Toronto Through My Lens

Month: June 2024

desiFEST 2024

Last weekend played host to desiFEST, the annual celebration of South Asian music, art, food and culture, held in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square. In this, the festival’s 18th year, the entertainment lineup consisted of exclusively Canadian talent. Mayor Olivia Chow was also on hand to address the audience; she was the first-ever Mayor to participate in desiFEST. The festival lasted over 12 hours, wrapping up at 11:00PM that night.

Here’s a bit of what last Saturday afternoon offered:

Dancers

BollyX hosted by Dance with Safa

Games

Music

Maple Masala Band

This homeless guy was feeling the vibes of the Maple Masala Band and decided to do something about it…

Shirjeel Jackson

Food (lots of it…)

If you’d like to learn more about desiFEST, click here.

Roehampton Avenue Sculptures

Continuing on in the Yonge-Eglinton area, I came across a couple of interesting sculptures on Roehampton Avenue:

What’s Your Name?
by Ilan Sandler (2011)

This sculpture is located at 70 Roehampton Avenue beside “The Republic” condo building. What’s Your Name? identifies North Toronto Collegiate Institute (NTCI) students past and present by reproducing their proper names and handwritten signatures on the sculpture’s stainless steel surfaces.

One sheaf shows all the first names of students who have attended the school since 1912, beginning at the top of the inner page. Each name is present only once, and at the moment it first appears in the school record. The chronological list includes new names through to 2010 with a total of 2053 different names. The names of the last students to occupy the original NTCI building appear at the bottom of the outer page.

The second sheaf creates imprints of the students’ public and private identities by contrasting the names of those who attended the school over the past century with a selection of signatures from alumni and current students.

‘What’s Your Name?’ is often the first question we ask someone, and by answering we announce ourselves to each other and to the world. During adolescence our relationship to proper names tends to change; a name is no longer something given but something made, crafted and personalized through the deliberate art of the signature. Schools, and particularly high schools, are where the proper name and the signature intersect.

Paper and print, which are the core tools of education, become dynamic sculptural forms on which an imprint of students’ public and private identities is inscribed.
Ilan Sandler

Points of View: Looking North
by Tony Cragg (2023)

Located outside the condos at 101 Roehampton Avenue is a work entitled Points of View: Looking North. The stainless-steel sculpture combines precise geometries with expressive organic form — an exploration between the rational and emotional aspects of material forms:

The entire material world, whether natural or man-made, consists on a fundamental level of rational geometries-ratio. Our appreciation of their complex appearances is, however, our emotional response. ‘Points of View: Looking North’ combines these apparently very different worlds and traits of human thought.
Tony Cragg

“Stargate”

Outside the condo buildings at 150 and 155 Redpath Avenue, there is an interesting 2-part sculpture entitled Stargate.

Designed by Toronto and Krakow-based artists Blue Republic (Anna Passakas & Radoslaw Kudlinski), the 2016 installation includes alien-inspired pieces on the two west side corners of Redpath Avenue, fronting the entrances to the condo towers at 150 and 155 Redpath.

The crew of blue and yellow characters, each weighing thousands of pounds, create a window into outer space, both through the bold creatures themselves and their surrounding landscape of swirling vortices.

150 Redpath Avenue

Our inspiration for this piece came from the unique diversity of this city. For some, moving to a new neighbourhood is like moving from one universe to another. So many people bring various experiences and cultures with them from all over the world. We are both science fiction fans, and we felt that “Stargate”, drawing from this popular genre, could be the glue between these narratives.
Radoslaw Kudlinksi of Blue Republic

155 Redpath Avenue

Inspired by both Eastern and Greek mythology and science fiction, Stargate serves as a connection between different worlds and a call to explore the unknown.

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