HABI: Weaving Stories of Migrant Labour and Indigenous Resurgence

HABI: Weaving Stories of Migrant Labour and Indigenous Resurgence

A public programming series organized by Kwentong Bayan Collective
June 2019
Small Arms Inspection Building

Kwentong Bayan Collective’s new project, HABI: Weaving Stories of Migrant Labour and Indigenous Resurgence explores the inaugural convergence of National Indigenous People’s month and the newly announced, Filipino Heritage Month in June 2019.

In the Filipino language, “habi” means “weave” – referring to the practice of weaving, or the patterns found in woven materials. Habi is also the process by which something is kept together to construct into a whole.

This month-long public programming series will feature three community arts workshops at the Small Arms Inspection Building (SAIB).

The SAIB is located on the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation along Lake Ontario’s eastern waterfront. In the 1940s, a large munitions plant was built on the lands to manufacture rifles and small arms for the Canadian Army. During the Second World War, women made up about two-thirds of the factory’s workforce. They were critical to changing the role of women in the workforce in Canada.

In the past, KBC’s work has focused on the history of Care Work in Canada by Indigenous girls in residential schools, enslaved Africans, and racialized migrant workers. This series sees Kwentong Bayan Collective expand their focus to explore how Indigenous and Filipino-Canadian communities are making history in the present.

In the spirit of HABI, we will honour Indigenous ways of being, and weave together our interconnected stories.

All programs are FREE of charge.

Sunday June 9, 12:30–4pm
WAYS OF WEAVING: Zero Waste. Sustainable. Indigenous.

Guest artist, Cynthia Alberto (Weaving Hand, NYC) will introduce the concept of zero-waste weaving and how sustainable weaving practices can benefit the environment. Maria Montejo (Jakaltec/Popti) will share stories of Mayan weaving practices. Kwentong Bayan and Kapwa Collective will share indigenous weaving practices of the Philippines.

Participants will learn how to use custom backstrap looms that can be used while sitting on the ground, standing, or sitting in a chair.

Weaving materials will be provided, but we ask participants to bring their own recyclable and fabric-based items like plastic or paper bags, donated clothing, ribbon, yarn, string, and personal items that they would like to weave into their zero-waste projects.

This workshop is limited to 30 participants. Please RSVP to save your seat.

Saturday June 15, 12:30–4pm
Community Art Build with Migrant Care Workers

In collaboration with Caregiver Connections, Education and Support Organization (CCESCO), migrant caregivers / care workers will share their lived experiences and some of the urgent issues affecting their lives today, including the Migrant Justice Campaign that responds to the federal government’s plan to eliminate the pathway to Permanent Residency for migrant workers as of November 2019.

KBC will facilitate a Community Art Build on the topic of Community Care, including labour and migrant rights, land and water protectors and disability justice, and 2SLGBTIQQ* issues.
Art materials will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring ideas, slogans, and visual sketches for banners and placards that they want to use at community actions.

No registration required. All are welcome.

Sunday June 23, Noon–4pm
Our Relationship with the Land: Indigenous Teachings with Philip Cote

National Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated on June 21 across Canada / Turtle Island. It also coincides with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and a time for traditional gatherings and ceremonies.

We will gather in a community learning circle, led by Philip Cote (Artist, Activist, Historian, Traditional Wisdom Keeper and Young Elder). We will learn about the Indigenous history of this land, healing plant medicines and the practice of smudging, and stories connected to summer solstice. Weather permitting, we will engage in outdoor activities, using the paved pathways surrounding the SAIB for accessibility.

A free community meal & artist talk by Kwentong Bayan to celebrate the summer solstice will commence at noon. Philip Cote’s workshop will begin at 1pm.

No registration required. All are welcome.

Artist & Collaborator Bios:

Kwentong Bayan is a collective of two Toronto-based artists, Althea Balmes and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo. Their artistic mandate is to explore a critical and intersectional approach to community-based art, labour, and education.

Cynthia Alberto is an artist, designer, and founder of the Brooklyn-based healing arts studio, The Weaving Hand. She seeks to bridge traditional and contemporary weaving techniques, drawing inspiration from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Maria Montejo (Deer clan) is a member of the Jakaltec/Popti (Mayan) community of Indigenous people. In addition to her formal schooling, Maria has been mentored from a young age by various Elders, Medicine people and Traditional Teachers on Turtle Island and from Central and South America.

Kawpa Collective is a mutual support group of Filipino-Canadian artists, critical thinkers, and healers who work towards bridging narratives between the Indigenous and the Diasporic, and the Filipino and the Canadian.

Caregiver Connections, Education and Support Organization (CCESO) is a group of dedicated and caring volunteers serving caregivers, newcomers, and migrant workers in Toronto since 2007. CCESO provides a range of free programs and activities that help build confidence, self-esteem, and leadership skills.

Philip Cote is a member of the Moose Deer Point First Nation. First Nations Affiliations are: Shawnee, Lakota, Potawatomi, Ojibway, and Algonquin. Philip Cote is a Sundancer, Pipe Carrier and Sweat Ceremony leader recognized by Elder Vern Harper and Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand.

Small Arms Inspection Building
1352 Lakeshore Road East, Mississauga, ON L5E 1E9
905-615-4860 ext 2110
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @saugaculture

The Small Arms Inspection Building is an accessible venue with single-user, all-gender washrooms available.

Images courtesy of Kapwa Collective, photos by Eloisa Guerrero