On Thursday, December 10th, BSAM Canada invited Andréa Williams, Dr. Ayana A. H Jamieson and Anique Jordan to discuss our new Earthseeds: Space of the Living Waterfront project. The successful online launch had a full room of community members with riveting panel discussions, performances and public discourse on healing, BIPOC representation and the power of speculative arts to transform and heal.
Drawing inspiration from Parable of the Sower, Dr. Ayana, scholar and founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, discussed how the roots of our future lies in our ability to embrace change. “It gives us a possibility to go beyond, not transcend or ignore, but extrapolate from our known circumstances to something we might not have imagined.”
In the same vein, Anique reminded us that despite systemic oppressive forces, there are solutions embedded in the speculative arts. “We need to refuse this idea that bureaucracy or policy withholds us from changing the world,” she explained. In moments of urgency, with the COVID pandemic we can see what the government was able to accomplish. The same can be said for artists in order to heal.
At the centre of the Earthseeds project is our living wall that will be located near Toronto’s waterfront. Members of the community will be encouraged to write affirmations on biodegradable paper and bury them in the soil of the living wall. This will symbolize the planting of new seeds that will flourish into ideas, hopes and dreams.
The need to connect back to Indigenous histories is another important lens for BSAM Canada’s Earthseeds project. Andréa Williams, a Black Indigenous community educator and activist, encouraged guests to understand the interconnectedness of Black and Indigenous histories. Work needs to be made in acknowledging the land and traditional name of Lake Ontario Niigaani-gichigami.
Further suggestions from community members included creating a public document for ideas and looking at ways to include both local and diaspora plants in our living plant wall.
A big, big thank you to everyone who was able to attend our project launch and shared their thoughts and stories!
And a special thank you goes out to our incredible speakers Andréa, Anique and Dr. Ayana for their insightful dialogue as well as Levyi-Alexander Love and Zakisha Brown for their energetic performances.
Further discussion about the Earthseeds: Space of the Living project will be held in the new year. Until then, stay safe and healthy!
- BSAM Team ♥