Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens: Theatre From the Jungle


Meatpacking (2018), HD Video (33 minutes). Video Still.

Theatre From the Jungle
Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens

February 17 – April 17*

At the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in the Main Gallery

With the participation of: Weldemariam Bahta, Mekides Belete, William Lopez Beltran, Tesfagergis Geberezgabier, Miao Yan Huang, Robel Kibrom, Jianwen Kuang, Belaynesh Mekonnen, Juan Mendez, Eduardo Rogriguez, Chen Xuhong, and Yanfang Yang

Theatre From the Jungle presents the collaborative video work of artists Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens. The artists spent two months working with 12 participants who are immigrants and current or former employees of Maple Leaf Foods meatpacking plant in Brandon, Manitoba. Using selected passages from Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The Jungle as a script, the participants engaged in a series of experimental theatre workshops that were filmed. The Jungle is a story that documents the struggles of immigrant labour in the Chicago meat packing industry in the early 1900’s. While working conditions have improved since then, the novel is still very relevant today and can be used to interrogate modern labour practices. The resulting video installation, paired with a series of unedited interviews with the participants, highlights the realities of migrant labour and the lived experiences of an immigrant based workforce in Canada’s largest meatpacking plant.

*WAHC currently remains closed to the public due to the pandemic. We will open when allowed to do so by the province and public health. Please keep tuned in to our social media and website for updates.

WAHC acknowledges that this exhibition was originally curated by John Hampton and organized by the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba.


Virtual Tour
February 26, 7PM
Online on Zoom

Join Richard Ibghy, Marilou Lemmens and Programming and Exhibition Specialist Sonali Menezes for a virtual tour and discussion of the exhibition.

Virtual Book Club: Reading the Jungle
Thursday March 25 & Thursday April 15, 7PM
Online on Zoom

Join Hamilton-based writer John Hill for a virtual book club held in two parts over zoom. Interested book club members will read Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The Jungle. John Hill will lead two lively discussions of the book’s themes in connection with the exhibition. The first meeting in March will cover the first half of the book, and the second meeting in April will cover the second half of the book. For more information on where to get a copy of the book please visit our website.

Teach-In: Migrants Organizing for Rights and Status
Wednesday March 31, 7PM
Online on Zoom

Join Migrant Workers Alliance for Change for a practical virtual educational on migrant rights. COVID-19 has revealed and exacerbated existing inequalities in our society. Migrant and undocumented workers have faced immense levels of exploitation, denied emergency supports and healthcare and yet have been deemed essential. In response, a cross-country movement of migrants has begun to organize from farms to factories to colleges and the streets. 1 in 23 people in Canada are migrant or undocumented. Join MWAC to trace how we got here, and what we must do to build a stronger and more unified workers’ movement with equal rights and permanent resident status for all.

Migrant Workers Alliance for Change supports the self-organization of migrants. They are building migrant power by bringing together workers on farms, in factories, on campuses and in communities to create change and fight for better laws and fairness for all of us.

All of our programs are free and open to the public and will be held virtually over zoom. Zoom links for all programs will be made available on our website closer to the program dates.


Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens live and work in Durham-Sud, Quebec, Canada. Together, they have developed a collaborative artistic practice that spans across multiple media, including video, performance and installation. Working both sculpturally and with the body, their practice engages the possibility of escaping the productivist logic of modernism and its incarnations in areas of labour, economics, management, psychology, biology, and ethology. Their projects challenge the concept of objectivity and the scientific obsession with measurement by opting for idiosyncratic methodologies in practical experiments, processes of translation, and craft-based data visualisation techniques. These processes allow for contingency, association, and playfulness while also enabling the duo to collaborate with performers, activists, anthropologists, scientists, and communities. They have exhibited widely across Canada and internationally.


Reading The Jungle (2018). Single-channel video installation, (41 minutes) Production still.

WAHC wishes to acknowledge the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton, the Province of Ontario, CUPE, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of our exhibitions and ancillary programs. This exhibition is presented with equipment assistance provided by Factory Media Centre.

WAHC acknowledges that we are located on the traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat and Neutrals, and later, the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe as governed by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Covenant.

For more information, please contact Sonali Menezes, Programming and Exhibitions Specialist, at (905) 522-3003 ex. 29 or

51 Stuart Street | Hamilton, Ontario | (905) 522-3003
Open Wednesday to Friday, 10 am – 4 pm and Saturdays, 12 pm – 4 pm
Our building is fully accessible.

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