Tamil Studies and Research (TSAR) is a group based at the York Centre for Asian Research at York University. It is a group formed with a commitment to developing Tamil Studies as an area of academic research and instruction at York University, and to bring international scholars, artists and activists in the field of Tamil Studies closer to the large Tamil diasporic community that resides in the GTA. Though relatively new in its inception, TSAR in currently engaged in a number of initiatives and partnerships to make these goals a reality. These include the annual Tamil Studies Symposium, the Tamil Resource Centre at York, and collaborations with public and community organizations.
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Unfinished Projects: Collectives, Solidarities, and the Practice of Art
A Workshop with Joshua Vettivelu
The experience of marginalization creates a number of quandaries around self-expression, not the least of which is the push to legitimize one’s work in terms of, or in relation to Eurocentric (and often settler colonial) practice. This art workshop seeks to examine the ways in which marginalized identities have been documented historically and politically and may be performed culturally and artistically in the face of the contradictions and limitations of geopolitics. Following on conversations arising from the academic papers delivered at the Tamil Studies Symposium (2017) exploring migrations, trans-generational narratives, marginalized identities, circumscriptions of normativity and ability, archival practices, and the use of art in cultural preservation/assertion, the workshop will bring together artists from Indigenous, Black and Tamil communities to have a conversation about the ways in which we produce art/work. The workshop will be committed to discussions about practice and group critique. We will try to answer the following questions:
What responsibilities do artists have when there is an expectation to use an individual experience (of diaspora, of culture, of trauma, of displacement) to speak for the collective?
How do you negotiate your own inclusion into an institution when some institutions will use your narrative to diversify their own optics, while making no structural changes to make that inclusion meaningful?
How do we put politics/solidarities in our work and do we have to? Does art offer other ways of communicating?
**Please note: Spaces are limited and priority will be given to art students and community art practitioners. To register, please email: email@example.com by the 10th of April 2018.
The workshop will be held on the 21 April 2018, 2-5pm at Unit 2, 163, Sterling Road Toronto, M6R 2B2.
Joshua Vettivelu is an artist, programmer and educator working within sculpture, video, installation and performance. Their works explores how larger frameworks of power manifest within intimate relationship. Recently their practice examines the tensions that emerge when personal experiences are mined for art production, and how this allows institutions to posture and position themselves as self-reflexive. Currently, Vettivelu teaches in the faculty of Art and Continuing Education at OCADU and is the Director of Programming at Whippersnapper gallery- an artist run centre aimed at the development of emerging artists. Part of the programming put on by Whippersnapper tries to address the supplementary concerns that go into supporting an arts practice (professional development, negotiating exhibitions, understanding the context in which we produce work etc).