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Silvae Mercedes is a Mad performer, writer and designer based in Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Her work explores the liminal spaces between the private and cultural imagination, the corridors of memory, and the ways in which trauma writes itself upon them. She is a founding member of Other Hearts Collective (otherhearts.ca) and currently pursuing a B.A. in Honours English, Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Sexuality Studies at Concordia University. Upcoming 2022 works include publication in Soliloquies Anthology Issue 26.2 (poem, short story), Theatre Gargantua’s Urban ARTeries (performer) and The Intangible Adorations Caravan with ArtworxTO (performer, costume designer).

Silvae Mercedes' headshot

Max Ferguson (He/They) is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and PhD Candidate at York University. A practicing artist since 1996, Max (formerly Sarah) received their BFA from the University of Regina in 2001. He acquired his MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Visual Art and Women’s and Gender Studies) in 2017. His artistic explorations involve queer sexualities, the body, surrealism, anti-colonial approaches to artmaking and psychoanalysis.  His work ranges from photography, performance and digital-based works to paintstick, graphite and digital collage. He is also a published poet, holds a degree in journalism and has worked as a political, legal, military and arts reporter.

Max Ferguson's headshot.

Jessica Watkin is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies with research focusing on Disabled artists and how they are supported in their creation processes. Jess is a tactile, nonvisual artist who uses yarn and storytelling as method.

Jessica Watkin's headshot.

Tallan Alexander is a musician, poet, actor, author and mental health advocate living in Toronto, Ontario. Tallan lives with Bipolar 1 Disorder, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, several substance use disorders and has difficulties surrounding food. They play piano, guitar and sing, and are currently studying for their level 9 piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music. They hold a honours bachelors of science from the University of Toronto in psychology, Buddhism and sexuality. Many of Tallan’s closest loved ones died tragically and much of their work seeks to keep the dead alive and among the living.

Tallan Alexander headshot

Inspired by Toronto’s renowned, historic Bohemian Embassy, meet a new generation of artists inspiring Canada’s ever-evolving literary scene at The New Embassy: a digital mini-series of spoken word, poetry, prose, theatrical readings, music and dance.

Curated by Lebanese Canadian actor, writer and producer Yousef Kadoura, this final event in The New Embassy series reflects on the idea of collective solitude: finding community in the shared experiences, challenges and environments in which disabled and Mad artists live and create.

Presented as part of the CoMotion Festival, join musician and artist Tallan M.D., Montreal-based actor and playwright Silvae Mercedes, visual and performance artist Max Ferguson and playwright Jessica Watkin for this inspiring, multidisciplinary event. ASL interpretation and captioning will be provided.

This event will take place virtually. This event will be available to watch from Thursday, July 7 to Wednesday, July 13 as part of a special release to celebrate Canadian artists.

Curated by Yousef Kadoura
Produced by Toronto International Festival of Authors
Co-Presented with CoMotion Festival
The New Embassy event series is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts through the Digital NOW program.

      Harbourfront centre logo      Canada Council for the Arts logo

Yousef Kadoura's The New Embassy event banner features headshots of the participants with a red and white background and The New Embassy logo.

Yousef Kadoura, born in the midwestern United States and raised in Ottawa, is a Lebanese Canadian actor, writer, producer, as well as a right leg below knee amputee. Yousef is a graduate of the acting program at the National Theatre School of Canada. He has worked as the curator in residence at Tangled Art + Disability, co-curating the Flourishing series in 2018. He is also a producer, creator and host of the podcast series Crip Times. Yousef is a founding company member of Other He/Arts, a new performance collective. As an artist Yousef seeks to draw from a plurality of experiences and disciplines to expand the boundaries of performance in pursuit of accessibility, presence and shared experience.

Yousef Kadoura's headshot

Inspired by Toronto’s renowned, historic Bohemian Embassy, meet a new generation of artists inspiring Canada’s ever-evolving literary scene at The New Embassy: a digital mini-series of spoken word, poetry, prose, theatrical readings, music and dance.

Consider Disabled, Deaf and Mad futures through a riveting set of performances by Black artists. Curated by Syrus Marcus Ware, this New Embassy event explores the effects of the pandemic and white supremacy with performances by spoken word artist Britta B., actor and Deaf Olympian Courage Bacchus, and dance/movement artists Jaz Fairy J and Rodney Diverlus. This event will be presented with ASL interpretation and visual captions. This event is presented as part of the CoMotion Festival.

CW // This event contains strong language and images of a sexual nature. Discretion is advised.

Prior to the event, audiences are invited to hear more from curator Syrus Marcus Ware in a special re-release of Climate for All: Disability Rights and the Environment on April 21, which was originally broadcast as part of the 42nd Toronto International Festival of Authors in October 2021.

This event will take place virtually. This event will be available to watch from Thursday, July 7 to Wednesday, July 13 as part of a special release to celebrate Canadian artists.

Curated by Syrus Marcus Ware
Produced by Toronto International Festival of Authors
Co-Presented with CoMotion Festival
The New Embassy event series is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts through the Digital NOW program.

      Harbourfront centre logo     Canada Council for the Arts logo

Syrus Marcus Ware's The New Embassy event banner features headshots of the participants with a red and white background and The New Embassy logo.

Jaz Fairy J is an inter-disciplinary artist working with choreography, movement direction, movement meditation, sound healing, performance art, collective gathering and games, and intuitive/ancestral creative healing practice. She believes that art and creation are a portal to the divine, and in that, she is in a continuous investigation around how her work can create more space for healing. Based in Toronto, Jaz Fairy J has created over 20 original dance works presented in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Seattle, Berlin, UK, Turkey and more. She worked on Fox Production’s Rocky Horror Picture Show under the direction of Kenny Ortega in 2016, and her film collaboration In My Bones will premiere September 2021.

Jaz Fairy J headshot

Inspired by Toronto’s renowned, historic Bohemian Embassy, meet a new generation of artists inspiring Canada’s ever-evolving literary scene at The New Embassy: a digital mini-series of spoken word, poetry, prose, theatrical readings, music and dance.

Curated by author Canisia Lubrin, The New Embassy’s opening event features a lively and provocative programme of music, theatre and poetry. Experience the rhythms of Joy Lapps, leader of the Afro and Latin-Caribbean Jazz ensemble The Joy Lapps Project; a gripping monologue about the Springhill mining disaster of 1958, by Beau Dixon, presented as a selection from his one-man show Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story; as well as an appearance from Griffin Poetry Prize-shortlisted poet Aisha Sasha John. This event is presented as part of Kuumba, which is supported by TD Ready Commitment and the Government of Canada.

This event will take place virtually. This event will be available to watch from Thursday, July 7 to Wednesday, July 13 as part of a special release to celebrate Canadian artists.

This event has undergone a participant change. Please be advised that Erica Violet Lee, originally scheduled for this event, can no longer appear. The event will proceed, with apologies for any inconvenience caused by this change.

Curated by Canisia Lubrin 
Produced by Toronto International Festival of Authors 
Co-Presented with Kuumba 
Supported by TD Ready Commitment and the Government of Canada.
The New Embassy event series is funded in part by the Canada Council for the Arts through the Digital NOW program.

      Kuumba logo    TD The Ready Commitment logo      Canadian Heritage Canada Wordmark logo          Canada Council for the Arts logo

Canisia Lubrin's The New Embassy event banner features headshots of the participants with a red and white background and The New Embassy logo.

A poet and choreographer, Aisha Sasha John is the author of I have to live. (McClelland & Stewart), finalist for the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize; THOU (Book*hug), finalist for the 2015 Trillium Book Award; and TO STAND AT THE PRECIPICE ALONE AND REPEAT WHAT IS WHISPERED (UDP 2021), now in its second printing. John’s first solo work the aisha of oz premiered at the Whitney in 2017. She is the 2019-2022 Dancemakers’ Resident Artist, and in 2022 she continues the research on her ensemble work DIANA ROSS DREAM, which premieres this fall at La Chapelle in Montreal.

Aisha Sasha John's headshot