News

How I Learned to Serve Tea

A series of on-going workshops and creative consultations on the politics of capacity and resource sharing.

Created and facilitated by Shaista Latif in association with Koffler Centre for the Arts and Why Not Theatre.

There is an economy to everything; a cost, a transaction.

What we are able to give and to receive is influenced by our individual and collective understandings of class and identity.

Through acts of play and hospitality, multidisciplinary artist Shaista Latif invites workshop participants to reflect on differences of identity and to use these concepts as navigational tools rather than limitations..

Organizations, students, teachers, artists, and businesses are all invited to participate in this process of exploration aiming to interrogate systems of power, challenge assumptions, and inspire positive reflection and change in our communities.


Why Not Theatre, along with Koffler Centre for the Arts are working with Shaista Latif as an artist-in-residence throughout the year while she conducts this series of workshops. We first encountered Shaista during RISER 2016 and have been inspired by her work ever since. We are so pleased and proud to be able to support her research and process for a full year, unlocking the potential of her creative work by removing financial precarity from the equation.

At the workshops, participants are greeted by an array of carefully arranged items. Prompted to action by a series of questions, participants are encouraged to interact with the objects as a group. As implied in the name, tea is served – but the number of teacups is limited. Through facilitated dialogue, participants explore the dynamics of power as guest and host; aiming to understand what it takes to make space for others.

Through acts of play and hospitality, Shaista Latif encourages workshop participants to reflect on differences of identity and to use these concepts as navigational tools rather than limitations. Workshops will form the basis of an extended research process underpinning an exploratory public performance work or exhibit to be produced in 2020.

“This work is about class, authorship, agency and autonomy but I am no expert,” explains Shaista Latif. “Assessing the language of invitation and hosting, and how it translates into action is the foundation of How I Learned to Serve Tea. I choose to do this work by asking questions.” Read Latif’s full artist statement here.

Workshops are for groups of 5 to 40 people and run 1.5 – 3 hours each. Workshops are subsidized for qualifying organizations or collectives. No one turned away for lack of funds! Book your workshop now.

For more information or to book a workshop please contact: taliesin@theatrewhynot.org

Produced in association with:

    

 


About Shaista Latif
Shaista Latif is a Queer Afghan-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, consultant and facilitator. Her works have been presented by Koffler Gallery, Ontario Scene Festival, SummerWorks, Why Not Theatre, Blackwood Gallery, Mercer Union, the AGO, Halifax Queer Acts Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and recently the Undercurrents Festival. She is a published playwright (Playwrights Canada Press) and voiced the character Soraya in the Oscar-nominated film The Breadwinner. In 2020, Latif will be touring her critically acclaimed show The Archivist around Ontario. Her latest work Learning the Language of My Enemies was recently presented in conjunction with Nevet Yitzhak: WarCraft at the Koffler Gallery.

About Why Not Theatre
Why Not Theatre is an agile, international theatre company based in Toronto, Canada, rooted in the values of innovation, community and collaboration. Our work is inventive, cross-cultural, and reflects our passion for the exploration of difference. We challenge the status quo, by examining what stories are being told, and who is telling them. More than just a theatre company, we develop creative strategies to build a healthier and stronger arts ecology. We MAKE and tour critically-acclaimed and award-winning new work, SHARE resources with other companies and artists to produce and tour their work, and PROVOKE change through new producing models and the presentation of work for new audiences. We are led by a core team of Founding Artistic Director Ravi Jain, Managing Director Owais Lightwala, and Executive Producer Kelly Read.

Books & Ideas: Fall Season 2019

A year-round series featuring provocative writers, novelists & thinkers.

Koffler Centre of the Arts’ Books & Ideas series spotlights provocative writers, artists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and on-stage interviews.

With a thematic focus on counter-narratives, the fall series features books that employ memoir, poetry, and the graphic novel form as tools of resistance.

SINGLE EVENT TICKETS
$20 General Admission (per talk) | $10 Students/Underemployed (per talk)

SERIES TICKETS
$60 for all 4 talks | $30 Students/Underemployed

BUY SERIES TICKETS >


JENNY HEIJUN WILLS
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | 7 PM
CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St | $10–$20

Co-presented by Diaspora Dialogues

BUY EVENT TICKETS | BUY SERIES TICKETS

Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Korea and adopted as an infant into a white family in small-town Canada. In her late twenties, she reconnected with her first family and returned to Seoul. In her breathtaking new memoir, Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related, Wills traces her heartrending journey of reunion with her Korean mother, father, siblings, and extended family. Delving into gender, class, racial and ethnic complexities, the book describes in visceral lyrical prose the painful ripple effects that follow a child’s removal from a family and the rewards that flow from both struggle and forgiveness.

Presented with the support of Penguin Random House Canada.

Full details >


WAYDE COMPTON & APRIL DELA NOCHE MILNE
Sunday, October 6, 2019 | 3 PM
CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St
PAY WHAT YOU CAN $10–$20 | Students/Seniors FREE

BUY EVENT TICKETS | BUY SERIES TICKETS

With millions of people displaced each year by conflict, violence and persecution, migration is undoubtedly one of the critical issues of our times. In The Blue Road: A Fable of Migration, acclaimed poet and prose writer Wayde Compton and illustrator April de la Noche Milne’s graphic novel debut, a young migrant girl embarks on a treacherous journey only to discover that leaving, arriving and returning are all just different words for the same thing: starting over. Lacuna is a girl without a family, a past, or a proper home. She lives alone in a swamp made of ink, but with the help of Polaris, a will-o’-the-wisp, she embarks for the fabled Northern Kingdom, where she might find people like her. A tender and timely graphic novel for readers of all ages, The Blue Road explores the world from a migrant’s perspective with dreamlike wonder.

Full details >


FRANCINE CUNNINGHAM & HELEN KNOTT
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 | 7 PM
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto | 16 Spadina Rd
PAY WHAT YOU CAN $10–$20 | Students/Seniors FREE

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Francine Cunningham is constantly reminded that she doesn’t fit the desired expectations of the world as a white-passing, city-raised Indigenous woman with mental illness. In her debut poetry collection On/Me, Cunningham explores, with keen attention and poise, what it means to be forced to exist within the margins. In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience is Helen Knott’s unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.

Presented with the support of University of Regina Press, and Judith Moses & Peter Lyman.

Full details >


ABBY STEIN
Thursday, November 21, 2019 | 7 PM
CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St | $10–$20

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Trans activist Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe. As the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, Abby was poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews. However, from a young age, Abby felt certain that she was a girl. In her groundbreaking memoir Becoming Eve: My Journey From Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi To Transgender Woman, Abby traces her extraordinary coming-out story, from suppressing her desire for a new body, to looking for answers in forbidden religious texts, to orchestrating her final exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity – a radical choice that forced her to leave home, her family and way of life. Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?

Full details >


Books & Ideas Fall season presented in partnership with:

 

 

 

With generous support from Dorothy Shoichet & Family, the Estate of Joseph Koenig, the Koffler Family Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and CIBC Wood Gundy. 

Books & Ideas Media Partner:

Abby Stein

Thursday, November 21, 2019 | 7 PM
CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St | $10–$20

BUY EVENT TICKETS | BUY SERIES TICKETS

The Koffler is thrilled to present the Toronto launch of Abby Stein’s Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman.

Trans activist Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe. As the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, Abby was poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews. However, from a young age, Abby felt certain that she was a girl. In her groundbreaking memoir Becoming Eve: My Journey From Ultra- Orthodox Rabbi To Transgender Woman, Abby traces her extraordinary coming-out story, from suppressing her desire for a new body, to looking for answers in forbidden religious texts, to orchestrating her final exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity – a radical choice that forced her to leave home, her family and way of life. Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?

Abby Stein is the tenth-generation descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic movement. In 2015, Stein came out as a woman, and she now works as a trans activist. In 2019, she served on the steering committee for the Women’s March in Washington, DC, and she was named by the Jewish Week as one of the “36 Under 36” Jews who are affecting change in the world. She lives in New York City.


Koffler Centre of the Arts’ Books & Ideas series spotlights provocative writers, artists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and on-stage interviews.

With a thematic focus on counter-narratives, the fall series features books that employ memoir, poetry, and the graphic novel form as tools of resistance.


Books & Ideas Fall season presented in partnership with:

 

 

 

With generous support from Dorothy Shoichet & Family, the Estate of Joseph Koenig, the Koffler Family Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and CIBC Wood Gundy. 

Books & Ideas Media Partner:

Francine Cunningham & Helen Knott

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 | 7 PM
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto
16 Spadina Rd
PAY WHAT YOU CAN: $10–$20 | Students/Seniors: FREE | Individuals who identify as First Nations/Inuit/Métis: FREE

Co-presented by Diaspora Dialogues

BUY EVENT TICKETS | BUY SERIES TICKETS

The Koffler’s Books & Ideas Series is proud to present the Toronto launch of two powerful debut books by Indigenous women authors – Francine Cunningham & Helen Knott, in conversation with Jennifer Brant.

Francine Cunningham is constantly reminded that she doesn’t fit the desired expectations of the world as a white-passing, city-raised Indigenous woman with mental illness. In her debut poetry collection On/Me, Cunningham explores, with keen attention and poise, what it means to be forced to exist within the margins. In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience is Helen Knott’s unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.

Francine Cunningham is an award-winning Indigenous writer, artist, and educator originally from Calgary, Alberta but who currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Francine is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing from The University of British Columbia. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from UBC.

Helen Knott is a Dane Zaa, Nehiyaw, and mixed Euro-descent woman living in Fort St. John, British Columbia. In 2016 Helen was one of sixteen global change makers featured by the Nobel Women’s Initiative for being committed to end gender-based violence. Helen was selected as a 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author.

Jennifer Brant belongs to the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk Nation) with family ties to Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, and is an Assistant Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She is the co-editor of Forever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.

Presented with the support of University of Regina Press, and Judith Moses & Peter Lyman.


Koffler Centre of the Arts’ Books & Ideas series spotlights provocative writers, artists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and on-stage interviews.

With a thematic focus on counter-narratives, the fall series features books that employ memoir, poetry, and the graphic novel form as tools of resistance.


Books & Ideas Fall season presented in partnership with:

 

 

 

With generous support from Dorothy Shoichet & Family, the Estate of Joseph Koenig, the Koffler Family Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and CIBC Wood Gundy. 

Books & Ideas Media Partner:

Wayde Compton & April dela Noche Milne

Sunday, October 6, 2019 | 3 PM
CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St
PAY WHAT YOU CAN: $10–$20 | Students/Seniors: FREE

BUY EVENT TICKETS | BUY SERIES TICKETS

The Koffler’s Books & Ideas Series presents author Wayde Compton and illustrator April dela Noche Milne, in conversation with YA author Melanie J. Fishbane 

With millions of people displaced each year by conflict, violence and persecution, migration is undoubtedly one of the critical issues of our times. In The Blue Road: A Fable of Migration, acclaimed poet and prose writer Wayde Compton and illustrator April dela Noche Milne’s graphic novel debut, a young migrant girl embarks on a treacherous journey only to discover that leaving, arriving and returning are all just different words for the same thing: starting over. Lacuna is a girl without a family, a past, or a proper home. She lives alone in a swamp made of ink, but with the help of Polaris, a will-o’-the-wisp, she embarks for the fabled Northern Kingdom, where she might find people like her. A tender and timely graphic novel for readers of all ages, The Blue Road explores the world from a migrant’s perspective with dreamlike wonder.

Wayde Compton is the author of two books of poetry, 49th Parallel Psalm (Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize finalist) and Performance Bond. He also edited the anthology Bluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature and Orature. His non-fiction book After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, and Region was shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award, and his first work of fiction, The Outer Harbour, won the City of Vancouver Book Award. Wayde is the former director of the Writer’s Studio and the Southbank Writer’s Program at Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies. He currently teaches in the faculty of Creative Writing at Douglas College. He lives in Vancouver.

April dela Noche Milne is a Filipino Canadian artist based in Vancouver. She studied fine arts at Langara College and graduated with a BFA in illustration from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Her illustrations have been featured in Ricepaper, EVENT, and Briarpatch magazines. The Blue Road is her first graphic novel.

Melanie J. Fishbane holds an M.F.A. from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and an M.A. from Concordia University. With over seventeen years’ experience in children’s publishing, she also lectures internationally on children’s literature. Her essay, “My Pen Shall Heal, Not Hurt: Writing as Therapy in L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside and The Blythes Are Quoted,” is included in L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years 1911-1942. Her YA novel, Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 and was shortlisted for a Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature. Melanie teaches English at Humber College in Toronto.


Koffler Centre of the Arts’ Books & Ideas series spotlights provocative writers, artists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and on-stage interviews.

With a thematic focus on counter-narratives, the fall series features books that employ memoir, poetry, and the graphic novel form as tools of resistance.


Books & Ideas Fall season presented in partnership with:

 

 

 

With generous support from Dorothy Shoichet & Family, the Estate of Joseph Koenig, the Koffler Family Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and CIBC Wood Gundy. 

Books & Ideas Media Partner:

Jenny Heijun Wills

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | 7 PM
CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St | $10–$20

Co-presented by Diaspora Dialogues

BUY EVENT TICKETS | BUY SERIES TICKETS

The Koffler’s Books & Ideas Series presents author Jenny Heijun Wills.

Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Korea and adopted as an infant into a white family in small-town Canada. In her late twenties, she reconnected with her first family and returned to Seoul. In her breathtaking new memoir, Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related, Wills traces her heartrending journey of reunion with her Korean mother, father, siblings, and extended family. Delving into gender, class, racial and ethnic complexities, the book describes in visceral lyrical prose the painful ripple effects that follow a child’s removal from a family and the rewards that flow from both struggle and forgiveness. Jenny will be in conversation with author Carrianne Leung.

Jenny Heijun Wills has lived, studied, and worked in Toronto, Montreal, Boston, and Seoul and holds a PhD in English Literary Studies. She currently teaches at the University of Winnipeg.

Carrianne Leung is a fiction writer and educator. She holds a PhD in Sociology and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto. Her debut novel, The Wondrous Woo (Inanna Publications), and her recent collection of linked stories, That Time I Loved You (Harper Collins Canada) were both shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award.

Presented with the support of Penguin Random House Canada.


Koffler Centre of the Arts’ Books & Ideas series spotlights provocative writers, artists and thinkers, celebrating literary excellence and fostering critical dialogue through compelling book launches, author talks and on-stage interviews.

With a thematic focus on counter-narratives, the fall series features books that employ memoir, poetry, and the graphic novel form as tools of resistance.


Books & Ideas Fall season presented in partnership with:

 

 

 

With generous support from Dorothy Shoichet & Family, the Estate of Joseph Koenig, the Koffler Family Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council and CIBC Wood Gundy. 

Books & Ideas Media Partner:

Flowers generously provided by:

Koffler Couture 2019

December 7 – 9, 2019
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace | 180 Shaw St, Toronto

“a treasure-hunter’s dream” – Elle Canada
“the best place to score designer vintage in the city.” – She Does the City

Toronto’s best designer & vintage clothing and accessory sale returns for a sixth year! Fantastic deals on thousands of items for both women and men – starting as low as $5 – designer clothes, shoes, jackets, shirts, blazers, handbags, hats, belts and more.

EARLY ACCESS SHOPPING PARTY
Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 6 – 9 PM | $75 | Group discount: $60 (5+ tickets)
Early Access tickets include exclusive early entry to Koffler Couture, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and live DJ entertainment. Only a limited number of tickets available. Tax receipts issued for the maximum allowable amount. [Please note: Early Access Shopping Party is not suitable for children.]

BUY EARLY ACCESS TICKETS NOW >>

PUBLIC SALE
Sunday, December 8, 2019 | 11 AM – 4 PM | Pay-What-You-Can at the door (no ticket required)
Beat the crowds and come early to the Public Sale! Thousands of designer vintage items at unbelievable prices. No ticket required.

MARK-DOWN MONDAY
Monday, December 9, 2019 | 4 – 7 PM | Pay-What-You-Can at the door (no ticket required)
Koffler Couture concludes with a special Mark-Down Monday on all remaining merchandise. No ticket required.

Follow Koffler Couture on Instagram for clothing and sale updates.

Koffler Couture is in support of the Koffler Centre of the Arts.


LOOKING TO CLEAR OUT YOUR CLOSET?

We welcome designer or vintage clothing and accessory donations for Koffler Couture: women’s clothes, handbags, shoes, scarves, furs, men’s jackets, shirts, ties, belts, and men’s shoes. Items can be of any age as long as they are clean and in good condition. Tax receipts are available for donated items sold.

To donate clothes or for more info:
Haley Depasqua
Manager, Events and Development
hdepasqua@kofflerarts.org

Peter’s Proscenium: A Performance Picnic

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 | 6 – 8 PM | FREE
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street

Featuring Benjamin De Boer, Philip Nozuka, Fan Wu, Ami Xherro

We invite you to a picnic under the oblique shadowed agora of Christian Hidaka and Raphäel Zarka’s exhibition PETER’S PROSCENIUM at the Koffler Gallery. Enjoy cheese & wine where reality warps and savour the new practices of four Toronto artists. These site-specific performances respond and reflect – tangentially or explicitly – with Hidaka & Zarka’s perspective-bending installation. Drinks and snacks will be provided; this event is free to attend. BYOPB (bring your own picnic blanket).

BENJAMIN DE BOER is the attempted domestication of the thing that enjoys itself. They will be dowsing for water guided by cyranoid relay.

PHILIP NOZUKA shall share with us an interdisciplinary-multimedia piece, Proof of Existence: a how-to tutorial on the absurdities of invention.

FAN WU unearths a Pandora’s time capsule from the far-flung future filled with hot scholarly debates about what the precise use and meaning of Peter’s Proscenium might have been…

Last night I dreamt I was sitting at the head of a long dinner table. My right arm was heavy. My chest felt warm. My heartbeat calm and regular…. Hypnotic induction is a necessary component of hypnosis, and AMI XHERRO invites you to circuit.

Hope to see you (from a vast infinitude of angles) there!

Presented together with the Koffler Gallery Summer Exhibition, PETER’S PROSCENIUM.


Image: Christian Hidaka and Raphaël Zarka, Peter’s Proscenium, 2019. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Carol Sawyer: The Natalie Brettschneider Archive

April 16 – June 7, 2020
Koffler Gallery

Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip

A Primary Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Carol Sawyer is a visual artist, performer and singer based in Vancouver whose work has been concerned with the connection between truth, fiction, performance, memory and history. Sawyer’s ongoing series, The Natalie Brettschneider Archive, reconstructs the fictional life and work of a historical, genre-blurring artist through documentary materials and visual records. The imagined narrative is interwoven with references to real people and places that Sawyer has uncovered in her research process. The archive begins with Brettschneider’s childhood in British Columbia, continues through her participation in the Parisian avant-garde between the wars, and includes evidence of her unconventional art practices after she returns to BC in the late 1930s.

A feminist critique of art historical conventions, the Archive illuminates what official accounts exclude, examining the use of photography in supporting cultural assumptions about gender, age, authorship and art-making. With an intersectional framework, the exhibition brings forward real historical artists through the inclusion of authentic archival materials and new works that link Brettschneider’s narrative to actual events, people and places, highlighting ethnically-diverse creative women who have not yet received wider attention because of racial prejudice, homophobia and sexism.

Image: Carol Sawyer, The Natalie Brettschneider Archive, 2000-ongoing (Natalie Brettschneider performs Profile Mask, Around 1952), Archival ink jet print from original negative, Acquired with the assistance of Kathleen Taylor, 2015.

Karen Tam: the chrysanthemum has opened twelve times

January 23 – March 29, 2020
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip

WINTER OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, January 23, 2020 | 7–9 PM | FREE

Montreal-based artist Karen Tam creates immersive installations that explore the ways in which the embodied presence of a space and the materiality of objects may offer insight into specific places, histories and communities. In her current research, Tam investigates the spatial aesthetics of early 20th century North American Chinese restaurants, opium dens, karaoke lounges and curio shops as sites of cultural blending, interaction, misunderstanding and memory consumption. Using a cultural studies framework, the artist plays off notions of authenticity, recreating venues and producing fake antiques based on East Asian and Chinoiserie objects from various museums, local collections and eBay, using everyday methods and materials such as soap, papier-mâché and aluminum trays. Her intricately detailed installations articulate a lively commentary on the social spaces of cultural interaction, advancing relevant questions regarding race and its visual and material representations. Tam will create a new installation at the Koffler Gallery reimagining the first historical Chinese Canadian photo studios.

Image at top: Karen Tam, Detail from installation, Kiosk for the Silent Traveller, 2018). Installation view, He Xiangning Art Museum.