In my quest of practicing intentional vulnerability, critical honesty but at the same time imaginative optimism, here is another #journalsofadocuvixen
I know it has been a minute journal fans but it still has up and down emotionally but to be honest I will take where I am now over to where I was last year any day of the week. Taking note of blessings and having gratitude for each day. Ya I know never got to those second reflections, I have them written in a journal on paper tho, will eventually share.
Anyway in the depths of winter, where I was on the usually thinking pattern on what am I going to do for money, and getting another rejection from one of the Arts Councils, got granted a grant, only to be like sorry nope you don’t got it no more. And again contemplating giving up this whole damn art thing for good. I just want to work at a small bookstore kinda thing (ya the 2 of them), began applying for every job out there but haven’t yet received a call back, as yet. Actually this week I was like maybe I should be a postal worker, you know get to walk everywhere, although I don’t think I could do the winters.
Things started to thaw, and Vicky Moufawad-Paul – Director / Curator director of A Space Gallery, contacted me saying that she wanted to program my work in Haiti some how, and the makings of this show began to take form, I met with Rehab around her work, and here we are the Opening is here, at A Space Gallery.
Malinda Francis, Sa-k-la-k-Wel Crew, Oban, Jacmel Haiti, video still, 2015
Malinda Francis, Rehab Nazzal
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 110 (Gallery is on the First floor)
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3A8 Canada
(Spadina and Richmond)
Exhibition runs May 26 2017 – July 8 2017
Opening: May 26 2017: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Presented by A Space Gallery in partnership with Trinity Square Video Facebook Event
In Solidarity is a two-person exhibition that features collaborative projects from Malinda Francis and Rehab Nazzal. Francis is a video artist that spent time in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010. She captured a grassroots international and multilingual community moving off the grid and building an “Earthship.” Using recycled materials to rebuild the community school of “Sa-k-la-k-wel”–which translates into “If you survive it, you will see it.”–and set in a picturesque but economically depressed location, the conical structure of the Earthship evokes spaceships that plan to leave earth for a more just future that we create and imagine together. Francis also includes video of Jane Finch Action Against Poverty as she follows them into the 2017 May Day march, an action which seek greater justice right where we are.
Malinda Francis, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, Toronto, video still, May 1st 2017
Nazzal‘s is a community engaged project of “Cross Stitching Solidarity” using Palestinian embroidery techniques to bring people together at the gallery to make something that is larger then the sum of its parts. Francis and Nazzal, although using disparate visual strategies, both propose a kind of transnational solidarity that implicates, resists, and creates new possibilities for Mikinaakominis/Canada. Facebook Page
Malinda Francis (a docuvixen film) is a Toronto based videomaker. Francis’ creation is based in an integrated consent driven process throughout the production period. Her immersed/imbeded community led process includes shared partnership/ownership models with the community members she documents. Malinda Francis has been following Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP), a resident led action group which aims to eliminate poverty, for 9 years. She conceptualizes her work with JFAAP as an ongoing community story-telling project. She has been in production of her feature film called The Diaspora Travels: Haiti for 6 years. This project follows Haitian and diaspora led reconstruction projects after the 2010 Earthquake.
Rehab Nazzal is a Palestinian-born multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. Nazzal holds an MFA from Ryerson University (Toronto), a BFA from the University of Ottawa, and a BA in Economics from Damascus University (Syria). Her video, photography, and sound work deal with representation of violence of war and colonialism. Nazzal’s work has been shown in Canada and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions and screenings. Nazzal is currently pursuing her PhD in Art and Visual Culture at the University of Western Ontario (Canada).
I am slowly defining my process as follows:Ongoing community engagement using film, radio, and media production, imbedded community storytelling. Working to create an integrated consent process throughout the production process, and build community partnership/ownership models with community members. She feels the only way she can tell a story from the point of view of marginalized communities is to immerse oneself in a community, and have shared partnership throughout the production process. This process continues to develop as the work continues.
Last year was a doozy, Am I right? So many of us in pain, so much of the world collectively in pain. I felt it all. This time of year, that in between time, where we fully let go of the previous old year, that has left us behind. We still have the hope of new beginnings in which the new year that we are moving into will bring us. I usually take note of last year’s experiences and take stock in its various lessons.
At the end of 2016, I have noticed more so than any other year, the progression of time, as a delusion. This delusion has became more evident, in the past 5 years. These years seem to have melded into one another and became one mega five year. Where I have been perpetually banging into walls, in a huge creative rut, intermixed with unending heartbreak, and endings to epic friendships. Then there was the working relationship fall outs. Where the situation called me to make a sworn vow to myself, to never enter into again, the mother of all toxic working relationships. The mega year was book-ended, by some of those earth shattering, for any filmmaker, equipment crashes. Then only, to fall into one of the deepest ever holes that I have been in. This finally forced me to finally stop the cycle of endless go – go- go routine, where I temporarily had the habit of using work to fill the massive hole that was growing in the pit of my gut.
I guess you can say that I hit my rock bottom as a work-a-holic and filling that hole with work wasn’t working anymore. It was actually getting bigger. I found myself in complete apathy. I was also becoming very bitter, tired of banging my head against walls. I was upset with production crews falling apart. I was tired of always being turned down for funding support. I was just tired, just tired and just tired. I just didn’t care about anything anymore. I found myself in a deep depression, where I didn’t have the capacity of ignoring anymore.
January – February 2016
I found myself working with Tien Providence, a long time playwright. Where every couple of years after endless declined applications from various Theatre Festivals. He gets fed up and he says; “Mali lets just do it and let’s put on a play.”
So, once again I put on the Things Falling Apart’s http://thingsfallingapartevents.wordpress.com hat on, and we do a play. We had a couple of scheduling set backs, but we finally set the production dates for Just For A Moment which will run at Pia Bouman Theatre Feb25-March 6th, 2016.
Just For a Moment which featured actors: Raïs Muoi and Nawa Nicole Simon. This production blessed me the opportunity to work with all these folks here: Folasade Akintola-Sade (Stage Manager) Walter Elliot and Jabari (Elicser) Elliot (Set Designers and Artist), Tyrone MacLean-Wilson (Graphic Designer), Sharrine Francis and Sandra Brewster (Artists).
It was a whirlwind but after a month rehearsals,10 days of production, all the way to March 6th we had our closing. At the end of the run we were absolutely spent, but we made it through. I want to thank all those deeply who worked on the production, and all those who came to see the show.
Entering the TTC Twilight Zone
Getting to the last day of the production felt like a marathon. After the closing show I went with Sade the Stage Manager, to go and eat after wrapping stage after the show I had my tripod and borrowed camera in hand, along with various stage props. We went to Kensington Market to eat and stayed for a Poetry Reading, because Lindsey Bess had a poetry reading and synchronistically she had just happened to come from our closing play, so we stayed for her reading. We left around 10pm, because at that time I barely could keep my eyes open.
Now those who have been riding the TTC as long as I have, maybe you to would be empathetic, on why I lost my shit on that winter day. Those who don’t have the experience of traveling via Subway, Bus or Streetcar in Toronto, the TTC had been trying very slowly transition the new Buses, Subways and Streetcars onto various lines. Well, I mean you know because vehicles that run everyday will need to eventually have to be replaced. right? Anyway, the 510 Spadina car was currently one of the lines beginning to be transitioned to the new Street Cars. They have also been slowly adding the new Presto Machines, as well.
At that time, I was actually avoiding the new streetcars, because of the lack of communication given to riders from the TTC, not informing people seemed to be their communication plan for all changes being implemented, their communication plan seemed to be non existent to riders. I mean we have only been carrying the system cost from time right? I mean why consult riders right? They only have lived experience of getting around the city, right? who needs that knowledge? Their directions were confusing, where do you pay? And what if you are stuck at the end of the car, in the middle rush hour? What then?
Anyway so I usually waited for the next streetcar. TTC communication of system changes can always be at best an #epicfail, along with their slow ass expansion planning. I mean why be a functional Public Transit?
I usually avoided the new streetcars, and waited for the next one. But that night after the marathon play run, I was exhausted. I had my camera equipment in hand, so I decided to just deal with it when I got to the Station, ya bad idea!!! So I boarded with Sade (Stage Manager), and off we went from Kensington Market to the Station.
At the Station, armed with my token in hand, and looking for direction on exactly where we were to pay. Sade had her metropass. We came off the Streetcar right into the Fare Inspectors. I held out my token, as they asked me for proof of payment, I said: “Well I didn’t know where to pay on board the streetcar” and asked “Where was I to pay on board”. Then with an accusatory tone, one of the inspectors asked: “Why didn’t you get proof of payment?” I repeated; “I didn’t see where tho?” They said; Well there are signs on board.” I replied; “I didn’t see them, and what if I didn’t know English?” “Why weren’t there more people giving riders direction on the Streetcar?”, But they just continued to be short and ordered me to get proof of payment upstairs.
So I was carrying all my equipment and Show set dec and prop stuff. Sade and I go upstairs I, to get my proof of payment and her, to go and catch the bus. Apparently, it is sacrilege for Fare Inspectors to receive tokens. Their job description is to crack down on riders, i suppose, and certainly not giving riders direction. I found an info person, where I asked “Why isn’t there anyone giving riders directions on board of the new Streetcars?” I was incensed around of the implication of ripping off the TTC, due to the fact of how much collectively I have paid into the system, since I began riding at the age of 12. In fact how much we as riders collectively have put into maintaining the TTC, we have carried the operation budget for a long minute now.
As I went downstairs I grew more and more angry, and when I approached the 2 fare inspectors again and to show that indeed I got my proof a payment, and asked why they weren’t more helpful. The situation degraded into a situation where ya I do admit it wasn’t my finest hour. But when one of the Fare Inspectors asked me if my aim was to rip of the system, this is where I lost it. All of my bitterness was unleashed onto these two inspectors, one of them then asked if I were crazy, and the argument degraded further and ended with me flicking my transfer proof of payment, at one of the Fair Inspectors. They threatened me with an assault charge and I scoffed at that because of how ridiculous that sounded and went to go wait for the subway home. I realized they weren’t joking when 2 police officers and 3 TTC constables were coming towards me. They actually stopped the subway for that, and I was then dragged, detained and then released outside Subway Station.
Yep you read that correctly I was arrest for assault via flicked transfer, essentially for getting in argument with a Fare Inspector and losing it during the process, which they then charged me with assault. That actually happened. So yes I admit it wasn’t my finest hour, I mean I really did lose it, but….. really that actually happened, and for the rest of the year. That was my TTC episode of the Twilight Zone, which then had me in and out of College Park Courts.
I was luckier than some, with connections, and was convinced to get a lawyer and not defend myself, really grateful those who supported me through the insanity. I am grateful for my connection with the Law Union, my filming so many things came in handy. I learnt a lot about myself in that one incident, but it was a lengthy lesson, and will stay with me all through the year.
That moment was the years tipping point, and marked my descent into deep depression. It is that easy and was that easy, to get a charge. That easy to be sucked into the system. This had me clearly on the road that lead me to the other side of the world.
This trip is about finding myself in solitude, to escape the perpetual loneliness and coming to terms with it, as well as being the perpetual outsider, finding my self-confidence, finding my mojo again. It is like I lost passion for life. I have been in this cycle of devaluing my role in things primarily because of my constant self doubt. And of course there is losing folks along the journey we call life.
So why am I in this cycle of self-doubt? I was told by multiple people to devaluing my role in things and I have seen all these things usually in dreams, but here I am in this constant self-doubt, why is that? Well it is feels like I have been hitting walls, and I mean hard, and this past year I just decided not to get up, and on top of that I have a habit of not forgiving myself for not getting up, when I finally hit rock bottom.
In Haiti, I returned with diarrhea after dealing with it for a month. Literally felt I shitted out my entire life force/mojo. I hit total rock bottom, swimming in a pool of depression, bringing back along with it a heap load of anxiety. I was told by a friend that most of our serotonin is produced in our gut. I was like great I obviously shitted it all of mine out. So is this mean the depression was physical or emotions, or spiritual, well I would say it is all three.
So why has it taken me so long to get here where I am actually doing something about it, well it comes down to it, I didn’t think I deserved healing, I didn’t deserve to feel good about my body, or deserve the time to put in to finally feel good about myself. And also doubted my ability to my very core, doubted my visions which inturn made me sick. Big shout outs to Pamela and Zainab who always reminded me that when I was at my lowest.
So again that brings me back to why I am here on the other side of the world. North America apparently makes me crazy if I don’t leave it for more than a year. So I am finally seeing that the work that needs to be done includes myself, and I know I have been stubborn about it, hard shelled (Cancer) crab about it. So I am finally here to recentere, reground and find comfort finally, through finding solitude.
It was quite an opportuity to spend full time with on the beach with 2 year old, (in Phoenix) because 1. I was also a beach toddler, spent my whole 2nd year of life in the Caribbean Sea. 2. I have come to realize the synchronisticity in doing this right now. These past few years, I have come out as an empat, and stopped hidding that fact, as I have in the past. Since the emotional crash at the end of 2014, I have been lost in the emotional pain and turmoil, y’all. It at times was so overwhelming that it seemed unending. So lost, found my self deep in the middle of a depressing May 2015.
JUNGLE!!!! Phaeng Waterfall
I lost myself in the pain kinda hold onto it like a life perserver. (Why do we do that tho?) deep in depresion and the thing is not all of the pain was mine, and never usually is. All my life I have felt emotions that weren’t mine felt others around me and the collective pain, and the Earths pain. It isn’t just empathizing I actually feel the emotions as my own, so much so felt like I couldn’t even feel for myself, like I was empty.. invaded with other peoples stuff all the time.
One mountain view, more to go Phaeng Waterfall
This brings me to being with a 2 year old, because as an empath it seems I am still a toddler, I mean a toddler’s tantrums are just that feeling emotions for the filrs time. All my life i have felt that the world was on my shoulders well it is actually in my gut. I feel collective pain and with the advent of social media it has only gotten worse.
Ask my parents I’e always taken other people’s problems as m own from High School taking people in all the way to today. People staying at my house, I will always bring people home to do so. My cousin always said I attracked the crazy, but the thing is I never really saw anyoine as crazy, I mean pretty much took folks at face value with and empathized without judgement.
Wat Sritanu (local temple) I see Buddist Monks going for their daily walk every morning on my morning.
The problem is when you run into the energy vampires or sociopaths, who are exhausting, they differ in that often the energy vampires don’t even know that are are that… sociopaths know what they are doing. Learnt that they are cyptonite for empaths, I’ve run into them unfortunately. They are the same as sociopaths in that they are all encompassing in therir own emotional needs and take, take, take, take, and for an unaware empath the automatic is to give, give, give until they have nothing left. So I had to walk away from friendships, which for me causes me heartbreak, each and every one of them. So my hope with my time here is to move out of my toddler stage, which brings me back to the sychronicity of this trip, spending my whole trip with a toddler. The hope in this triop is moving forward as an empath out of the toddler stage and be able to be functional with this gift that right now feels like a curse.
So, I’m here in Thailand. And I know it has been a minute y’all since my last entry, since I’ve written my last reflections. I know, I know I use to do this twice a year, on the birthday and on the turn of the new year. But there is numerous of reasons why I have been M.I.A which I will share with you from the oher side of the world, in the hopes to pic myself out of this depression that I have been in. So gratefule that I am able to do this trip, and I was given the opportunity to do this trip, via Jenise Solstice Sister and the Universe, thank you.
The Diaspora Travels: Haiti
If folks no me I have been all in on this Haiti Project https://thediasporatravelshaiti.wordpress.com/ since November of 2010, and primarily with no support which really matches the subject on the ground. I knew that going in but it is different intellectually knowing it ahead of time, is different than going through it emotionally trying to sustain the project to the present. Last year I was in Jacmel/Port au Prince for 3 months on a hand to mouth budget, stretching my network to it absolute limit, catching a parasite having diarrea for the last month of the shoot.
The original production crew that came with me throughout the 2011 production fell apart, primarily because of the shoe string budget, and as well as expansion of support to extend to also building support of Saklakwel and Earthship Haiti, because it is more than a film project is also a Community Building Project.
I questioned myself all throughout the process, which continued after I returned to Toronto. My return to Toronto didn’t help didn’t help much. Fell into a deep depression and a wave of other stuff that I didn’t deal with such as loss, and toxic bahaviour which hit me like a ton of bricks, staight hit me in the face and keep me in my room for a year.
The Haiti project came to me in a dream, very few folks know this but it did, came to me in a premonition dream before the Earthquake in Jan 2010, so a year later after the Earthquake found myself in Haiti. But after my return in May 2015, I began to doubt that original vision, which inturn made me further sick. I doubted it despite visions from other folks, (shout outs to Pamela Sova and Zainab Amadahy really for reminding me what I already knew).
Now with Hurricane Matthew, we see that things are on repeat, and my dream actuallyis becoming move and more real, and if I had any doubt that the vision was true, is gone with the winds.
So why did I doubt it, well it is from my other struggle of not valueing myself or trusting my role in things, I was told word via the Ancestors that I tend to make myself small which tends to stall things, so my question here is why do I do this???? Why so much self-doubt?Well I know this project has tested me in every which way, and the rejection from York University, put in a tail spin straight to rock bottom, further into depression. And when I get to that space the anxiety then the cycle of negative self talk and cycle of self-hate. All those people who left me in the past return, to tell me that of course it was because I was disgusting and a massive failure. When I am in that space no one can tell me anything else, and there I stayed for a year and a half.
And I find myself here in Thailand.
Disconnecting from Toronto and Social Media
Toronto is a lonely city, no really it is, it is the city with no memoryy, it is the city of no community, and with the advent of social media, it has made it worse. So need to disconnect from the minutiae of Toronto is real. I’ve realized that I do need to spend at least a few months outside it, or else I lose my mind.
So I am here getting the headspace to do that. Give thanks to the Universe for bringing me here.
On Friday, September 12, 2015, Black Creek Food Justice Network including Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, gathered at the corner of Jane and Finch, to Rally for Food Justice. Speakers include, Suzanne Narain, Butterfly, Andrea (Peachtree) – JFAAP, Food Not Bombs (St.Catherines), Gary (OCAP) Music by New Traditions. They rally for Food Justice, and took the streets and March up Jane/Finch North to Driftwood Community Centre, Guerrilla Gardening along the way.
Black Creek Food Justice Network
List of Demands:
FOOD IS A HUMAN RIGHT !
Join the Jane and Finch Community as we take to the streets and demand FOOD JUSTICE!
• Make City Parks and Hydro Corridors accessible for community residents to garden and grow food
• Remove security guards and undercover police from grocery stores in predominantly racialized and working-class communities (high-income and/or largely white neighbourhoods do not have visible security presence)
• Subsidize small farmers and promote ecologically informed farming policies that support young, new, and racialized farmers.
• Core funding from all levels of government for organizations doing food justice and urban agriculture work so that they can be sustainable
• Make healthy food more accessible to people with mental and physical health challenges
• Increase and maintain the minimum wage at a liveable wage rate or a basic guaranteed income
• Raise ODSP and OW rates
• Support migrant farm workers’ political demands, which include a) access to landed status upon arrival; b) a permanent residency regularization program for those already in Canada, c) equal access to all social programs; d) a fair appeal process before any repatriation order; and e) full protections under the provincial Employment Standards Act and Regulations
• Mandate published images be representative of a variety of bodies, body shapes, sizes and skin tones.
• Create, fund and maintain a garden in every school
There will be a workshop, performances and events happening like Revolutionary Gardening from 10am-11:30am.
The afternoon will kick off with a march from Jane & Finch to Driftwood Community Centre and then lead into some great performances by Sun Therealsun and Ruben Esguerra and food!
Later on come and join us for a panel discussions, more food, art, entertainment and some great (as yet to be revealed) mini workshops!
If you would like to endorse this event please email:
Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP)
Advocacy for Change
Jane Finch Action Against Poverty
Take the streets again
Friday, October 16th 4pm
S/E Corner of Jane and Finch http://jfaap.com/
The Journals Move through Time and Space.
Journals of a Docuvixen is a blog about community centred film, video and digital production and the goal is to support artists and communities to become self-sustaining and autonomous.