Newcomer Week: Virtual Edition

While Newcomer Day festivities in Nathan Phillips Square have been cancelled this year, we will be spotlighting some of our members who are newcomer artists online throughout the week of May 18.

 As Newcomer Day festivities in Nathan Phillips Square have been cancelled due to COVID-19, Neighbourhood Arts Network is pleased to spotlight newcomer artists online from May 18-22. A week full of online activations showcasing films, music, and discussions by newcomer artists, Newcomer Week: Virtual Edition will showcase and honour the vibrancy that newcomer artists bring to Toronto’s cultural landscape.

Newcomer Week: Virtual Edition will convening organizations including Ontario Arts Council, JAYU, New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), Small World Music, and past recipients of Neighbourhood Arts Network’s RBC Newcomer Artist Award to present virtual activations through dynamic digital partnerships.


Monday May 18: "Ó:ia Enióhrhen’ne (The Day After Tomorrow)". Presented in partnership with Mahlikah Awe:ri on her Instagram Live @ 8 PM

Tuesday May 19: Online Exhibition Tour of exhibition “Extracolonial: Reflections for Action” at Sur Gallery on Zoom @ 6 PM

Wednesday May 20: "Establishing an Arts Practice in Canada". Presented in partnership with Ontario Arts Council on Zoom @ 1 PM

Thursday May 21: "In Conversation: International Arts Mentorship Experiences". Presented in partnership with with New York Foundation for the Arts on Zoom @ 6 PM

Friday May 22:  "Hear Me Out: Curated Playlist". Presented in partnership with Small World Music. Relaxed listening online, any time.

Additional: a listing of free online films by newcomer artists and/or on the theme of migration and settlement will be shared in partnership with JAYU and Regent Park Film Festival’s ‘Home Made Visible’ program.

Monday May 18: Ó:ia Enióhrhen’ne (The Day After Tomorrow)

Join us for "Ó:ia Enióhrhen’ne" on Monday, May 18th at 8pm EST for an Instagram Live Talk with Canadian Poet Of Honour Mahlikah Awe:ri and Musical Artist Saye Skye. This is the first in a series of LIVE events scheduled this week, which will be celebrating and acknowledging the contributions of Newcomers to Tkarón:to in the spirit of the Annual Newcomer Day. Ó:ia Enióhrhen’ne, which is the Kanien’kéha word for The Day After Tomorrow, is an engaging conversation between two dynamic Social Change Artivists who will explore what does it mean for Immigrants and Newcomers to search for belonging on stolen land, and ask what impact will COVID-19 and the “New Normal” have on Activism, Stewardship, and Indigenous Sovereignty. Hosted on Mahlikah's Instagram Live.

Due to technical limitations, this Instagram Live talk will not have live ASL interpretation. We will be adding closed captioning and ASL interpretation through video editing software and sharing it later on for increased accessibility.

Learn more here:

Tuesday May 19: Online Exhibition Tour of exhibition “Extracolonial: Reflections for Action” at Sur Gallery

Join us Tuesday, May 19 from 6-7:30 PM for an Online Exhibition Tour with Independent Curator and Gallery Administrator, Claudia Arana. She will share her perspective on 'Extracolonial: Reflections for Action', Sur Gallery's current online exhibition, and how she has adapted her skills and expertise due to COVID-19.

Claudia Arana is an Independent Curator, Visual Artist, and Cultural Connector who has installed her practice in the construction of artistic platforms that promote inclusion and diversity from different cultural perspectives. In Canada, she has established a career aimed at promoting a socially and politically viable artistic spectrum, where artists from different cultures are adequately represented and supported by both governmental institutions and non-profit organizations. She studied Art Theory and Critical Thinking at the School of Visual Arts and advanced Critique at the International Centre of Photography in New York. Currently, she is the Gallery Administrator at Sur Gallery, Toronto's first gallery space dedicated to promoting contemporary Latin American artistic practices. 

Sign up here:

Wednesday May 20: Establishing an Arts Practice in Canada with Ontario Arts Council

Presented in partnership with Ontario Arts Council, Establishing an Arts Practice in Canada is a moderated discussion between award recipients from Toronto Arts Foundation, Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council. Hear from Syrian musicians and founders of Diar and Music From Hope, Nour Kaadan and Tarek Ghriri, and Ali Saeedi, Deaf artist from Iran, as they discuss how they’ve developed their art practice, challenges, opportunities, developing networks/audiences, etc. and how they are faring under the current circumstances. 

Sign up here:

Thursday May 21: In Conversation: International Arts Mentorship Experiences

Presented in partnership with New York Foundation for the Arts, join Toronto-based performance artist Ahmed Moneka and New York- based dancer Martita Abril as they discuss their mentorship opportunities with mentor veteran William Huffman of Dorset Fine Arts. This digital dialogue between two newcomer artists- one based in New York and in Toronto- as they discuss their experiences as international artists, their creative practices, and their mentorship experiences.

This talk celebrates the values immigrant artists bring to the arts and culture sectors in Canada and USA by broadening our dialogue and celebrations to include not only Toronto-based artists but artists across North America.

Sign up here:

Friday May 22: Hear Me Out: Curated Playlist

Soothe yourself with sweet tunes co-curated by and including some of Small World Music’s eMERGEnce Cohort with this relaxed listening session.

Tune in on YouTubeSpotify & Soundcloud!

Relaxed Activations

Enjoy these free online films and podcasts by or about newcomers anytime, anywhere.

Regent Park Film Festival (RPFF) is a non-profit cultural and educational media arts organization. It is Toronto’s longest-running, free community film festival, and is the sole community film festival in Canada’s largest and oldest public housing neighbourhood. RPFF is dedicated to showcasing local and international independent works relevant to people from all walks of life. The key communities served are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, people who are low-income, people who live in public housing, and Regent Park residents. They offer year-round screenings, workshops and community events at no cost. The Festival was founded with the goal of providing Regent Park residents access to high quality films that resonate with their experiences. The Festival brings together the many diverse communities in the neighbourhood to enjoy and engage with film as a means of artistic expression and a catalyst for change.

Check out their suggestions:

JAYU is a registered Canadian charity and a leader in the space where the arts and human rights intersect. They believe strongly that the arts provide the strongest platform to share human rights stories. The arts can be used to educate, to build empathy, to heal, to forge community and to inspire the kinds of conversations necessary to reimagine a more just and equitable world. Guided by a dedicated team of staff, artists, educators and our Board of Directors, JAYU's year-round programming includes an annual Human Rights Film Festival, our iAM arts and social justice training program, The Hum Podcast and a Human Rights Screening Series.

Check out some of their newcomer-related content at the following links:

  • THE iAM FILM: In 2016 JAYU ran a photography training program for 25 refugee youth from the Middle East. It culminated in an exhibition where they shared about their lives. Two documentary filmmakers followed the project and created this film.
  • THE HUM PODCAST: This is JAYU's in-house made podcast that focuses on human rights and social justice. There are a number of episodes that feature newcomers, particularly refugees, including:
  1. EPISODE 1: Enoch, a North Korean refugee, describes what life was like under the regime, his journey across the ice cold Tumen River, the challenges he now faces as a refugee, and the bright lights that convinced him it was all worth it.
  2. EPISODE 16: Before becoming a world renowned hip-hop sensation and activist, Emmanuel Jal grew up as a child soldier in what is now known as South Sudan. He joins JAYU this week to talk about his childhood, how music provided an important platform for his cause, and Kanye West.
  3. EPISODE 19: Alice Kim was the daughter of two high ranking government officials in North Korea before defecting as a one year old. She joins JAYU this week to discuss how defecting from North Korea affected her family, the normalization of Kim Jong-un, and her hopes for an re-unified Korea.
  4. EPISODE 29: Scarlet Estrada is an activist from Venezuela and a relative of political prisoners under the Maduro regime. She joins JAYU to discuss the confusion around the Venezuelan crisis, reframing political prisoners as hostages, and why the rise of a dictatorship is like cooking a frog.
  5. EPISODE 34: Shaparak Shajarizadeh is a mother, asylum seeker, and an activist for women’s rights from Iran who now lives in Toronto. She joins JAYU to discuss Iran’s gender dynamics, her struggles with survivor’s guilt, and what Canada’s role should be in promoting gender equality.
  6. EPISODE 36: Mohamad Lazakani is a student, photographer, and Syrian refugee. He joins JAYU to discuss his experiences fleeing war, settling in Toronto, life after the inspirational news stories, and why he will always consider Syria home.