By Kassandra Sharma (Twitter: @KassSabrina Instagram: @_kassandrasabrina)
Luminato Festival Toronto is an international arts festival that hosts a multitude of performances which exhibits various media creations and crafts that go well beyond the normal boundaries of art. Founded in 2007 by David Pecaut and Tony Gagliano, Luminato had to reinvent its regular delivery tactics due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, thus the entire festival went virtual this year.
The three-day festival took place from June 11th – June 13th and contained innovative and educational pieces. I had the pleasure of viewing the Henry G20 Sneak Peek followed by the Activism During The Pandemic panel.
The Henry G20 Sneak Peek was delivered in a podcast format, which followed the conversation between a few characters surrounding the G20 protests. A slideshow was also shown depicting images of the protest and activist signs. The script was a mixture of modern language and romantic (very well delivered) Shakespearean monologues. While it was just a sneak peek, it was so powerful and well executed that I was enticed right off the bat and definitely wished to see it live.
Christine Brubaker, Director of Henry G20 – a project she started in 2014 - hosted the panel that followed. With three other panelists, Syrus Marcus Ware – artist and activist, Lesley Wood – scholar and activist and Olivia Chow – former MP and activist. The panel was very illuminating and thought provoking. Discussions followed ideologies about continually engaging activism for all minorities – people of colour, Indigenous communities, people with disabilities, and so on.
They discussed how much momentum we see today as we witness a shift in the activism dynamic, the decolonization of teachings and institutions and the approach towards police brutality. Thus the lack of embracing and funding of the nurturers of our communities – social workers, teachers, nurses, etc. They also discussed the need to reinvigorate the country’s communities, fund housing projects, mental health support and investing into programs for kids – our nation’s future. The overall need and importance of a universal basic income. To abolish the old ways, to share in the conceptualization of what the future should look like and collectively collaborate in bringing that vision to life. Survive and thrive.
Want to learn more about activism during the pandemic? Check out the organizations that Luminato collaborated with this year to help with COVID-19 Relief.