Cultural Suppression and Revival

26 September 2020 at 3pm
Digital – Zoom Event

SAVAC is pleased to co-present this panel discussion with the Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF). As we witnessed in TPFF’s film The Journey of the Others, many artists and artistic productions representing Palestinian narratives are facing cancellations and other silencing tactics across the West. The attacks take various forms from rescinding awards, venue cancellations, withdrawal of funding, smear campaigns and interference with the proposed work. As Ontario is poised to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism – a definition that includes criticism of Israel in its examples of anti-semitism – will arts organizations, funders and venues be fearful of supporting art related to Palestine? This panel will explore these implications and other attempts to suppress Palestinian arts and culture, and artists who support Palestinian human rights. It will further explore why the arts are increasingly becoming a focal point of attack and creative strategies to stave off attempts to erase Palestinians in this sector.

Jamelie Hassan – multidisciplinary artist, lecturer, writer and independent curator
Toleen Touq – Artistic Director of the South Asian Visual Arts Centre
Azeezah Kanji – legal scholar, writer and Director of Programming at the Noor Cultural Centre.
Corey Balsam – National Coordinator of Independent Jewish Voices
Moderated by Reem Bahdi – professor at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law

Complementary to this panel are four sessions scheduled throughout the festival with artists who are using their crafts to fight the erasure of Palestinian cultural and traditions through their modern day revivals. Please join our sessions with artist Samar Hejazi (embroidery), fashion designer Rami Kashou, artist Mirna Bamieh (food) and Samaa Wakeem w/ Mohammed Samahneh (dance).

Jamelie Hassan is a visual artist and activist based in London, Ontario. Since the 1970’s, she has exhibited widely in Canada and internationally. She is also active as a lecturer, writer and independent curator. In 2001 she was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual Arts. In 1993 she received the “Canada 125 ” Medal for outstanding community service. Her commitment to community and public space has involved highly diverse sites. She has served as a member of advisory panels and art juries for the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and she served as a member on the advisory committee for the “Minister’s Forum on Culture & Diversity” jameliehassan.ca

Toleen Touq is a curator, cultural producer and writer who works as the Artistic Director of SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre). Previously based out of Amman, Jordan, she co-founded “Spring Sessions” an annual learning residency program for artists, scholars and cultural practitioners. She also initiated “The River Has Two Banks” a multi-disciplinary platform that addresses the historical, political and mobility commonalities between Jordan and Palestine. Her writings have been published with Ibraaz, A Prior, Manifesta Journal and others, and she is the recipient of numerous international fellowships. savac.net

Azeezah Kanji is a legal academic and writer. She received her JD from University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and Masters of Law specializing in Islamic Law from the SOAS, University of London. Azeezah’s work focuses on issues relating to racism, law, and social justice. Her writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, OpenDemocracy, and various academic anthologies and journals.
Corey Balsam is a writer, activist and National Coordinator of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. He has a master’s in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education from OISE/University of Toronto and is the co-author of a recently published journal article on the impacts of Palestinian political detention on the children of detainees. Corey spent nearly four years living in Ramallah, where he worked for Oxfam and at Birzeit University, and co-founded the Capoeira Freedom Collective – Palestine. ijvcanada.org / noihra.ca

Reem Bahdi is an author, researcher, and human rights expert, with particular expertise in the human rights of Arabs and Muslims in Canada. As Canada’s first tenured Palestinian-Canadian law professor, she is an associate professor at Windsor Law and a visiting professor at Birzeit University. She helped introduce a mandatory access to justice course at Windsor Law in 2003 and served as the law school’s Associate Dean 2012-2015. She was the co-Director of KARAMAH, The Project on Judicial Independence and Human Dignity; and Editor-in-Chief of the Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice. She has served as an expert witness, in legal proceedings involving Canadian-Muslim rights and national security.

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