Lisa Smolkin, Artist – Toronto

Lisa Smolkin works in performance, video, drawing, and installation. Her practice explores themes of selfhood and hierarchies by incorporating elements from popular culture and healing traditions within humorous narrative structures. Giving voice to the underdog, she creates works that explore concepts of personal worth through farce. Smolkin is one of five artists featured in the 2020 Emerging Digital Artists Award Exhibition online and at Trinity Square Video until October 3.

  1. Flower baths

When I lie back in the bath and see the different coloured rose petals, I feel like I’m in heaven. My favourite ones are light pink, light purple, and cream. Beauty and colour is healing.

  1. Refocusing energy and attention away from the personal acquisition of wealth to fighting oppression

As someone with white privilege who grew up middle class and tends to be endlessly self-obsessed, I know I need to help out when possible. Here are two very important local organizations:

Encampment Support Network – In the midst of an overdose crisis and a housing emergency, a pandemic happened. As overcrowded shelters became incubators for the virus, people started pitching tents instead. This is a really great podcast about the encampment:

Friends of Chinatown Toronto – Their mandate is having 100% affordable housing at the proposed 315-325 Spadina development, a halt on new development in Chinatown until housing affordability is prioritized, and  community-controlled planning processes. Gentrification will make Chinatown increasingly unaffordable to live in, displacing working-class residents and immigrant-run small businesses. I did an online action with FOCT and it was incredibly well-organized using social media as a tool of activism.

  1. Ancestral trauma work

Do you ever feel like things are messed up from generations past and for some reason you are being called on to right them or at least look at and process them in some way?

  1. Relational disconnect

I am attuned to all the ways that relationships fail; the ways that we don’t meet each other. It feels magical when it does happen, but so often it doesn’t and it hurts.

  1. What’s good for kids is also good for adults

Things like being clear, naming emotions, eating healthily, having fun, soft furnishings, soothing music, sensory awareness, empathy, kindness, guidance, outdoor time, learning, skill-building, specialness, AI social-emotional companions, laughter, gentleness, early bedtime, safety, colour codes, built-ins.