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Labour Pains

May 10 - July 27


Join us for Labour Pains, a group exhibition exploring how healthcare impacts and affects precarious workers with varying needs, access points, and abilities, in WAHC's Main Gallery.

Featuring the work of artists Sean Lee with Birdie Gerhl, Peter Morin, and Camila Salcedo. Curated by Emma Steen. Presented in partnership with Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts.

Exploring healthcare as a labour rights issue as it pertains to precarious workers, this exhibition asks when the body is the necessary tool for the creation, production, and dissemination of work, what are the challenges working people, especially professional artists, face while seeking care? How do they in turn find avenues of support within their own communities?

Presenting the work of Sean Lee with Birdie Gerhl, Peter Morin, and Camila Salcedo, Labour Pains looks at three themes that many workers face while attempting to navigate healthcare in this country: Privatization and financial strain of freelance employment; Indigenous relations to healthcare and living outside of urban centres; and disability, accessibility, and Crip politics.

Emma Steen is a Toronto based curator and writer. She received her BA at NSCAD University in Halifax, NS and then went on to complete a Masters of Art History at OCAD University in Toronto. Her area of interest lies in art and writing that explores intimacies, bodies, and gathering. Her background includes extensive work in community arts organizing, arts administration, and supporting methods of institutional accountability. As a curator, she has worked on multiple public art projects, with galleries, and in digital spaces. Growing up in Toronto’s downtown core has influenced her approach to curating and the importance of public art as a means of access to identity, placemaking, and feeling responsible, cared for and involved in the extended communities we are a part of.

Sean Lee (he/they) is an artist and curator exploring the assertion of disability art as the last avant-garde. His methodology explores crip cultural practices as a means to resist normative idealities. Orienting towards a “crip horizon”, Sean’s practice explores the transformative possibilities of access aesthetics as an embodied politic that can desire the ways disability disrupts. Sean is currently the Director of Programming at Tangled Art + Disability. He holds a B.A. in Arts Management and Studio from UTSC. Sean is also an independent curator, writer, lecturer, and advisor, adding his insights and perspectives on disability and accessibility to conversations across Canada, the US, and internationally. Sean serves on the board of the Toronto Arts Council and CARFAC Ontario, and is Chair of TAC’s Visual and Media Arts Committee. He is currently a member of the City of Toronto’s External Advisory Panel for the Action Plan for Toronto’s Culture Sector.

Peter Morin is a grandson of Tahltan Ancestor Artists. Morin’s artistic offerings can be organized around four themes: articulating Land/Knowing, articulating Indigenous Grief/Loss, articulating Community Knowing, and understanding the Creative Agency/Power of the Indigenous body. The work takes place in galleries, in community, in collaboration, and on the land. All of the work is informed by dreams, Ancestors, Family members, and Performance Art as a Research Methodology. Morin began art school in 1997, completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver in 2001 and his Masters in Fine Arts in 2010 at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan. Initially trained in lithography, Morin’s artistic practice moves from Printmaking to Poetry to Beadwork to Installation to Drum Making to Performance Art. Peter is the son of Janelle Creyke (Crow Clan, Tahltan Nation) and Pierre Morin (French-Canadian). Throughout his exhibition and making history, Morin has focused upon his matrilineal inheritances in homage to the matriarchal structuring of the Tahltan Nation, and prioritizes Cross-Ancestral collaborations. Morin was long-listed for the Brink and Sobey Awards, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2016, Morin received the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Canadian Mid-Career Artist. Peter Morin currently holds a tenured appointment in the Faculty of Arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto, and is the Graduate Program Director of the Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design program at OCADU.

Camila Salcedo is a Venezuelan-born interdisciplinary artist currently based in Toronto working primarily in textiles, community arts, digital art, performance, and curation. In their philosophies and practice, they use memory as a methodology for inserting personal narrative into art-making, are committed to sustainability, and rooted in their pursuit of healing the inner wounds of the experience of being a child immigrant and providing opportunities for others to explore the same. They have done a number of artist residencies in Latin America including Arquetopia and The Lab Program in Mexico, Residencia Corazón in Argentina, and Arquetopia in Peru, as well as in Canada, through Harbourfront Centre and the Toronto Public Library. They also have a decade of experience as an art educator to diverse individuals and have taught workshops and courses at various institutions and independently through various grant-funded programs.

Birdie Gerhl (she/her) is a practitioner of longing based in Hamilton, ON. Through her work as a multidisciplinary artist and zinester, Birdie locates disability and difference in relationship, understanding that relationships informed by disability, or crip kinship, can be chosen or blood, human or non-human, material or ancestral, and disabled or not. Birdie’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions and group screenings at Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Windsor-Essex, Centre[3], Hamilton Artists Inc. and Tangled Art + Disability. She was awarded the 2019 Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency and the 2021 Centre[3] Emerging Artist Residency. In 2024, Birdie was invited to work with Blackwood Gallery, OCAD University, Dundas Valley School of Art, and Art Gallery of Burlington.

Be sure to check out the All Ages interpretative guide when you visit the exhibit!

WAHC acknowledges CUPE National, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Province of Ontario, the City of Hamilton and OSSTF for their support of our exhibitions and ancillary programs.

For more information, please contact Sylvia Nickerson, Programming and Exhibitions Specialist, at (905) 522-3003 ex. 29 or sylvia@wahc-museum.ca


May 10
July 27
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Wheelchair accessible, Gender-neutral washrooms, Audio description


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