Spring 2024 Programming at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre

Camila Salcedo, Camila 02 (pouch), 2024, Photo by Kafayé Clarke.

Join us for a group exhibition exploring how healthcare impacts and affects precarious workers with varying needs, access points, and abilities.

Labour Pains

Featuring the work of
Sean Lee with Birdie Gerhl
Peter Morin
Camila Salcedo

Curated by Emma Steen
Presented in partnership with Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts.

May 10 – July 27, 2024
Opening Reception: Friday, May 10, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Main Gallery | Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, Hamilton

This exhibition explores healthcare as a labour rights issue as it pertains to precarious workers. When the body is the necessary tool for the creation, production, and dissemination of work, what are the challenges working people, especially professional artists, face while seeking care? How do they in turn find avenues of support within their own communities?

Presenting the work of Sean Lee with Birdie Gerhl, Peter Morin, and Camila Salcedo, Labour Pains looks at three themes that many workers face while attempting to navigate healthcare in this country: privatization and financial strain of freelance employment; Indigenous relations to healthcare and living outside of urban centres; and disability, accessibility, and Crip Politics.

This exhibition is accompanied by the exhibition essay, “Labour Pains,” by curator Emma Steen.

Sean Lee, image from performance and installation Let me get you an orange (2023), photo courtesy of the artist.

About the Artists

Emma Steen is a Toronto based curator and writer. She received her BA at NSCAD University in Halifax, NS and then went on to complete a Masters of Art History at OCAD University in Toronto. Her area of interest lies in art and writing that explores intimacies, bodies, and gathering. Her background includes extensive work in community arts organizing, arts administration, and supporting methods of institutional accountability.

Sean Lee (he/they) is an artist and curator exploring the assertion of disability art as the last avant-garde. His methodology explores crip cultural practices as a means to resist normative idealities. Orienting towards a “crip horizon”, Sean’s practice explores the transformative possibilities of access aesthetics as an embodied politic that can desire the ways disability disrupts. Sean is currently the Director of Programming at Tangled Art + Disability.

Peter Morin is a grandson of Tahltan Ancestor Artists. Morin’s artistic offerings can be organized around four themes: articulating Land/Knowing, articulating Indigenous Grief/Loss, articulating Community Knowing, and understanding the Creative Agency/Power of the Indigenous body. Initially trained in lithography, Morin’s artistic practice moves from Printmaking to Poetry to Beadwork to Installation to Drum Making to Performance Art. Peter Morin currently holds a tenured appointment in the Faculty of Arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto.

Camila Salcedo is a Venezuelan-born interdisciplinary artist currently based in Toronto working primarily in textiles, community arts, digital art, performance, and curation. In their philosophies and practice, they use memory as a methodology for inserting personal narrative into art-making, are committed to sustainability, and rooted in their pursuit of healing the inner wounds of the experience of being a child immigrant. They have done a number of artist residencies in Latin America and Canada, and have a decade of experience as an art educator to diverse individuals.

Birdie Gerhl (she/her) is a practitioner of longing based in Hamilton, ON. Through her work as a multidisciplinary artist and zinester, Birdie locates disability and difference in relationship, understanding that relationships informed by disability, or crip kinship, can be chosen or blood, human or non-human, material or ancestral, and disabled or not. Birdie’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions and group screenings across southern Ontario, and was awarded the 2019 Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency and the 2021 Centre[3] Emerging Artist Residency.

Join us for a series of ancillary programs presented in support of Labour Pains:

Opening Reception and Artist-Curator Dialogue with Emma Steen, Peter Morin and Isaac King
Friday, May 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Second Saturday for Families: Wearable Art with Upcycled Materials – Camila Salcedo
Saturday, May 11, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Let Me Get You an Orange: A Salon with Sean Lee
Thursday, May 16, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Mending Workshop with Camila Salcedo
Saturday, May 18, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Contemporary Art Bus Tour
Saturday, June 22, 11am – 6 pm
Presented in conjunction with Art Gallery of Burlington, Hamilton Artists Inc. and Tangled Art + Disability.

Images (left to right): Saathvik S. with their banner Together We Are Stronger; banner art by stylo starr, Kate Jackson and Greg Smith; Lillian with their banner Lemonade.

Stronger Together: Community-Made Banners

May 10 – July 27, 2024
Opening Reception: Friday May 10, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Community Gallery | Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, Hamilton

During our Winter 2024 season, local artists Kate Jackson, Greg Smith and stylo starr facilitated a series of free workshops for WAHC community members to design and create their own banners using photo transfer, couch embroidery, and hand lettering.

In our Community Gallery, community members who participated in these workshops will celebrate this work with a group banner exhibition. These community-made banners demonstrate both individual expression and collective strength. They convey messages of common purpose, pride in identity, calls for unity, and at times, carry demands for respect and dignity of the most vulnerable.

This exhibition is the outgrowth of a workshop series supported by the Ontario Arts Council, and the Province of Ontario.

WAHC wishes to acknowledge CUPE National, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Ontario, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton and OSSTF for their support of our exhibitions and ancillary programs.

Workers Arts and Heritage Centre logo

Workers Arts & Heritage Centre
51 Stuart Street
Hamilton, Ontario

Workers Arts and Heritage Centre is fully accessible. For more information, visit wahc-museum.ca/accessibility.

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Image descriptions:
1) A person’s hands are pictured pulling an essential oil out of a green pouch that they are holding. They are wearing an orange long-sleeve shirt, a white vest, and orange nails.
2) Dried orange peels scattered on a white background. Each orange has been peeled like a flower with five petal rinds connected by the stem.
3) On the left, a young person stands holding a square of cotton fabric that says “Together We Are Stronger.” In the middle, a piece of fabric displays the message “Stronger Together.” On the right, a young person stands holding a square piece of cotton fabric that says “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade.”