Johnson Ngo

© Johnson Ngo, Odalisque, 2010. Photo Henry Chan.


Johnson Ngo is a Toronto-based artist who works in performance and sculpture. Ngo’s research explores connections and disjunctions between his gaysian identity and Western queer culture. Recent exhibitions include Art Gallery of Windsor, Nuit Blanche, Spark Contemporary Art Space, Toronto Free Gallery/7a*11d, Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Art Centre, Mississauga Living Arts Centre, and Hart House. Ngo completed a two year curatorial residency at the Blackwood Gallery. Currently, Ngo works in the Public Programming & Learning department at the Art Gallery of Ontario and is a board member of C Magazine.

MC Coble

USA / Sweden

MC Coble (they/them) seeks to make visible the hidden/ignored histories and contemporary urgencies of marginalized communities, informed in part, by their own experiences as a non-binary trans* artist, activist and educator. Photography, performance art, video and recently drawing form a material foundation for their critical and intersectional approach to thinking along with queer & trans* feminist politics, investigating the power of play and the potential of failure as methods. Often working site-specifically, research-based and collectively are integral to Coble’s ways of working. Coble’s artistic activities not only involve creating performances and other art works, but also leading and engaging in workshops, making publications, and community organizing.

Coble has recently published the book Things Change Anyway (in collaboration with their partner, art historian Louise Wolthers), which won the Swedish Photobook Prize 2024. Through photos, drawing and text, it imagines metamorphosis such as non-binary gender affirmations, menopause and aging as well has non-human connectivity and queer kinship. Coble lives and works in Gothenburg, Sweden and currently has a two year working grant from the Swedish Arts Council.

Zanette Singh


Zanette Singh is a Toronto based sculpture and drawing artist. Her work, often humorously, explores the intricate interiors of the psyche, from existential death anxiety to the most absurd and sacred dream worlds and locates this within the queer racialized body. She is a Creative Director at CUE, an award-winning arts initiative dedicated to providing high-access arts funding and support to new generation artists living and working on the margins.   

Dainty Smith


Dainty Smith is a Toronto based Actor, Burlesque Performer, Writer, Producer, and Speaker. Dainty believes that through the art of storytelling and a willingness to be exposed that genuine human connections can be made. Her performances often tell deeply vulnerable stories regarding race, religion, sexuality and challenging social boundaries. Dainty took performing arts at George Brown College and is a powerful self taught storyteller, performer, and orator. She acted in the acclaimed theatre group Les Blues and has starred in two short films: How To Stop A Revolution, and Red Lips (Cages for Black Girls). Her diverse array of stage performances include the Mayworks Festival, Gladstone Hotel, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the Tranzac, Artscape, and Daniels Spectrum Theatre.

Over the past decade Dainty has brought her utterly raw, emotional artistry to her burlesque performances. She co-produced the performance art collective Colour Me Dragg and founded Les Femme Fatales: Women of Colour burlesque troupe, the only burlesque troupe for women of colour in Canada. Her performances have been showcased at Rock. Paper. Sistahz, the Rhubarb Festival, Harbourfront Centre, Killjoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Haunted House conceived by Allyson Mitchell and countless venues throughout the city of Toronto. Recently, her speaking engagements have included workshops with women and youth on themes of empowerment, glamour, beauty, self love and self care as revolutionary acts. She has taught workshops at Ryerson University, University of Ottawa, and York University on radical body positivity, survival and thriving.Dainty has written for Sway magazine, Lover Magazine, About magazine, Xtra! Newspaper, Sage Blog, Shameless Magazine and The Witness Journal.

Ariel Smith

Cree / Canada

Ariel Smith is an urban nēhiyaw iskwew (plains Cree woman), a self-taught filmmaker, video artist, writer and cultural worker currently based on unceded Algonquin territory, Ottawa, Ontario. She has shown at festivals and galleries internationally including: Images Festival (Toronto), Mix Experimental Film Festival (NYC), Urban Shaman (Winnipeg), MAI (MontrĂ©al), Gallery Sans Nom (Moncton), Santa Fe Indian Market (Santa Fe, New Mexico), Solid Screens (Cairns, Australia) and Cold Creation Gallery (Barcelona, Spain).

She has written essays and articles on the subjects of Indigenous media arts as self determination and on gendered colonial violence for Concordia University, The Ottawa Art Gallery, The Ottawa International Animation Festival, Bitch Flicks, and the Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society Journal. Ariel is a programmer and arts educator for the imagineNATIVE film and media arts festival and is the director of National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition (NIMAC).

Ariel’s lived experiences with difference and marginalization form the basis for much of her work. Interested in the political and social forces that affect the lives of girls and women, she investigates these themes, resulting in anti-essentialist, tongue-in-cheek commentaries which embody the grotesque feminine, while at the same time challenge the negative patriarchal perception of the feminine-as monstrous.

Chy Ryan Spain


Chy Ryan Spain is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer, activist, organizer, writer, and educator originally from Philadelphia. Spain is a graduate of Swarthmore College with a degree in Education and English Literature. Since moving to Toronto in 2005, he has held positions at Parkdale Project Read as an Adult Literacy Worker, and as Youth Program Coordinator at both the Art Gallery of Ontario and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. He regularly performs with Toronto’s premiere women of colour burlesque troupe, Les Femmes Fatales, as an acrobatic pole dancer and burlesque artist under the moniker Axel Blows, and holds the inaugural title of Toronto’s Bent Beauty Supreme. In 2013, Spain was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award along with his fellow ensemble members for their work in Of a Monstrous Child: A Gaga Musical (EcceHomo). Other select theatre credits include: pool (water) (Cue6 Productions); Small Axe (Project Humanity); The Queer Bathroom Stories (Libido Productions); The Pastor Phelps Project: A Fundamentalist Cabaret (Ecce Homo); and his original, one-man performance piece The Price of Bleach (Rhubarb, 2007).

Jefferson Pinder


As an interdisciplinary artist, I create performances, video work, and objects that challenge viewers to think critically about our highly polarized society. I explore the tangle of representations and misrepresentations, visual tropes, and myths—referencing historical events and invoking cultural symbolism. My work features stylized representations of performers working themselves through exhaustion to unveil genuine emotion. My ‘action videos’ depict physical prowess with the body. The participants, in turn, communicate narratives through the physical tasks they perform.

Inspired by the symbiosis of music and the moving image, I portray the black body both frenetically and through drudgery in order to convey relevant cultural experiences. To get to the essence of this conversation, I place no restrictions on the tools that I employ as an artist, working with materials as disparate as neon lighting and found items in my sculptural stylizations. I find ways in which reclaimed materials convey rugged histories, relating them to a Black American experience.

Jefferson Pinder is an interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago, USA. He holds an MFA (Painting and Mixed Media) and a BA (Theatre) from the University of Maryland. His sculpture, videos and performance works have been exhibited and presented widely across the US. Currently he is an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Allyson Mitchell


Allyson Mitchell is a maximalist artist working in sculpture, performance, installation and film. Her practice melds feminism and pop culture to investigate contemporary ideas about sexuality, autobiography and the body, largely through the use of reclaimed textile and abandoned craft. These articulations have resulted in a coven of lesbian feminist Sasquatch monsters, a room-sized Vagina Dentata, an army of super genius Holly Hobbies and a woodland utopic library complete with a wishing well of forbidden political knowledge. Her works have exhibited in galleries and festivals across Canada, the US and Europe, including Tate Modern, the Textile Museum of Canada, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, Walker Art Center, The British Film Institute, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario. She is a Professor in the School of Women’s Studies at York University. She is represented by Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects and she runs F.A.G Feminist Art Gallery with Deirdre Logue.

Armando Minjarez

MONOMYTHS artist portrait, 2016. Photo by Henry Chan.

Mexico / USA

Armando Minjarez is a Mexican visual artist and social justice activist whose interest and work is focused on immigrant rights. He immigrated to the USA as a teenager and soon became involved in the Kansas immigrant struggle and the national campaign calling for the passing of the DREAM Act in 2004. In the same year, he become the first undocumented student at Garden City Community College to enroll through the In-State tuition legislation passed in Kansas. With a vast curiosity and passion for justice, Armando was the founding organizer for the Southwest Chapter of Hispanos Unidos in 2006, eventually working as a community organizer. He has since been active as an activist and spokesperson for the immigrant justice movement at local state and national level. Armando has led thousands of community leaders, from across the country, to be face-to-face with decisions makers debating the fate of millions of immigrants in the US. 

He graduated from Kansas State University with a BFA in 2012. Armando has moved his organizing experience into the art world, evolving into a multidisciplinary social practice. Collaboration and community engagement are guiding themes as he facilitates safe spaces for the development of social change strategy and personal growth in the organizing field at The Seed House ~ La Casa de la Semilla, where he is co-founder. Armando is also the founder of the artists collective ICT ARMY of Artists, creating public art addressing social justice issues. He has facilitated trainings and workshops nationally and internationally, and his community engaged art projects have been featured in national media such as New York Times and Buzzfeed. He is a communications fellow at the Opportunity Agenda, Creative Change alumnus and has been awarded grants by the Puffin Foundation, Wichita Cultural Funding Committee and the Kansas Humanities Council.

Deirdre Logue


Deirdre Logue holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from Kent State University. Recent exhibitions of her award winning work have taken place at Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Open Space in Victoria, Oakville Galleries, the Images Festival in Toronto, the Berlin International Film Festival, Beyond/In Western New York, YYZ and at articule in Montreal. Logue has contributed over 25 years to working with artist-run organizations dedicated to media arts exhibition and distribution.

She was a founding member of Media City, the Executive Director of the Images Festival, Executive Director of the CFMDC and is currently the Development Director at Vtape. Logue has been dedicated to working at the Independent Imaging Retreat (the Film Farm) in Mount Forest Ontario since 1997 and directs the F.A.G Feminist Art Gallery with her partner/collaborator Allyson Mitchell.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle

Metis/Cree Nation / Canada

Cheryl L’Hirondelle is an Alberta-born, Metis/Cree, interdisciplinary artist and singer/songwriter. Since the early 1980s, L’Hirondelle has created, performed and presented work in a variety of artistic disciplines, including music, performance art, theatre, performance poetry, storytelling, installation, and new media. Her creative practice investigates a Cree worldview (nĂȘhiyawin) in contemporary time-space. L’Hirondelle develops endurance-based performances, interventions, site-specific installations, interactive projects, and keeps singing, making rhythm, songs, dancing, and telling stories whenever and wherever she can. She has performed and exhibited her work widely both in Canada and abroad, and her previous musical efforts and new media work have garnered her critical acclaim and numerous awards.

Serena Lee


Serena Lee is an artist and researcher from Toronto. Layering forms, she maps power, perception, and belonging through polyphonic models. Serena practises, presents, facilitates, and collaborates internationally; she works in education and holds an MFA from the Piet Zwart Institute in the Netherlands and an Associate Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

© Serena Lee, Rise and Fall, 2017. Photo Henry Chan.

Ursula Johnson

Mi’kmaw / Canada

Ursula Johnson holds a BFA (2006) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she studied photography, drawing and textiles. She also studied Theatre at Cape Breton University. Johnson descends from a long line of Mi’kmaw Artists, including her late Great-Grandmother, Caroline Gould, from whom she learned basket making. In 2010 she curated Klokowej: A 30-Year Retrospective commemorating Gould’s contribution to the evolution of Mi’kmaw basketry. Ursula Johnson’s approach to basketry is typical of her transformational practice. Rather than simply imitating traditional Mi’kmaw basket forms she uses traditional techniques to build subtly non-functional forms—objects that are clearly traditionally based yet raised to a metaphorical level of signification, as works of art. Several of her performances, including Elmiet (2010) and Basket Weaving (2011) incorporate basketry as a key element.

Her background in theatre is evident in her public performances. People who attend Johnson’s performances are often surprised to find themselves no longer spectators, but actors in a social situation. Instead of the private, contemplative response we usually expect from the encounter with a work of art, we become participants in collective interpretations and collaborative actions.

Jasmyn Fyffe


Jasmyn Fyffe is a Toronto-based dancer and choreographer. She is the director of Jasmyn Fyffe Dance since 2008 and has produced shows both independently and in collaboration with other choreographers in Montreal, New York, and Toronto. Past works include Into the Roots
Beyond the Leaves (in collaboration with Vivine Scarlett), Gimme One Riddim (in collaboration with Natasha Powell, presented at the Enwave Theatre as part of NextSteps, Harbourfront Centre) and she is the recipient of a Frankie Award (MontrĂ©al, 2013) for outstanding choreography/choreographer for Pulse which was presented at the Wave Rising Series, PULSE Dance Conference, Montreal Fringe Festival and Next Stage Theatre Festival (Toronto).

As an independent dancer, Jasmyn has performed in the touring musical UMOJA and has danced for Grammy Award winning artist Nelly Furtado. She has worked with: Gadfly, Hanna Kiel, Vanessa Jane Kimmons, Red Sky Performance, Artists in Motion, Dance Migration, K’aeja d’Dance, KasheDance, Linda Garneau and international music sensation Kirk Franklin. Jasmyn has been commissioned by Dance Ontario, Iona Secondary School, City Dance Corps youth company, Earl Haig Secondary School, Ballet Jorgen, Mayfield Secondary School, Martha Hicks School of Ballet, Pivotal Motion Dance Theatre, York Memorial Collegiate Institute, Wish Opera, Dance Ontario, Cawthra Park Secondary School, Cathedral Productions, Obsidian Theatre, Dramatic Change Youth Theatre, Oakwood Collegiate Institute and Copper Coin Arts Association. 

Staceyann Chin

MONOMYTHS artist portrait, 2017. Photo by Henry Chan.


Staceyann Chin is a spoken-word poet, performance artist, and activist. She is of Chinese-Jamaican and Afro-Jamaican descent and her work often discusses her struggles of growing up as lesbian and multiracial in Jamaica. She uses her work to question the oppression and the limitations of identity, race, class, sexuality and belonging. Her work has been profiled in more than 21 newspapers, journals and magazines such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and the Pittsburgh Daily and her poems can be found in numerous publications. She has been interviewed and featured on CNN, 60 Minutes and the Oprah Winfrey Show as well as several other cable network television programmes. She is the author of The Memoir: The Other Side Of Paradise.

DaniĂšle Dennis


DaniĂšle Dennis’ experiences as an African-Canadian woman inform her practice and prompt her investigation of racial, cultural and identity issues primarily through performance, material exploration and installation. She actively attempts new ways to disrupt and dismantle social norms and constructs, employing repetition and process-based experimentation to the use of everyday and often abject elements such as hair and food. Her work seeks to trigger within the viewer critical thought, self-reflection, and dialogue around uncomfortable yet relevant subject matters.

Dennis obtained her Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2015, with a Specialist in Studio Art and a minor in Art History. She was born and raised in Montréal and currently works in Toronto. Dennis is also a co-founder of Y+ contemporary in Toronto.

Eliza Chandler


Earning her PhD from the Social Justice and Education department at the University of Toronto in 2014, Eliza Chandler was dually appointed as the Artistic Director at Tangled Art + Disability, an organization in Toronto dedicated to the cultivation of disability arts, and the postdoctoral research fellow in Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies from 2014-2016. During this time she was the also the founding Artistic Director of Tangled Art Gallery, Canada’s first art gallery dedicated to showcasing disability art and advancing accessible curatorial practice. Chandler is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University. She is the co-director of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded partnership project, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life. This seven-year, multi-partnered research project considers the close relationship between art, accessibility, and social change as it contributes to the development of activist art, aesthetics, curriculum, and accessible curatorial practices across Canada. Chandler sits on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Arts Council and is a practicing disability artist and curator. She recently co-curated the group exhibitionBodies in Translation: Age and Creativity at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery and recent publications include Disability Arts and Re-Worlding Possibilities, a/b: Auto-Biographic Studies (2018). Chandler regularly give lectures, interviews, and consultations related to disability arts, accessible curatorial practices, and disability politics in Canada.

Nao Bustamante

MONOMYTHS artist portrait, 2016. Photo by Henry Chan.


Nao Bustamante is an internationally known artist, originally from the San Joaquin Valley of California; cutting her teeth as an artist in the San Francisco “Art Scene” between 1984-2001. She attended San Francisco Art Institute, where she fell under the influence of the notorious New Genres Department. Bustamante’s at times precarious and radically vulnerable work encompasses performance art, video installation, visual art, filmmaking, and writing.

Bustamante has presented in Galleries, Museums, Universities and underground sites all around the world. She has exhibited, among other locales, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the New York Museum of Modern Arts, Sundance 2008, 2010, and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. Her movies have been shown at venues and festivals across the globe, including OUTFEST – Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, MIX New York City, MIX Brasil, and the London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Bustamante is popularly known for her appearance in the Bravo Network television show A Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, where she made her mark as a messy and complex character. 

The Theatre Communications Group in the book, Out of the Fringe, as well as the Theatre Drama Review, published by the MIT Press, has published Bustamante. In 2000 she received the GLBT Historical Society Arts Award. In 2001 she received the prestigious Anonymous Was a Woman fellowship and in 2007 named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, as well as a Lambent Fellow. In 2008 She received the Chase Legacy award in Film (In conjunction with Kodak and HBO). And was the Artist in Residence of the American Studies Association in 2012. In 2013, Bustamante was awarded the (Short-term) CMAS-Benson Latin American Collection Research Fellowship and also a Makers Muse Award from the Kindle Foundation.  Currently Bustamante is the Queer Artist in Residence at UC Riverside and preparing for an upcoming solo exhibit at Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles. Bustamante’s video work is in the Kadist Collection.

Bustamante is alum of the San Francisco Art Institute, New Genres program and the Skowhegen School of Painting and Sculpture as a Video Fellow. Currently she holds the position of Associate Professor of New Media and Live Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

Tamyka Bullen


Tamyka Bullen is a POC Deaf feminist based in Toronto who is a social conscious artist and a social activist. She was involved in different organizations to educate about women issues/Deaf issues/Deaf LGBT issues for many years. In 2015 she launching a body care business that sell soaps, lip balms, body creams and other items to honour the Mother Earth. 

Maria Hupfield

Anishinaabe / Wasauksing First Nation / Canada

Maria Hupfield recently relocated from Brooklyn to Toronto to accept the position of Canadian Research Chair of Transdisciplinary Indigenous Arts at the University of Toronto. She is Anishinaabe and a citizen of Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario. Hupfield was awarded the Hnatyshyn Foundation prize for outstanding achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist (2018) and received a Lucas Artists Fellowship in Visual Arts, Architecture & Design (2019-2020). She is a Guest Curator for the Artist of Color Council Movement Research at Judson Church Winter 2020 Season, and an inaugural resident of the Surf Point Foundation Residency 2020, recently with a solo exhibition entitled, Nine years Towards the Sun at the Heard Museum (December, 2019).

Tanya Mars

© Tanya Mars, CRONE, 2017. Photo by Henry Chan.

USA / Canada

Tanya Mars is a feminist performance artist who has been involved in the Canadian art scene since 1973. She was a founding member and director of Powerhouse Gallery (La Centrale) in Montreal (the first women’s art gallery in Canada), editor of Parallelogramme magazine for 13 years, and very active in ANNPAC (the Association of National Non-Profit Artist-run Centres) for 15 years. She has also been an active member of other arts organizations since the early 70’s. Her work is often characterized as visually rich layers of spectacular, satirical feminist imagery. She has performed widely across Canada, and internationally: Svalbard, Chile, Mexico City, Sweden, Denmark, France, China, Finland and the US.

She is co-editor with Johanna Householder of Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women (2004), and More Caught in the Act (2016), both published by YYZ books and partners. She was a member of the 7a*11d (1998-2022) that produces a bi-annual International Festival of Performance Art in Toronto.

In 2004, Mars was named Artist of the Year for the Untitled Arts Awards in Toronto. She is the recipient of a 2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and was an International Artist in Residence at La CitĂ© Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2008. In addition, a book on her work published by FADO and edited by Paul Couillard, Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars, was launched in 2008.

In the 70s and 80s Mars’ work focused on creating spectacular feminist imagery that placed women at the centre of the narrative.  Since the mid-90s her performances have included endurance, durational and site-specific strategies. Her work is political, satirical and humorous. She has worked both independently and collaboratively to create both large-scale as well as intimate performances. Recent work reflects on our complicity in the world of excess and consumption in the face of economic collapse, as well as the impact of aging on the female body.

She recently retired from teaching at the University of Toronto Scarborough after 25 years and currently lives off-grid in Middle Ohio, N.S. She has one daughter and 3 grandsons. She is looking forward to whatever comes next, post-retirement, post-covid-19.

Ravyn/Jelani Ade-Lam Wngz


Ravyn/Jelani Ade-Lam Wngz is a graduate of the School Of Toronto Dance Theatre and Ballet Creole Professional Training Program. He has received two full scholarships to the American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive and has performed with InDance, Xing Dance Theatre, Earth In Motion, and Ballet Creole. She is a co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company–a queer multiracial dance company that aims to change the landscape of dance and provide accessible affirming dance education to the LGBTTIQQ2S community. They are the creator of (OVA) Outrageous Victorious Africans Collective a Dance/Theatre collective that share the contemporary voices of Black/African and Queer/Self Identified storytellers and strive to honour reveal and share their stories of resilience, Voice, and Pride.

Syrus Marcus Ware

© Syrus Marcus Ware, MONOMYTHS, Training Sessions for Freedom Fighters, 2016. Photo Henry Chan.


Syrus is a visual artist, activist, curator and educator. He is the Coordinator of the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Program and a facilitator/designer at The Banff Centre. Syrus is the inaugural Daniel’s Spectrum Artist-in-Residence (2016/17). As a visual artist, Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, and The Gladstone Hotel. Syrus’ recent curatorial projects include That’s So Gay: On the Edge (Gladstone Hotel, 2015 & 2014), Re:Purpose (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2014) and The Church Street Mural Project (Church-Wellesley Village, 2013).

He is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza as part of Mayworks 2014. Syrus is part of Blackness Yes! and co-produces Blockorama at Pride and other related events throughout the year. For 17 years, Syrus hosted the weekly radio segment, Resistance on the Sound Dial on CIUT 89.5FM. He is a prison abolitionist, is a former member of Friends of MOVE Toronto and the Prisoners’ Justice Action Project, and is one of the organizers of Toronto’s Prisoners’ Justice Day events.

Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005) and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award for LGBT community leadership and activism (2012). In 2009, Syrus coedited the Journal of Museum Education issue Building Diversity in Museums with Gillian McIntyre. Syrus’ writings on trans health, disability studies and activism are part of curricula at City University of New York, York University, and Ryerson University. Syrus holds degrees in Art History, Visual Studies and a Masters in Sociology and Equity Studies, University of Toronto. Syrus is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.

Michelle M. Wright


Dr. Michelle M. Wright is Professor of African American Studies & Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University, where she teaches courses on Black European literature and cultures as well as gender and sexuality in the African and Black Diasporas. She is the author of two books, Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2004) and Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). In addition to many articles and essays on understanding Black identities through gender, humour, visual arts, technology, and postwar histories, she is the co-editor with Jodi Byrd of Critical Insurgencies, a new book series in collaboration with the Critical Ethnic Studies Association and Northwestern University Press.

MONOMYTHS portrait of Michelle M. Wright, 2016 © Photo Henry Chan.

claude wittmann

© claude wittmann, Legs, Too, 2015. Photo Henry Chan.


claude wittmann was born in Switzerland where he worked as a molecular biologist and now lives in Toronto; works as a bicycle mechanic and in performance art; has performed in festivals, in curated events, in self-produced pieces, and in the public space; in butoh-based solos, in intent-based durational process work, in body-directed although very psychological gender identity work, in improvised voice/noise/sound experiments and improvisations, during teaching and on live FM and internet radio. his most recent projects include Radio-Equals (one-on-one egalitarian conversations about equality, broadcast on FM radio and/or internet radio) and 2894 (participative reading on an internet radio of the Truth and Reconciliation’s Commission report). claude is concerned by the (in)ability of art in triggering social change.

Marilyn Arsem


Marilyn Arsem has been creating live events since 1975, ranging from solo performances to large scale, site-specific works incorporating installation and performance. Arsem has presented work at festivals, alternative spaces, galleries, museums and universities in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asian. In 2016 she completed a 100-day performance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Many of her works are durational in nature, and minimal in actions and materials. Created in response to the site, they engage with the immediate landscape and materiality of the location, its history, use, or politics. Arsem has often focused on designing site-specific events for audiences of a single person, allowing her to explore the unique properties of live performance: the possibility of direct interaction between performer and audience; the opportunity to engage the audience’s full range of senses including taste, touch and smell; and addressing the implications of the temporal nature of the live event, which can be retained only in memory. The performances often hover at the edge of visibility, creating an experience in which the viewer must stretch her or his perceptual capacities to their furthest limits.

She has been the recipient of numerous grants, including a Research Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society, 1997; a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Theater Fellowship, 1994; an Artists’ Projects: New Forms Initiative Award, 1992, from the New England Foundation for the Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Fellowship in New Genres, 1991.

Her work has been reviewed in many publications including The New York Times (Dunning, 1994), Parachute (Todd, 1998), Text and Performance Quarterly (Anderson, 1994), Women and Performance Journal (Todd, 1996; Parker, 1988), P-Form (Askanas, 1998, 1994), New Art Examiner (Abell, 1992), and High Performance (Engstrom, 1991; Sparks, 1990; Miller, 1990; Perez, 1986; Pederson, 1986; Sommer, 1985).

She is a member (and the founder) of Mobius, Inc., a Boston-based collaborative of interdisciplinary artists. She taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for 27 years, establishing one of the most extensive programs internationally in visually-based performance art.

© Marilyn Arsem, 2017. Photo Henry Chan.


Conceived and curated by Jess Dobkin and Shannon Cochrane

MONOMYTHS invites a diverse collection of artists, scholars, and activists to revise Joseph Campbell’s conception of the hero’s journey through performance art, lectures, workshops, and other offerings. This new assemblage of non-linear un-narratives proposes a cultural, political and social feminist re-visioning of the world. The MONOMYTHS perception of the universal journey dispels the notion of the lone patriarchal figure on a conquest to vanquish his demons–both inner and outer–in consideration of community, collectivity, and collaboration.

Joseph Campbell’s influential book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) prescribes a common pattern to all of the world’s mythic narratives. According to this fundamental structure, the archetypal hero is challenged to embark on a monumental quest. Over the course of the hero’s journey, trials and obstacles must be overcome until a victory is won and the hero returns home with new knowledge about himself and the world. Campbell’s concept of the monomyth (‘one myth’) is a recognizable motif in both ancient mythology and contemporary culture, including film, music, literature, sports, and advertising. A current trend in popular visual culture replaces the male character with a female one, in spite of the fact that our heroine–from the get-go–would make different choices if the conditions, and conditioning, allowed. While each MONOMYTHS stage stands alone, the work of each presenting artist is interdependent and connected. These independent visions, when stitched together through the audience’s collective presence, form an exquisite corpse of a larger experimental narrative.

The year-long MONOMYTHS project is presented in three sections starting in February 2016 and concluding in February 2017.

Part 1 (February 3–7, 2016)
Stage 1: The Ordinary World/Call to Adventure
Stage 2: Refusal of the Call
Stage 3: Meeting of the Mentor
Stage 4: Crossing the Threshold
Stage 5: Belly of the Whale

Part 2 (May 2016–January 2017)
Stage 6: Tests, Allies, Enemies
Stage 7: Ordeals
Stage 8: Atonement with the Father/State
Stage 9: Apotheosis/Journey to the Inmost Cave

Part 3 (February 15–19, 2017)
Stage 10: The Road Back
Stage 11: Refusal of the Return
Stage 12: Mistress of Two Worlds
Stage 13: Freedom to Live
Stage 14: The Return Home

Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan

MONOMYTHS artist portrait, 2016. Photo by Henry Chan.


Collaborators since 1989, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan are among Canada’s best-known performance artists. They were catapulted into the international spotlight in their 20s with the performance and film We’re Talking Vulva. Since then, their live work and videos have been exhibited in diverse venues as far-ranging as women’s centres in Sri Lanka to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This Winnipeg-based duo has created installations (such as Archaeology and You for the Royal Ontario Museum) and books (such as Bedtime Stories for the Edge of the World, Arbeiter Ring Press). To most, however, they are known simply as the Lesbian Rangers of Lesbian National Parks and Services. Their humourous, feminist and provocative works have been acclaimed as “one of the high-points of contemporary Canadian artistic production” (Border Crossings Magazine). Performance documentation and artifacts are held in the collections including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian History Museum, the DIA Centre and numerous university libraries across North America.

Artist Orange

Just as a performance artist uses their body as their medium, this is a fragrance composed entirely of the orange tree: fruit, leaves, bark, roots, and flowers. Artist Orange performs itself.

Top Notes

neroli, blood orange

Middle Notes

fresh orange juice, petit grain

Base Notes

orange twig, orange seed