389 Church Street, Toronto, ON.
14’ tall x 8’ wide; porcelain, stone, glass, resin, marine plywood
Juried commission, Church Street Mural Project
Artist: Anna Camilleri
Concept: Anna Camilleri & Tristan R. Whiston
Maker Team: Anna Camilleri, Tristan R. Whiston, Katie Yealland, Chantelle Gobeil
Church Street Mural Project Co-Curators: Syrus Marcus Ware and James Fowler
Artist Statement by Anna Camilleri:
When the Church Street Mural Project was announced in 2012, it drew my interest because my practice, over the last two decades, has hinged on navigation of the public realm including space, interaction, and engagement with publics in the creative process. As a queer person with cultural and geographic ties to the Church-Wellesley Village in Toronto, I also had a personal stake in the project.
Two community consultations facilitated by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and co-curators Syrus Marcus Ware and James Fowler, were held at the 519 Church Street Community Centre in the autumn of 2012. The 519’s assembly hall was filled to capacity; ReDefine Arts artistic co-director Tristan R. Whiston and I participated in both sessions. A broad sweep of lived experience, community perspectives, and historical accounts were shared. The Church Street Mural Project was to coincide with World Pride, which heightened interest in the project.
Two community members, Monica Forrester and Chanelle Gallant, spoke powerfully about social, activist, and labour histories, criminalization of sex work, and the vital contributions of queer and trans sex workers in LGBTTQ2S communities. Their words led me to imagine and design “Homage” -- an aesthetic and discursive intervention into un/acknowledged narratives. The red umbrella, a symbol for sex workers’ rights and solidarity around the world, is emblematic of shelter from prohibitionist laws that sanction discrimination and violence against sex workers.