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Panel Discussion: Space For Artists on the Cost of Living Crisis and Disappearing Space

April 25 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Join exhibiting artist Sangmin Lee (@sangminl), HAVN collective members Ariel Bader-Shamai (@arielbadershamai) and Sahra Soudi (@sahrasoudi) on Thursday April 25, 6-7:30pm in person at the Inc. for a conversation on making art during a cost of living crisis as space for artists disappears. Whether rent is raised and artists are priced out of their studio space, or the DIY venue artists used to exhibit in or play music in shutters their doors, living and working as an artist is becoming more challenging. Exhibiting artist Sangmin Lee’s artwork is influenced by his upbringing in Canada’s largest high rise community known as St. James Town. His current exhibition raises questions of space as he lives and works across two of North America’s most expensive cities; Toronto and New York. Using Sangmin’s exhibition as a jumping off point, panelists discuss the realities facing working artists in Hamilton today as it relates to the cost of living, studio space, art venues, third spaces and housing.


Sangmin Lee was born and raised in St. James Town (Toronto, Canada), one of the densest high-rise communities in Canada. It is an offshoot of Towers in the Park, a model of modern dwellings invented by Le Corbusier. With thoughts of utopia, it was meant to accommodate large populations with little room else for infrastructure and ornamentation. Despite its shortcomings, St. James Town is now one of the most ethnically rich neighborhoods in Canada and is sometimes known as "the world within a block."

Somewhere between these concrete enclosures and lived space, between drywall and parquet floor tiles, are the stories of cultural survival that centers Lee’s practice. Here, he looks to process, the unfixed, the tangential, and beyond—to wander peripherally into the margins and towards expansive narratives.

Sahra Soudi is a multimedia artist, curator, educator, and community organizer based in Hamilton, Ontario. They combine their social justice activism and artistic practice to envision more just futures for all. They have advocated for the inclusion and participation of Black and racialized communities, from artist-run centres to national galleries, and DIY venues. Soudi is passionate about disability justice and centers this framework when thinking about collaborations that enhance opportunities for artists with invisible and visible disabilities. They are an emerging curator interested in disrupting ableism and colonialism that exist within the confines of institutional art spaces. It is through practices that center community frameworks such as mutual aid and transformative justice, that Soudi is able to empower Black and disabled artists.

Ariel Bader-Shamai is a multidisciplinary artist and photographer based in Toronto, Ontario. She was a co-founder of HAVN (Hamilton Audio Visual Node), an interdisciplinary and experimental arts collective, in Hamilton, ON (2012-2020), and creator of Soft Serve Pillows.


April 25
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Tags:


Hamilton Artists Inc.
905 529 3355
View Organizer Website


Wheelchair accessible, Gender-neutral washrooms


Hamilton Artists Inc.
155 James St N
Hamilton, ON L8R 2K9 Canada
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(905) 529-3355
View Venue Website
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