MAY 1 – 15, 2014
Festival Program
| Festival Photos

The 29th annual Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts kicked 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. This year, Mayworks Festival contributed to the May 1st Movement rally by presenting a poet who energized all those attending with creative, powerful, and inspiring words of resistance.

Beyond the May Day rally, this year’s festival included exciting visual art exhibits, panel discussions, poetry readings, musical performances, and more. We featured three visual art exhibits this year. Coco Guzman’s new work, The Demonstration, showcased human-size papier-mâché figures that make participants feel as if they are engaged in protest.

The DemonstrationArtist Alvis Choi’s Before and After was 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, displayed a political print exhibit titled Uprisings: Images of Labour and Migration. The Justseeds collective also led a free screenprinting workshop. And as part of Jane’s Walk, Mayworks Festival hosted 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.

10329175_10101862198047470_5602310857732087035_nWe presented 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 also included community organizers from Jane and Finch and Lawrence Heights who are currently fighting against poverty using creative action. This event was complimented by a series of performances by Nomanzland and a photography exhibit by Errol Young featuring community actions.10336848_10101864591950070_7451126859653697242_n

Other community-based events during the Festival included 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 honoured the daily lives of Filipina migrant workers.

10268625_10152125970797106_8954148949788745518_nThe event Food, Land and Colonialism featured 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 were 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, staged personal stories of survival, diversity, and hardwork through choreographed interventions. Members kumari, Sze-Yang, & Jelani followed their performance with an interactive talk with the audience.


On behalf of Mayworks, we want to extend our thanks to all of our supporters – our audience, volunteers, sponsors, donors, board, and staff – who were indispensable to making this festival a success. We hope you enjoyed the festival, and look forward to seeing you next year!