#adaywithoutimmigrants organized by the Artists’ Bloc of the Immigrant Workers’ Centre
This panel holds space to discuss strategies for building a mobilization for immigrant justice in the arts. Our discussion is committed to connections between artists and movement building for immigrant power in Montreal. While there is no one single stance to deploy creative action to criticize power, some develop art and organize collectively, others create in the studio, others still spontaneously on the streets. We gather this diversity of experiences to seek out the intersections that can be leveraged in the building of immigrant power. For five years the Artists’ Bloc of the Immigrant Workers Centre has carried creative actions to push campaigns for immigrant rights further into companies, vulnerable labour sectors, and neighbourhoods. We do this in the context of a so-called sanctuary city, where artists are still continuously fighting and facing deportation, confronting horrible working conditions and resisting systemic racism. Collaborations and collectives are created and disappear among these struggles in an age of precarity and austerity. What do we mean by a day without immigrants? How do we build a symbolic work stoppage in Montreal? When and where do we meet each other, how is this made possible, and on what terms? As artists we are committed to building depth in connections, yet how do we come together in facing an institutionally discouraging context to the possibility that immigrants and workers deploy a strike? This moment is a gathering of artists working in immigrant justice in Montreal, and a dialogue among practitioners. This conversation across practices will be a key component to the panel.
The Artists’ Bloc of the The Immigrant Workers’ Center (IWC) is a group of immigrant workers diverse in origin and immigration situation. Artists, activists, workers and their allies, we create at the intersections of community, artistic practice, and social justice. We are united in our shared project to empower, support and listen to those that are most affected in confronting their situations of precarity, and to cultivate their dynamic leadership in giving direction to this project. Artists’ Bloc creations take form in physical theatre, performance art, and public interventions, and our work is shared with our networks across this continent.
Montréal Monochrome is an annual event which aims to address the mis- and under-representation and systemic oppression of marginalized groups in Montréal’s contemporary art milieu. The event works toward imagining and nurturing new and existing bonds, solidarities and friendships between Indigenous artists, thinkers and cultural workers and their racialized allies. This sixth edition of Montréal Monochrome wishes to explore the different meanings and socio-political ramifications that the concept of “sanctuary city” includes or suggests, especially if it is used to speak to notions of an unceded Indigenous territory. What does the city of “Montréal” represent for its inhabitants? A land of opportunity or the continuation of a colonial project? If not a sanctuary for its inhabitants, how can the city generate its own safe spaces? How do people belonging to marginalized communities develop their own survival strategies, self-protection, and self-care? The projects of this sixth edition speak to themes of sanctuary city, the sacred, the colonial project of Canada, and the right of peoples to self-determination.
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articule thanks our partner Programme Montréal Interculturel (PMI).