Through experimentation with sound, image, found texts and acts of counter-archiving of personal and political experiences, Where Were You in ‘92? brings forth the embodied archives of the ground-breaking legacy of Fresh Arts, a Black artist-led program that was born out of the fury of impassioned youth. Pamila Matharu, one of the mentees of Fresh Arts, returns not only to this pivotal moment but also to her mentor, Winsom Winsom, who’s more than decade-long activist history in Kingston ON is under-recognized. This research project begins with the basic premise that archives are manifested in living bodies, in repeated stories, in unfinished conversations, sparked by events of the past that persist into the present, and, importantly, in the healing practices of intergenerational connectivity. Interested in forms of feminist genealogies that cite what came before and using the archive as a forum for recognition, resilience and radical love, Matharu looks back to Toronto’s 1992 youth-led uprising on Yonge Street that gave rise to Fresh Arts. Where Were You in ‘92? traces new lines of connection across history and geography, drawing in those who inherit its legacy and holding up those who mobilized its centrifugal forces. A series of public and education programming is presented as an integral component of this exhibition.
Image: Mounted Metro police officers and others on foot confront a crowd downtown on May 4, 1992, to quell vandalism and looting. Photo: John Mahler, The Toronto Star, 4 May 1992