Safe in Public Space | Radical Love by Syrus Marcus Ware
October 16 - November 11
A multimedia installation that centres Black and Afro-Indigenous trans women and non-binary people, creating monuments to trans lives and their survival.
“Rooted in Black radical thought, this project draws on the 1977 Combahee River Collective articulation that if we make the world safer for those most marginalized — for me, this means specifically Black trans women (who are Deaf, Mad and disabled) — we are necessarily making the world safer for everyone.
It is so rare for Black and Afro-Indigenous trans folks to see themselves reflected in public space, expected and imagined in city planning, despite the incredible contributions that Black trans and non-binary people have given to the city. My project interrupts this history of erasure and instead centres these experiences at its core, celebrating trans lives and embodied presence in our city.
Abstracted geometric monuments glow in low light, radiating vibrant images that embody the notion that #transisbeautiful and #transispowerful, proclaiming radical love for all our ways of being.
Thank you to Ravyn, Monica, and Chrys for sharing their brilliance and power with me and the world. Their activism makes this city safer for Black trans people. These monuments are also a way of honouring and celebrating these lives, this labour.”
– Syrus Marcus Ware
About Syrus Marcus Ware
Syrus Marcus Ware is an Assistant Professor at the School of the Arts, McMaster University. He is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture, and he’s shown widely in galleries and festivals across Canada. He is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto, co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Canada, a part of the Performance Disability Art Collective, and an ABD PhD candidate at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. His ongoing curatorial work includes That’s So Gay (Gladstone Hotel, 2016-2019) and BlacknessYes!/Blockorama. He is the co-editor of the best-selling Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada (URP, 2020).
About Safe in Public Space
Safe in Public Space is a multifaceted initiative that aims to broaden the definition of public safety to address new public health challenges presented by COVID as well as systemic inequities, and ensure that there is a shared social contract governing public space access and use.
How do we define public safety and for whom? Where are safety and accessibility at odds, and how can those conflicts lead to new creative solutions that reshape public space and give people the confidence to re-engage in the city without anxiety?
Through creative experiments on The Bentway’s physical and digital sites; images, ideas, writings, and dialogues from a diversity of collaborators; a new Public Space Fellowship program; and in-depth community consultations, Safe in Public Space aims to arrive at shareable learnings and best practices for spaces city-wide, as well as specific safety commitments for the future of The Bentway.
For more, visit www.safeinpublicspace.com.