A unique partnership with
our local theatre, Canadian Stage

2020 was the year when Jamii and Canadian Stage, both based in the The Esplanade & St Lawrence neighbourhoods, made a powerful commitment to one another and  to the community.  They joined forces with the intention of growing capacity and leveraging resources, which is meant to increase the quality of the collective arts experience, for the Esplanade community.

Our first year of partnership was extremely fruitful with a series of projects and events that brought people together (physically-distanced) despite a global pandemic.

Some of these projects include:

"Kisanii Hub" - Itinerant performances

"Unlocked" - an art video project

National Indigenous Peoples' Day - performances

Multiculturalism Day - performances

"Hisia" - performances

and our "Kisanii Hub" Research Project

Itinerant performances
Kisanii Hub - Spring 2020
 

As one may guess, in March 2020, COVID-19 had shaken Jamii to its core by greatly limiting social connection, which remains at the centre of what we do.  In the Spring of 2020, while it was of the utmost importance that we all practiced physical distancing, both Jamii and Canadian Stage believed that it was (and continue to be) our social responsibility to care for our community during such extraordinary times.

With the intent of encouraging people to stay home, to practice physical distancing and focusing on bettering our community's residents mental health, Canadian Stage supported Jamii in presenting a series of free, live performances to the neighbourhood doorsteps. Our goal was to uplift all residents spirits as we collectively faced (and continue to face) the challenges of social isolation.

 

In the Spring of 2020. these live, itinerant performances brought to all with the "Kisanii Hub" triggered a wide range of heartening emotions, encouraged a sense of community, while generally letting people know that we are always here for each other, no matter where we may find them, even if in their home.

Canadian Stage co-presented with Jamii the following performances:

April 1: Leen Hamo & Iman Abdul Razzak

April 23: Alessandro Montelli 

May 3rd: Jeremiah Sparks - also in partnership with Building Roots

*May 13th: Lua Shayenne

*May 20th: Arlene Paculan

*June 4th: Cleon Wong, Ayelen Liberona, Malavika Santhosh, Ekaterina

*sponsored by RBC

Unlocked
 
An art video project created in 2020 
during and about the impacts of the Covid-19 global pandemic

International & National Awards:

-Five Continents International Film Festival #42 (Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela): Best Experimental Short Film, Special Mention Cinematography Short Film, Special Mention Editing Short Film, Special Mention Original Score Short Film.

-Canada Shorts: Award of Distinction.

-Docs Without Borders Film Festival (Nassau, USA): Exceptional Merit

Official Selection:

-Yellowknife International Film Festival (Canada)

-Diversity Feedback Film Festival (New York, USA)

-Better Cities Film Festival (New York, USA)

-Docs Without Borders Film Festival (Nassau, USA)

"Unlocked: A Flow of Colourful Connections in Lockdown" is a short film/art video that captures the personal journey of eleven women during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

In the Spring of 2020, in partnership with Canadian Stage, eleven women were asked to express, artistically, how months of isolation had affected their sense of identity. In answering the question, “what is left of me,” each participant, multi-generational and all residents of the Esplanade community, were paired with a professional artist to assists them in the creation process. Filmed entirely in the Esplanade neighbourhood, we shot the award winning short film in the middle of the road, in a living room, under balconies, in the park, etc.  These interwoven stories expressed feelings of joy and comfort, melancholy and hope, loss and love through the vehicles of poetry, song, dance, sculpture, painting and photography.

"Unlocked" was premiered at the Berkeley Castle Courtyard in July 2020 and has since won several awards.

Full information and credits HERE.

 
National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration
June 21st, 2020

On June 21, 2020, it was our deepest honour to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in David Crombie Park.

We were blessed with traditional drumming, singing and dancing by Blackfoot Standing, Michele Perpaul, Bri Briskool Marie, Nimkii Osawamick, Danny Mckenna, and Maria Bonaparte.

 

We, along with Canadian Stage, were able to provide a space for audience members, residents and passerbys to interact and learn dance moves, music rhythms and Indigenous traditions, all while maintaining their physical distance. 

We would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des arts du Canada for their support.

photos: Gillian Mapp