MABELLEmusing: A Letter from Leah
For the past few years we’ve been exploring collaborative possibilities with artists in the Global South. Last year we welcomed Nepali-Canadian academic Sujata Thapa to our Board of Directors and began imagining Nepal as an ideal place to build new relationships. A short trip to Nepal fuelled by the Toronto Foundation’s Vital People Award made it possible to visit and get a sense of what might be possible. While there, Sujata introduced me to internationally-recognized performance artist Ashmina Ranjit. Ashmina has been working to develop new forms of support for Nepali artists as part of LASANAA - a group of artists and activists interested in social change. Her latest project, NexUs, is a cafe, guest house and social enterprise supporting local and international artist residencies that bring together artists from a range of backgrounds to create new work that promotes social transformation.
Meeting Ashmina really cemented the idea of developing a project in Nepal. Once I returned home to Toronto we continued to keep in touch and imagine how we’d collaborate. We began to envision a project that would involve Canadian and Nepali artists working together with affluent and low-income children in order to learn and explore core community arts principles in a Nepali context. This idea really resonated with where MABELLEarts had been and where we were headed as a company. It was too good an opportunity to pass by. With that, MABELLEarts was going to Nepal!
This month, we’ll be putting out a report and first-ever podcast series (created by Making Room Community Arts Artistic Director and my co-conspirator on the Nepal trip Michael Burtt) that shares the story of our trip, our collaborative project with LASANAA and what we learned along the way. Please keep your eyes out for it and in the mean time (if you haven’t already) check out these audio clips profiling out Board member Sujata Thapa as well as local LASANAA Artist Resident Keepa Maskey.
My Nepal experience challenged me as an artist and a human being in so many new and unexpected ways. I am so proud of the work we participated in and I can’t wait to share it with you! Thanks to everyone who supported the journey, especially the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council. Big shout out to the Canada Council for the Arts who supported me with a travel grant. Stay tuned for more and big love to you all!
Photo Gallery from Nepal
For the past five years, MABELLEarts has been working with Muslim residents to create inter-cultural Iftar celebrations in the Mabelle Park. Iftar is the meal eaten during Ramadan (a month of fasting and religious observance) that breaks the daily fast. Traditionally, after a day of fasting, families would come together to enjoy a special meal. After the meal, many would come out to the market place to eat traditional snacks and greet their neighbours. Over the years MABELLEarts has worked with residents to recreate this public celebration in the Mabelle Park. With your help, this year’s Iftar celebrations will be bigger and better than ever. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Daven.
MABELLEarts cordially invites you to our Giver Get Together on Thursday March 30th at 6:30 PM.
We want to celebrate our generous supporters, donors, stakeholders and partners.
Join us for an evening of delicious food, fun arts activities and live music.
This event is complimentary.
Please RSVP by Friday March 25, 2017.