Feautured image by Hamda Warsame, 2018
In 2013, the Toronto City Council passed a motion making Toronto the first “sanctuary city” in Canada. “Sanctuary cities” seek to ensure that all residents access essential social services without regard to “legal” status. Yet in 2015, a press release by No One Is Illegal revealed that through carding, Toronto Police are continuously colluding with the Canadian Border Services Agency and policing the city. WAY PAST KENNEDY ROAD’s exhibition Sanctuary Inter/rupted, interrogates the possibilities and contradictions of a “sanctuary city” in the context of what we know to be true: that the state always already treats non-white bodies as “illegal”, “whether they possess documents or not.” Through photography, sound, mixed media and video installations, the artists consider the complex dynamics that are tied to ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ identities, extending a conversation on understandings of belonging/(un)belonging in Toronto. Each artists’ work is accompanied by a song or soundbite uniquely chosen by them, presenting audiovisual inquiry into questions related to diaspora, migration, colonialism and the histories/futures of racial justice.
WAY PAST KENNEDY ROAD is a collective of multidisciplinary emerging artists based in Scarborough and other rejected but resilient corners of the GTA. We build spaces for ourselves both online and offline using art as a means of resisting the borders and boundaries that define each of our lives and our works in distinct ways.
Curated by Mitra Fakhrashrafi + Jessica Kirk at Xpace Cultural Centre
Sanctuary Inter/rupted is supported by University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union, The Engaged Community Initiative Fund, and the Ontario Arts Council. All design materials were made by Cinderullah.