May 1 – 15, 2014
Festival Program Now Online

The 29th annual Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts will kick off on May 1, 2014 at the annual May Day rally in solidarity with workers, immigrants, Indigenous peoples, and other communities engaged in working-class struggles. In celebrating International Workers’ Day together, we acknowledge the important gains we have made by organizing collectively to create the just world we imagine. This year, Mayworks Festival is contributing to the May 1st Movement rally by presenting a poet who will energize all those attending with creative, powerful, and inspiring words of resistance.

may day

Beyond the May Day rally, this year’s festival includes exciting visual art exhibits, panel discussions, poetry readings, musical performances, and more. We are excited to be featuring three visual art exhibits this year. Coco Guzman’s new work, The Demonstration, showcases human-size papier-mâché figures that make participants feel as if they are engaged in protest. Artist Alvis Choi’s Before and After is a series of visual images illustrating labour narratives as told by Chinese immigrants and migrant workers. The Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, in collaboration with Culture Strike and community artists and activists, display a political print exhibit titled Uprisings: Images of Labour and Migration. The Justseeds collective will also be leading a free screenprinting workshop. And as part of Jane’s Walk, Mayworks Festival will host a free Labour History Walking Tour dedicated to acknowledging the gains feminist leaders, educators, artists, and union organizers have made in Toronto from the 1850’s up to the present.

The DemonstrationWe are proud to be presenting a panel discussion on important current campaigns featuring organizers from $14 Minimum Wage Campaign as well as from the Raise the Rates Campaign. This panel will also include community organizers from Jane and Finch and Lawrence Heights who are fighting against poverty using creative action. This event will be complimented by a series of performances by Nomanzland and a photography exhibit by Errol Young featuring community actions. Other community-based events during the Festival include an evening of ‘intergalactic’ performances by members of the Performance.Disability.Art (PDA) collective and an evening hosted by Kwentong Bayan, in collaboration with Caregiver Connections, which honours the daily lives of Filipina migrant workers.

Cass_3The event Food, Land and Colonialism featuring filmmaker Cass Gardiner’s short documentary The Edible Indian, surveys three First Nations’ cooks who each prepare their favorite traditional food. Complementing this film screening are poems and music by Palestinian feminist activist Ghadeer Malek, and Aboriginal singer and songwriter Diem Lafortune. And lastly, our closing event In Life and After Life featuring the incredible dance collective ILL NANA/ Diversity Dance Company, will stage personal stories of survival, diversity, and hardwork through choreographed interventions. Members kumari, Sze-Yang, & Jelani will follow their performance with an interactive talk with the audience.

Ill Nana_1_Credit, Alejandro Santiago

On behalf of Mayworks, we want to extend our thanks to all of our supporters – our audience, volunteers, sponsors, donors, board, and staff – who are indispensable to making this festival a success. Enjoy the festival!