The 2010 Abilities Arts Festival brought together a dazzling array of talent and creativity. We showcased inspired local performers, dynamic artists from across Canada, the United States and as far away as Australia as part of this year’s line-up. We invite you to explore and… be inspired.
September 24th – October 24th
VMAC Gallery: 401 Richmond St W, Suite 440
Presenting sponsor: CTV
The festival continued the tradition of presenting some of the finest visual artists with disabilities from across Canada. The exhibit opened on September 24th to coincide with Ontario Culture Days and featured inspired work from the following artists: Anne Abbott, Bruce Bazinet, Karen Colville, Gwen Duda, Beverly Elwood, Faye Frick, Robin Friesen, Sofia Kanibolotskaia, Steve Kean, Linda Kinsella, Carol-Lynne Simmie Hives Korchinsky, Chris Luzaszewski, Rebecca Mullan, Ali Nedjati, Robyn Rennie Oag, William Orlowski, Pam Patterson, Zachary Prins, Benjamin Sloetjes, Justine Smith, Kevin Weirsma, Melody Zeggelar.
IN CELEBRATION OF OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH 2010
September 29th-October 1, 2010
Villa Colombo – 40 Playfair Avenue, Toronto
Now in its sixth year, IN CELEBRATION OF OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH is an exciting, full-day event that provides children and youth with disabilities an opportunity to see and experience first-hand the wonder and enjoyment of disability arts and culture. IN CELEBRATION OF OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH is a positive event that acknowledges strengths, recognizes and respects disabilities and introduces school-aged children to the possibilities that await them.
Three days of performances for school-aged children, with mime and puppeteer Chris Welsh, the African dance and music of Sidiki Conde, break dance sensation Luca “Lazylegz,” LiANA “Guitar Babe,” singer/storyteller Sheila Boyd and ASL Waves dance troupe.
October 2nd, 2010
Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St, Toronto
A free afternoon of family performances featuring the fun-filled show of mime and puppeteer Christopher Welsh together with the pounding African rhythms and acrobatic dance of Sidiki Conde.
Christopher is an energetic positive Deaf role model. He is a performer who has been entertaining audiences young and old alike for many years. He trained with the National Theatre of the Deaf in Chester, CT (84) and also studied improvisation at Second City in Toronto, ON (88), Canada Clown Carnival (97), Winnipeg International Storytelling (07, 09), Shakespeare Living Willow Theatre in Wales, UK (08).
In 1988 Christopher was the first deaf comedian to perform before a hearing audience at Yuk-Yuks in Toronto. He has also performed with the “Show Of Hands” Theatre Company in their national tours in 1988 and 1989. Since 1988, through his companies Vibrisign and Wavehands, he has taken his one man show on the road. He has traveled across Canada to various schools and festivals performing skits using puppets and mime for children and adults of all ages. He also has given workshops on mime, improvisation, the use of facial expression, and sign language. Christopher has also appeared on YTV’s Treehouse and TVO programs that feature ASL Storytelling.
The call to sing and dance first came to Sidiki Conde in a dream he had after he lost the use of his legs when he was fourteen in Guinea, West Africa. Music and dance became his transcendence and his vocation. Conde founded Message de Espoir (The Message of Hope) a music and dance ensemble in 1986 with other artists with disabilities. Conde has performed with West Africa’s premier traditional music and dance ensembles including Les Merveilles de Guinea. Conde performed, directed the musical arrangements and company rehearsals. Guinea has 26 different ethnic peoples; each with their own language and traditional arts. Conde traveled to remote villages to meet the people and learn their songs and dances. In 1998 Conde came to America and founded his company Tokounou.
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Theatre Direct, 601 Christie Street, Toronto
October 2nd, 2010 – Sunset to Sunrise
“Mirage” is an Igneous collaborative work that plays on perceptual illusion and explores phantom-limb sensation as a “mirage.”
It is a performance installation with movement-based performance, video art, sound art, and a series of mirror booths. It is an interactive labyrinth of mirrors and a solo performance piece in a reflective pool amongst multi-dimensional projections. It plays on perceptual illusion, the construction of hybrid forms and the real and virtual fusing and separating.
Mirage, was sensational. Australian dancer James Cunningham, whose left arm is withered, put on a spectacular movement performance, accompanied by compelling electronic music.
-NOW MAGAZINE, http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/story.cfm?content=177042
My favorite for the night. While we were watching the performance, I said to my friend, “This feels like the first art I’ve seen tonight.” The performance involved two stages. In the first, you were encouraged to engage with three mirror-based perceptual illusions that centred on ideas of symmetry and identity. All of them were genuinely startling and surprising.
James Cunningham almost totally paralyzed his left arm in 1992. In his research about pain relief, he found a particular experiment immensely profound: the “mirror-box”, designed by neuro-psychologist Dr Vilayanur Ramachandran, director of the Centre for Brain Cognition at the University of California – San Diego, used to alleviate amputees of phantom-limb pain.
Observing the movement of his intact arm reflected in a mirror, it was as if James could suddenly feel his paralysed arm moving again, along with perceived weight, joint articulation and position in space. A bizarre experience when one knew that in fact the immobile arm was lying flat on the table. Wanting to share this discovery with others – for them to gain a first-hand experience of the illusory nature of perception, the “mirage” of the mind – and to develop a choreography driven by the actual movement possibilities of his partially-paralysed limb, which necessitates the rest of his body to creatively “serve” and thereby integrateits quirky, subtle, and loosely swung movements, he, along with Suzon Fuks, began formulating the project MIRAGE.
The work spans two spaces. In the WHITE SPACE audience members experiment with and challenge their perception with five mirror-booths. The BLACK SPACE sees Cunningham perform in the shallow water environment, with a unique style of movement that integrates a partially paralysed arm, exploring anabstract narrative, through a range of atmospheres and feelings.
SIGNALS FROM THE STAGE
Thursday, October 7th – 7:30 pm
Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis Street, Toronto
An evening of vibrant dance, live music, outrageous comedy, and passionate spoken word coming at you in a smooth flow that will keep you engaged and inspired. The evening’s line-up includes:
Featured in the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Paralympics, Martin is an award winning singer, songwriter, and one of the best known and appreciated rock pop stars in Quebec. His enthusiastic, energetic and wide ranging music are sure to enthrall all who attend.
SHAWN BRUSH, AKA KROOKED COWBOY
Shawn is one of the finest performers of bluegrass, folk and country music, whose music is passionate, heartfelt and has a unique ability to touch everyone who has the privilege of hearing him.
Spirit is a dancer, actor, visual artist — she will perform original, beautiful dance creations that are truly inspired.
Funny man Andre knows how to tell a story and to see the funny side of every situation. He will take you on a ride not to be missed.
FEATURING POETRY BY: Irena Kagansky, Barbara Landry, Philip Tetrault
Wednesday, October 13th – 7:30 pm
Al Green Theatre at Miles Nadal JCC,
750 Spadina Avenue (at Bloor), Toronto
Presenting the award-winning film The Red Chapel and Canadian short Asia Trains followed by an intimate and thought provoking Q + A.
The Red Chapel
A trio of Danish comedians travel to North Korea pretending to be regime sympathizers and mount an absurd variety show. This stunt is led by the acerbic director Mads Brugger, and assisted by Simon Jul and Jacob Nossell, both of South Korean descent. Only Jacob is allowed to speak his mind. Suffering from cerebral palsy, his halting speech is difficult to translate, so he insults his socialist hosts and receives smiles in return. The Red Chapel is an unconventional, hilarious and damning peek into a totalitarian nightmare.
A short film by Canadian film maker Mitch St. Pierre that follows his own unique approach to travelling through Asia unescorted.