The Loon

Back to Life!

An Open Invitation

After a months-long pause, we are asking artists if they would want to contribute outdoor artworks for a permanent showing in the East end of the city. Any and all artworks are ok and welcome. Please read on for more information.

Artworks will be permanently installed outside at the ‘Back to Life’ Art Corridor, located near Eastern and Broadview in Toronto, ON. It is a half kilometer stretch of destitute gravel road that runs parallel to the downtown rail corridor, skirted with old chainlink fence. It is a site that has hosted temporary housing, artworks from members of our community, meetings, illegal dumping, drug use, and general and profound evasion. If you would like assistance or have requests for making an artwork hangable, ‘installable’, or more weather proof, the Loon will be happy to assist in any way possible. Please feel free to email me to ask questions or start a correspondence about this invitation, the particularities of the site, or the artwork you would like to make. All artworks will be installed during the entire month of October. I have attached a few photos of the site itself and of a photo of Joe Agana’s 2019 performance artwork in Atlanta, GA, titled Back to Life, after which the show and art corridor takes its name.

In the spirit of the abandoned house at 304 Albany Ave, and of the folks who lived there and made artworks during 2017, and in the spirit of Yolisa’s wonderful poem and this past February’s ‘I AM’ art celebration at the Loon, we would like to continue organizing and creating artwork in the houses, backallies and walls of Toronto.

There is a unique permanence in entering into a liminal contract of creation and exertion. Mostly nothing lasts in this city, but this artwork may last and the showing will certainly last forever. In March, there was a great rift in business-as-we-know-it; congratulations to those who raised hell and looted, who ran with the fringe, and to those who went outside in search of a return-ed and radicalized community that sprung out of the cracks, or that was always there. The Loon considered it thoroughly and I think many of you did as well, with a thoughtful and grave exuberance. An art show in October is not poised at re-entering the general calamity that was art before 2020. It is an attempt to ossify a years-long, collective dedication to existing in the margins, within the opportunity that exists in the margins. There is now clearly a great power in being around but un-shouted. The future looks decidedly under-reported and under-cared about. This is the strategy of marginality, as a site of preparedness for this future. Is it an artistic strategy? Not necessarily, but it is a strategy from which we will try to continue to make art and to find ourselves in places that co-exist effortlessly with the urgent abrasiveness that life produces. I do not lust for the place that art currently occupies. Art is aware, not through its subject or its theory, but through which its existence comes about and through which someone should happen upon its existence. The general, human sense that nothing should now remain the same is paramount. I somewhat struggle to write this invitation; while I ask you to come and join us in a celebration of art-making, I also want to ask you to help continue to build a Beloved Community through art, one that will exist now and well into an urgent, boiling future.

With this knowledge, it is with excitement that we will celebrate David Hammons ‘being on the invisible side of things’, the inclination to exert without rehearsed prompt and without rehearsed reward, and once again call out to a great spread of talented people we have the honor of knowing or half-knowing. Some of y’all are from Toronto, some are from other places in Canada, and even some of yall are from further around the globe. Some of yall don’t even have email addresses and all of this will be shared face to face. It was told for thousands of years (in prophecies and through the words of prophets) that truth is in the streets (the land) and with the folks who come together, as sister and brother and mother and father, join hands and yell at each other, scream and sing, and come walking out of the ragweed. Join us and make art and be in this place, it is a much better place to be.

Thanks for listening and hope to hear from you, in any capacity.