griffin Art Projects until May 1. Vancouver residents can meet a friend, grab a coffee, and head to historic Chinatown to see the group exhibition, which explores the history of Chinatowns across Canada.
ChinaTOwn tells the forgotten stories, willful omissions, and accumulation of silences that exist beyond Toronto’s official heritage definition of its Chinatown neighbourhoods. The virtual exhibit, which includes VR elements, reveals that the truth extends far beyond what has been recorded and shared.
There will also be a symposium happening from 4 to 6 p.m. PST on May 27. Through conversation, the symposium will bring to light the uncovered stories and create an intersectional vision for Chinatowns. The symposium will also explore how these culturally rich neighbourhoods have evolved and the harsh realities they face, from gentrification to anti-Asian racism heightened by COVID-19.
Here and There
Here and There is a multimedia project that presents stories told by migrant care workers working in Toronto during the pandemic.
Because of the nature of their work, migrant care workers already know how to physically distance. They’re able to divide mind, body, heart, and spirit, when separated from their loved ones to work abroad.
Through the art of community storytelling, this project explores the rhythms of this dual life and how love can transcend time and space. The digital event delves into the history of migrant care work in Canada through personal stories and reflects on how they have been impacted by the pandemic. It will take place on April 25 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST.
For more information on the online exhibits and to sign up for the events happening from April to June, visit www.myseumoftoronto.com/.