Winter 2024 Programming at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre

Hiba Abdallah, test for Same Difference (2023), polyester fabric, grommets, collection of the artist.

Join us for Declaration, a group exhibition celebrating banners as tools of protest and unity.


Hiba Abdallah
Giniw (Graham) Paradis
L Vinebaum
Lan “Florence” Yee

February 9 – April 13, 2024
Opening Reception: Friday February 9, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Workers Arts & Heritage Centre (Main Gallery), Hamilton

Declarations state claims, pronounce intentions, and share information on the state of affairs. People have moved messages through time and space by raising banners in declarative acts in streets and union halls, in expressions of protest, grief, celebration and unity.

This exhibition celebrates the act of voicing a demand, standing together, making a petition, and mourning collective loss. Each banner looks back and looks forward, connecting ways in which declarative acts continue to unite and divide us. This exhibition draws links between the present and historic banners of the labour movement presented in our new digital exhibition, All Together Now! Banners of the Labour Movement.

This exhibition is accompanied by the exhibition essay, “Step Up, Stand Together,” by Danica Evering.

L Vinebaum, New Demands: We Mourn our Losses (2015), textile banner, hand and machine sewn cotton and silk with trims.

About the Artists:

Hiba Abdallah is a text-based artist who often works collaboratively. Her practice explores the systemic and structural legacies of public life by researching the intersections of hospitality, agitation, and disagreement as productive frameworks for re-imagining collective agency. She has created work across media—from public interventions to community projects, gallery exhibitions, and publications.

Her recent exhibitions and public projects include 100 years then and hereafter at the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Everything I Wanted to Tell You for Nuit Blanche Scarborough, Rehearsing Disagreement for MOCA Toronto and A List of Antagonisms for the CAFKA Biennial in Kitchener, ON. She currently lives and works as an uninvited guest on the traditional land of the Anishinaabe, the Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River.

Giniw (Graham) Paradis is Michif/Wiisaakodewin from Penetanguishene with ancestral ties to Lesser Slave Lake, AB and the Red River Settlement. He is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Giniw has been beading since 2012 as a self-taught artist and started mentoring under Naomi Smith (Chippewas of Nawash, Neyaashiinigmiing Unceded Territory) in 2014. His beadwork and quillwork have been featured in museums nationally and internationally.

L Vinebaum is a scholar, artist, educator and activator working at the intersections of textiles and politics. Their transdisciplinary practice spans multiple media and forms including textile banners, visual essays, prints, vinyl, text-based installations, neon, performance, scholarly research and writing, teaching, curating, collaborations, and organizational leadership. Their projects often draw inspiration from collective organizing in the textile and garment industries, in particular campaigns by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. L Vinebaum is an Associate Professor of Fiber and Material Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the co-Vice President of the Textile Society of America. They hold a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Lan “Florence” Yee is a visual artist and cultural worker based in Tkaronto/Toronto & Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal. They collect text in underappreciated places and ferment it until it is too suspicious to ignore. Lan’s work has been exhibited at the Darling Foundry (2022), the Toronto Museum of Contemporary Art (2021), the Art Gallery of Ontario (2020), the Textile Museum of Canada (2020), and the Gardiner Museum (2019), among others. They co-founded the Institute of Institutional Critique with Mattia Zylak in 2019 and the Chinatown Biennial with Arezu Salamzadeh in 2020. They obtained a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from OCAD U. Lan has been awarded grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Council for the Arts, and the Toronto Arts Council. They are a recipient of the William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Artists (2023).

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

Declaration Opening Reception
Friday February 9, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Second Saturday for Families
We All Belong: Banner Making Workshop with Becky Katz
Saturday February 10, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Create a Banner with Kate Jackson, Greg Smith and stylo starr
Saturday February 17, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Aram Han Sifuentes: Sewing the Message
Banners as a Medium for Change, a virtual artist talk
Thursday, March 28, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EDT via Zoom

L Vinebaum: Archive as Inspiration
What the International Ladies Garment Workers Union Teaches Us About Past and Present Labour Movements, a virtual talk
Thursday, April 9, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EDT via Zoom

Banner, Cloak and Skirt Pressers Union, ILGWU Local 92. Early 20th century, paint on silk, metal wound fringe and trim. Donation of the UNITE Ontario Council

All Together Now! Banners of the Labour Movement

A new virtual exhibition produced by the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre.

Project Launch: Wednesday January 24, 2024

Labour union banners demonstrate collective strength. Carried in parades, brandished at protests, and hung in union halls, they convey messages of common purpose, pride, unity, and the dignity of work.

The earliest labour banners were used to identify groups of workers who did the same job. Recurring images such as shaking hands symbolizing unity and solidarity have appeared on banners across time, and around the world. More recently, banners have demonstrated solidarity with broader social justice issues and struggles, including those of fellow workers.

Discover Canada’s labour arts and heritage by exploring the banners, and the inspiring stories of working people and banner makers, collected into this online exhibition.

All Together Now! was made possible through generous support from the Museums Assistance Program of Canadian Heritage.

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

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51 Stuart Street
Hamilton, Ontario
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