By Volunteer GAC Writer Victoria Abballe
On the weekend of January 26th-29th, the ‘artseverywhere’ festival took place in Guelph, Ontario. These events were happening on the ancestral and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation of the Anishinabek Peoples. Several events took place such as performances, a lecture, brunch event, conversations and the Book and Print Fair, which will be discussed further.
The Rock/Paper/Scissors Book and Print Fair was held on Saturday, January 28th at the River Run Centre at 35 Woolwich St, downtown Guelph. There were 15 vendors selling many works such as hand-made prints, books, zines, photographic prints, illustrations, stickers and more. These works included a variety of themes such as queerness, indigeneity, BIPOC history in Canada, self-love, and more. The diversity of artistic mediums within the vendors allowed me to get a deeper understanding of the different artistic backgrounds of each artist. For example, the photographic prints enabled me to get a deeper look into the life of the photographer and the various viewpoints they’ve encountered. It made me think about what each place in the photographs meant to the photographer. Was this photo taken in their favourite park in their hometown, or were they simply appreciating the beauty in a new city? Each vendor was kind and assured me I could touch and interact with their works, to study it closer or read an excerpt in a homemade book. I felt that I could easily connect with each artist and felt as if they deeply appreciated my interest in their works.
This event was accessible to all, as there were various refreshment options, masks were provided and highly encouraged to slow the spread of COVID-19 and for those who are immunocompromised. The presentations were also accessible as they were accompanied by a transcriber and signer for those with impaired hearing. The Rock/Paper/Scissors event was very welcoming to all community members such as those a part of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. Each panelist enriched the viewer’s mind by speaking on their experiences related to the history of racism in Canada, queerness and identity, disability, politics, and more. I learned about the strengths and difficulties of each panelist dealing with their own personal experiences with disability and racism in Canada. It seemed as if the panelists sparked conversation in the guests in the room, as there was a strong sense of community engagement and deep conversation. There were also periods where the audience was able to ask any questions they might have for the panelists.
Overall, this event was an accessible, informative event that was able to enrich the minds of citizens of Guelph and the arts community, as well as provide a new perspective on a plethora of subjects.