Arts·Year in Review

Takes on a tumultuous year: 7 artists explore their 2016s

Gwen Benaway, Catherine Hernandez, Shawn Hitchins, Chase Joynt, Rae Spoon, Jordan Tannahill and Syrus Marcus Ware offer reflects on a year almost past, for better or worse.

Reflections on a year almost past, for better or worse

Vivek Shraya and Gwen Benaway. (Gwen Benaway)

Over the past few weeks, CBC Arts has been publishing personal essays from a variety of artists across Canada, asking them to reflect on their 2016s. Obviously, this has not been an easy year for the world, as most of these artists can attest. However, for the most part they each found — to borrow one of our essayists Rae Spoon's words — "lights in the cracks of mainstream culture." Discover how in the 7 essays linked below:

'A bright and shimmering expanse of hope': Poet Gwen Benaway celebrates the voices of trans women in 2016

"What I loved about 2016? The brilliance and vitality of other trans women writers — the girls who get up, face it all and somehow make beautiful and necessary art." - Read Gwen Benaway's essay here.

Catherine Hernandez is the award-winning author behind the forthcoming Scarborough, the novel, due out 2017 through Arsenal Pulp Press. (Zahra Siddiqui)

No artist is an island: Catherine Hernandez's love letter to the community that pushed her through adversity

"2016 changed everything for me as an artist. We often think of our lives as lone wolves; as competitors in a world of scarcity. But it truly took a team to make this novel come to fruition." - Read Catherine Hernandez's essay here.

Shawn Hitchins makes the case for Ginger Pride., a movement that has already taken hold in the U.K. (Jen Squires)

Sorry, Rory Gilmore: Author Shawn Hitchins can now attest that personal non-fiction is not as easy as it looks

""Getting work made — creating a property that can be marketed and introduced commercially — is the greatest challenge faced by any Canadian artist." - Read Shawn Hitchins' essay here.

(David Hawe)

In 2016, author and filmmaker Chase Joynt learned that we can re-write our own endings

"Lives — at least those most often captured through memoir — are never lived in isolation." - Read Chase Joynt's essay here.

Rae Spoon. (Foxx Foto)

Looking for light in the cracks of mainstream culture: Musician Rae Spoon on a tumultuous 2016

"It was a year that made me focus less on tomorrow and more on the present, because the future felt too precarious and the present so dangerous." - Read Rae Spoon's essay here.

(Lacey Crieghton)

Love in the time of Brexit: Playwright Jordan Tannahill looks back on his 2016

" I felt like a fiancé in the First World War or a teenage girl in the midwest with her boyfriend away at seminary school; it was the most chaste courtship of my life." - Read Jordan Tannahill's essay here.

Syrus Marcus Ware (Jalani Morgan/Black Lives Matter TO)

Magic from the madness: Syrus Marcus Ware on black disabled activists and artists making change in 2016

"It's hard to reflect back on a year such as this one — but when I do I realize that despite it all, we have survived." - Read Syrus Marcus Ware's essay here.