Stir It Up: OPIRG Toronto's Anti-Gallery of Joyous Rebellion
Fri Aug 16, 2019, Toronto, ON
An interactive exhibit of archival materials that tell the story of radical activism and community organizing in Toronto from 1980 to the present.
OPIRG Toronto in partnership with Alternative Toronto present a retrospective gallery celebrating 4 decades of actions, chants, DIY movements and art, as well as a blatant refusal to accept defeat on campus or in the community. Instead, we look forward to new futures by looking back at all of the work OPIRG and the communities we are part of have done through an anti-gallery of some of the most prominent movements and campaigns, as seen through banners, protest art, posters, and interactive media and storytelling. Community is grown, not built, and OPIRG Toronto has been a constant of the Toronto organizing and activist community for nearly 4 decades. Alternative Toronto is a digital community archive that is documenting the history of radical, countercultural, anti-racist and trans/feminist/queer organizing in Toronto from the vantage point of people who were there.
This year Ford announced a direct attack on the way groups like OPIRG are funded, but we arenít ready to give up. Through dips and surges OPIRG Toronto has persisted and survived countless attacks to remain a fiercely autonomous yet community-oriented grassroots group that has arguably become one of the most multi-focused, multi-tendency, multi-purpose social justice organization in the GTA. Publishing manuals, creating resources, hosting rallies and direct actions, starting activist skillshare networks, funding action groups, and creating space for nuanced and difficult conversations.
Together with Alternative Toronto, OPIRG has been digging through our archive, reminding us of what many of us already know: that OPIRGís history is tied up with the history of countless other groups in Toronto and has acted as a catalyst for movements to develop and root themselves in our city, splintering off like dandelion seeds. A fertile ground that continues to foster joyous rebellion and which countless continue to walk through on their way to becoming advocates and warriors for their communities.
Alternative Toronto and OPIRG present an evening of defiant joy in the face of a hostile government and a world that feels like itís crumbling. We make our own world and we make our own justice.
WHAT IS AN ANTI-GALLERY?
Galleries and art shows have all to often been tools of gentrification and white-washing. They are framed as things meant to be seen but not touched, admired but from a specific perspective, and hosted in specific spaces for specific people. We say fuck that. Alternative Toronto and OPIRG are based in the premise that history and art reach out to us every day and influence and narrate what is to come, that archives and histories are meant to be handled, played with, challenged and most importantly made accessible to all. History belongs to the people who make it, and that means it belongs to everyone.
In this special event we break open what archives, retrospectives and galleries encompass by creating interactive hands-on displays which focus on the voices and lived experiences of those who are often left out of regular galleries, in effect building an anti-gallery.
This event will be held at Steelworkers Hall at 25 Cecil St, Steelworkers has an accessible entrance with a powered lift. The space will be open concept with lots of room for mobility devices. The space will be one where people flow through different installations at their own pace, though we will have a quiet area with seats by our pop up radical library. We ask that attendees please refrain from wearing scents like perfumes, deodorants or colognes out of respect for those with sensitivities.
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