Embodiment and Social Change
Illustrated with examples of performance and video work, Shawna Dempsey will examine how art can be a profound tool for cultural transformation and justice. This “how to” talk and screening will explore Dempsey’s 30-year practice, experience with art, activism and education, and commitment to making meaning through images.
Shawna Dempsey is one of Canada’s best-known performance artists. She and collaborator Lorri Millan have created pieces such as We’re Talking Vulva, a five-minute rap featuring giant female genitalia, and Lesbian National Parks and Services, a multi-media project in which uniformed Rangers protect the fragile lesbian ecosystem. Dempsey and Millan are also known for performance installations that engage the public, such as Grocery Store (a functioning grocery store in the Exchange) and Wild Ride (a carnival midway on Toronto’s Bay Street during the financial crisis). Their work has been featured in women’s centres in Sri Lanka and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. They have also published books (Lesbian National Parks & Services Field Guide to North America and Bedtime Stories for the Edge of the World), and curated exhibitions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Dempsey is also Co- Executive Director of MAWA, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and has taught in the University of Winnipeg Women’s and Gender Studies Department.