Remembering Practice & Policy in Production and Distribution (30 to 40 years ago), in the Media Arts in the UK and Canada, looks back three to four decades in Canadian and British media art history, within production workshops and festival presentations with Indigenous Peoples and People of Color. For example, looking back at Canadian cultural activism then and now in media arts, including the Invisible Colors festival from 1988, the New Initiatives in Film for Women of Color and First Nations Women in the early 1990’s, supported by the National Film Board of Canada, and the Canada Council for the Arts. In this panel, media artists Midi Onodera and Sylvia Hamilton, will join Leila Sujir on this discussion of “Superwomen: Taking Off” as they have previously named themselves during the CFMDC winter 2021 virtual conversation series, “Super Women: Conversations with the Real Action Figures.” The 2021 online conversation will also be available on the CFMDC website during the presentation of this new panel discussion.
Joining the conversation from the UK, are photo-based artists Roshini Kempadoo (Westminster/Autograph member), Sunil Gupta (University for Creative Arts/Autograph, OVA and INIVA member), to discuss photography as a deeply problematic form that visualized the colonial subject with a contradictory contribution as a liberatory and transformative visualization tool for global south cultures. Gupta and Kempadoo contributed to the formation of Autograph, the Association of Black Photographers and the Institute of International Visual Arts (INIVA) in the UK (1980s onwards), and continue to visualize the colonial aftermath that lives on in Britain, Canada, India and the Caribbean.
The panel will include the online screening: Chilean Canadian filmmaker, Maria Teresa Larraín’s “Shadow Girl” (a poetic journey that explores art, vision, privilege/poverty, dis/ability) which will be screened online at CFMDC.tv.
More details of the film screening here.
Hosted by 4th Space and the CFMDC https://www.cfmdc.org
Film Screenings (scheduled screenings – Canada and UK time)
CFMDC.TV will rebroadcast its 2021 program, SuperWomen: Conversations with the Real Action Figures (2021), during the June 12 to 16 panel series.
This is a collection of interviews with seven astounding women who have an extensive history of working in film and video with Marjorie Beaucage, Christene Browne, Sylvia Hamilton, Maria Teresa Larrain, Michelle Mohabeer, Leila Sujir, and Zainub Verjee in conversation with Midi Onodera.
Bios and talk descriptions:
Midi Onodera is an award-winning filmmaker and media artist who has been making films and videos for 35+ years. In 2017, Midi received the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts. Her work is laced with markers of her experiences as a feminist, lesbian, Japanese-Canadian woman. She has produced over 25 independent shorts, ranging from 16mm film to digital video to toy camera formats. Her film The Displaced View (1988) was nominated for Best Documentary at the Gemini Awards. Skin Deep (1995), her theatrical feature, screened internationally at festivals including the Rotterdam International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Since 2006 she has made over 500 Vidoodles (defined as bite-sized 30 second to 2 minute video doodles). Each year since 2009 she presents an annual video project addressing themes of language, media, politics and everyday life.
Leila Sujir (PI for the SSHRC Connection grant and Professor Emerita starting July 2023, Studio Arts, Concordia University) has been making video art installations since 1985, exploring issues of immigration, migration, nation, and culture with exploration of archival documents. She uses a mix of fiction, fantasy and documentary with stereoscopic 3D technology and audiovisual collage techniques.
Leila Sujir and Midi Onodera will propose conversations for these “superwomen” to reach out to the next generations, around community activism, and the possibilities that digital technologies and media forms provide to create intergenerational dialogue.
spaces and territories for community activism.
SuperWomen: Taking Off and The Breadth Of (2021) was a month-long, online symposium that investigated and responded to the living archive of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC) that will be archived during the Thinking Allowed June 2023 panel sessions on the CFMDC site. Highlighted during this month-long program was the video series, SuperWomen: Conversations with the Real Action Figures (2021). This was a collection of interviews with seven astounding women who have an extensive history of working in film and video in Canada. The archive of Interviews will be featured on the CFMDC website during the Thinking Allowed June conversations with Marjorie Beaucage, Christene Browne, Sylvia D. Hamilton, Maria Teresa Larrain, Michelle Mohabeer, Leila Sujir, and Zainub Verjee in conversation with Midi Onodera.
Sylvia Hamilton is an award-winning Nova Scotian filmmaker, writer, artist and educator. Her films include Black Mother Black Daughter, Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia, Portia White: Think on Me, and The Little Black School House. Widely recognized, they have been broadcast in Canada and have screened at national and international festivals. She was the co-creator of New Initiatives in Film (NIF), a program designed to provide women of colour and Indigenous women with opportunities to make films at the National Film Board of Canada’s Studio D (the Women’s Studio). She held Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University and chaired the Board of the Women in Media Foundation where she led the creation of programs for girls and women to increase their participation in visual media. Hamilton’s multi-media installation, Excavation/Here We Are Here, has exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Dalhousie Art Gallery. She held the Rogers Chair in Communications at the University of King’s College where she is now an Inglis Professor Emeritus. She is the recipient of the 2019 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media and the Documentary Organization of Canada’s Doc Institute’s Luminary Award. Tender, her newest poetry collection, was released in 2023 by Gaspereau Press.
Who holds the camera? Who holds the microphone? These are two essential questions we always have to ask when thinking about telling women’s stories in their own voices, from their own points of view. Much of my work has revolved around finding ways to provide women and girls with the tools of production. From the creation of Black Mother Black Daughter, helmed by an all-female production team, to the co-creation of New Initiatives in Film (NIF), a program within the National Film Board’s Studio D, to leading the Women in Media Foundation, my goal has always been to find those ways and strategies. In this talk, I will look back and look forward.
Sunil Gupta (Professorial Fellow- Fine art and Photography- at The University for the Creative Arts, Farnham is an artist, academic researcher and curator who has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. He was an active participant in the ‘Black Arts’ movement in the UK in the 1980s and a co-founder (1990) of Autograph-Association of Black Photographers, London, and a holder of one of the three founding curatorial franchises of INIVA in London.
Roshini Kempadoo (Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media [CREAM] PhD programme Director, University of Westminster) and a photographer and media artist who interprets, analyzes and re-imagines historical experiences and memories as women’s visual narratives within the focus of migration, and active in the ‘Black Arts’ movement in the UK in the 1980s and instrumental to the founding of Autograph Association of Black Photographers, London.
Critical Decades to Come: Imaging Future Lives
International photographers Sunil Gupta and Roshini Kempadoo contributed to the formation of Autograph the Association of Black Photographers and Iniva in the UK (1980s onwards), continue to visualise the colonial aftermath that lives on in Britain, Canada, India and the Caribbean. Gupta and Kempadoo also contribute to a network of practitioners working in India and the Caribbean around critical questions of historic, current discrimination, extractivism and violence. This contribution explores early photography work done by Gupta and Kempadoo that helped generate cultural debates around photography’s role in visualising racialised injustices and helped expose deep and significant differences inherent in debates about the politics of blackness. Here we simultaneously recognise photography as a deeply problematic form that visualised the colonial subject with a contradictory contribution as a liberatory and transformative visualisation tool for global south cultures.