What historic and contemporary relationships exist between the basic ideas of anarchism and the arts, particularly within the visual arts? What is the role of anarchist artists in popular radical movements such as the Paris Commune, protests against the G20, the Occupy encampments or even environmental concerns? Historically, how have anarchist visual artists used different mediums (engravings, painting, graffiti, culture jamming, web art, etc.) and with what success? Can we understand and appreciate the subversive power of art and reflect on its potential to help transform relations of power in our society?
These are the kinds of questions Norman Nawrocki raises with his performance/presentation, challenging all artists to think of their work critically in today's social context. Using pre-recorded music and a potpourri of over 200 images of socially engaged visual art by international anarchist artists, he spans 140 years to highlight the historical and contemporary connections between anarchist ideas and the work of dozens of socially and politically engaged artists.
Norman Nawrocki is a Montreal author, veteran spoken word artist, violinist, actor and educator with an international reputation. He has several books of short fiction and poetry (in English, French & Italian), over 50 music albums (solo & with his different bands), and has written several musicals for theatre and cabarets. He tours the world performing music, poetry, anti-sexist/queer-positive 'sex' comedy shows (like Lessons from a 7ft Penis) and giving 'Creative Resistance' workshops and lectures about how to use the arts for radical social change. He is co-founder and one of the artistic directors for the Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival, a founding member of the Montreal-based Anarchist Writers Bloc, and was co-curator of the Art + Anarchy Montreal 2007 and 2009 exhibits. He teaches part-time at Concordia University and helps organize local anarchist cabarets.
Born in the St Henry district of Montréal in 1975, Benoît Tremblay is a militant left-wing libertarian who began his career as a faux-painter in 2004. He has had six solo exhibitions, the majority of which hung bathing in the boozy atmosphere of co-operative cafés such as the well-known and ephemeral Café La petite Gaule in Pointe-St-Charles, Montréal. He also shares his world view through music and poetry, and has published two collections of poems with Sabotart Édition, an arts publishing house which he co-founded in the summer of 2007. Together with the great showman Norman Nawrocki, he instigated the most important exhibition of political art works in North America: Art+Anarchie Mtl 2007. He lives in Villeray, Montréal, where he appropriates images, paints, makes linocut prints, plays music, and writes poetry.
Keenan Poloncsak is a young artist living in Montréal who developed a passion for – even a dependency on – art and creativity at a very young age. He strives to create something true and beautiful, with or without a message, by all possible means. He produces comic strips, children’s books, and tattoo art, as well as traditional and spray paintings. He is for mutual aid, his own well-being and the well-being of others; he is against mass consumerism and the wars currently taking place. He is honored to speak to you…
Participating Artists: Norman Naworcki Benoît Tremblay Keenan Poloncsak