Ideas

Changing the System

Artists are visionary, and their work often anticipates tectonic shifts in the future social landscape. But what relationship does art have with social change? What obligations, if any, do artists have to foster social justice?

AGO Creative Minds (Video by CBC Arts)

Ideas

5 years ago
0:40
AGO Creative Minds (Video by CBC Arts) 0:40

Artists are visionary, and their work often anticipates tectonic shifts in the future social landscape. But what relationship does art have with social change? What obligations, if any, do artists have to foster social justice? These are precisely the questions that André Alexis, Rebecca Belmore, Deepa Mehta and Buffy Sainte-Marie try to answer in an on-stage appearance at Toronto's Massey Hall that formed part of the Creative Minds Series, produced by The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Banff Centre, Massey Hall and the CBC. The event was moderated by CBC Radio host, Matt Galloway.


Participants in the program:

André Alexis (Hannah Zoe Davison)
André Alexis is an acclaimed novelist, playwright and librettist. Born in Trinidad and raised in Canada, he has been the recipient of several significant Canadian literary awards. His most recent novel, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His other books include Pastoral (nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize), Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Lambton, Kent and Other Vistas: A Play.

Buffy Sainte-Marie (Matt Barnes)
Buffy Sainte-Marie is an award-winning musician, songwriter, activist, educator, and visual artist whose audacious attitude to life on and off the stage has inspired people around the world for over four decades. She is known for her 1960s protest anthems ("Universal Soldier"), open-hearted love songs ("Until It's Time for You to Go"), incendiary powwow rock ("Starwalker"), and the Academy Award–winning song "Up Where We Belong," which Sainte-Marie co-wrote for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. One of the most compelling artists of our time, she combines a high-energy stage presence with cerebral songs that tell powerful stories.

Deepa Mehta (Mark Peckmezian)
Deepa Mehta is an Academy Award-nominated transnational filmmaker whose films have played major film festivals around the globe. Acclaimed as daring, fearless and provocative, her work challenges traditions and stereotypes. She is best known for her Elements Trilogy of Fire, Earth, and Water, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her other directing credits include Bollywood/Hollywood, Heaven on Earth, Midnight's Children, the epic adaptation of Salman Rushdie's three-time Booker Prize–winning novel, and her latest film, Beeba Boys, a tough, stylish gangster film.
 
Renowned Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore and her partner Osvaldo Yero first made the art installation in 2006 in Toronto. ( Martin Lipman)
Rebecca Belmore is a Montreal-based multi­disciplinary artist and a member of the Lac Seul First Nation at Frenchman's Head, Ontario. In 2013 she won the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. She gained international acclaim at the 2005 Venice Biennale's Canadian Pavilion where she was the first Indigenous woman to represent Canada. Belmore has exhibited and performed internationally and nationally since 1987. She won the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation's prestigious VIVA Award 2004 and the 2009 Hnatyshyn Visual Arts Award. Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and many others.

Matt Galloway (CBC)
Matt Galloway is the host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One, 99.1 FM, and the host of Podcast Playlist on CBC Radio One. He has anchored CBC Radio's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics live from Beijing, and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2012, he was given the Excellence In Community Service Award for addressing issues confronting diverse communities by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, and in 2013, received the Award for Diversity and Social Inclusion by the Tagore Anniversary Celebrations Committee of Toronto. In 2015, Toronto Life Magazine named him one of Toronto's top 15 most influential people, and he also received the African Canadian Achievement Award for excellence in Media.


Web Extra | AGO Creative Minds: Art and Social Justice recorded by CBC Arts on September 20 at Massey Hall in Toronto
 


 

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