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Jan 19-25, 2013 – Talking Bloc_s Arts Exhibition

Talking Blocs Slider -Final Slider-01

 Talking Bloc_s Arts Exhibition, January 19-25, 2013 at #Hashtag Gallery, 801 Dundas West

Art talks politics. Politics talks art.

The NATO Council of Canada and Poli_Aesthetics

are pleased to present a politically-inspired arts exhibition featuring the works of visual and performance artists.

Join the conversation!

The Theme of Talking Bloc_s

Policymaking is about putting words into action, turning sentences into skylines and rubble into opportunities. A strong visual component exists within this craft, whereby theories can mold educational initiatives and principles construct housing projects. And much like art, these ideas and these designs translate into images that mean different things to different people. Whether or not one is an informed citizen or a seasoned patron, we all have varying reactions to the headlines and different tastes for aesthetic style.

When we think about such concepts as peace-building, institution-building, capacity-building and state-building, what sorts of images come to mind? What are we building? Are we captivated by the motif of humanitarianism, or outraged by the ostentations of imperialism? Can we locate patriotism in the abstractions of conflict? Are we distracted by a method of organized hypocrisy, or do we see productivity in the complexity of bureaucracy? Whether hollow talk or moving rhetoric, political policies can both build and transform societies as much as they can damage and destroy them. Deciding whether a particular political vision amounts to a work of art is up to the viewer. In this exhibition, artists are the viewers, presenting their own representations of the political world, deconstructing and re-building what the political language mean to them.

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, January 19

Policy wonks and political artists: Let’s talk!

7.00 – Opening with wine & hors d’oeuvres

7.30 – Lîla Ensemble (jazz music, modern dance performance)

8.10 – Break

8.40 – Vasiliki Bednar: “The Art of Policy”

9.00 – Dave Meslin: “Redefining Apathy”

9.20 – Break

9.30-10.00 – Lishai Peel and Greg Frankson (spoken word, political poetry)


NCC members: $35
Non-members: $40
Students: $20

*Relevant IDs will be checked at the door (e.g. Student)

*Limited capacity venue, please buy your tickets in advance.

*This event is apart of the arts and cultural programming of the NATO Council of Canada, a registered non-profit organization.




T: (416) 979-1875 (The NATO Council)


Talking Bloc_s Arts Exhibition JPEG


Speakers & Performers:

Lîla Ensemble is a free-spirited cast of modern dancers and jazz musicians who create meaning at the intersection of music and movement. Together they are at once a dance company and a musical group, fluidly operating between both spheres. The term Lîla comes from the Hindu idea that all things, both beautiful and brutal, are the result of divine, creative play – the play of gods. Lîla ensemble is inspired by this concept, creating expressive pieces that are rich with fantasy and imagination. Since their inception in early 2012, Lila Ensemble has presented poignant and dynamic shows to audiences in Toronto and across Europe.

Bea Labikova – saxophones
Jessica Houghton – human body movement
Raphael Roter – drums and percussion
Christina Greiner – human body movement
Chris Adriaanse – contrabass
Chelsea Papps – Human Body Movement

Vasiliki Bednar: An aggressive debater and playful inquisitor, Vass works at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy & Governance while enjoying an Action Canada fellowship. For fun (and so she can finally play), she’s designing a Canadian board game that simulates policy-making in the federation that will highlight the joys of contemporary governance. When she’s not playing basketball, reading Maclean’s, or blogging, the McMaster Arts & Science graduate spends a lot of time thinking about why things are the way they are and how they can be better.

Dave Meslin is a Toronto-based artist and organiser who has instigated a variety of urban projects including the Toronto Public Space Committee, Spacing Magazine, City Idol, Human River, Toronto Cyclists Union, Dandyhorse Magazine and Better Ballots. Multi-partisan and fiercely optimistic, Dave embraces ideas and projects that cut across traditional boundaries between grassroots politics, electoral politics and the arts community. In his work, he attempts to weave elements of these communities together. Dave blogs at Mez Dispenser, and is currently co-editing a book with Coach House Press about civic engagement in Toronto.

Lishai Peel: Lishai uses the power of the pen to connect, reflect and educate. She was raised in Europe and the Middle East, but is a daughter of India’s diaspora. Every time she steps to the stage, her words carry the rich tradition of storytelling that her grandmother gifted to her. As part of her journey, she has competed in national and international
poetry slams, including representing Toronto at the Women of the World Poetry Slam, The Vancouver International Poetry Festival and the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2011. In the same year she organized the first Canadian Underground Individual Slam. In 2012, she completed a spoken word residency at The Banff Centre. Alongside her 4
teammates, she is the 2012 national slam champion.

Currently Lishai facilitates spoken word programming in various schools throughout the GTA with Unity Charity. She is the coordinator of Uniffect – a group of 25 young artists who are leaders in the youth poetry scene and their respective communities. With thanks to funding from The Toronto Arts Council and The Ontario Arts Council, Lishai is currently recording her first album. Outside of poetry, Lishai is the coordinator of Toronto Women’s City Alliance and a strong advocate for women’s inclusion, equity and equality in the municipal political arena. From City Hall to the classroom to the stage, Lishai continuously strives to use poetry as a medium for social change and community building.

Greg Frankson a.k.a. Ritallin is an Ottawa-based spoken word artist, creative services consultant, poetry organizer and arts educator. He is the co-founder of Capital Slam/Capital Poetry Collective, a former curator for Westfest Spoken Word and a past National Director of Spoken Word Canada. Greg published his debut poetry collection “Cerebral Stimulation” with BeWrite Books in 2006 and was also included in an anthology of Canadian spoken word poetry called “Mic Check” in 2008. Ritallin released the EP recording “Capital Thoughts” in 2005, and the first two volumes of the triple-CD series “Poet Psychology” in October 2010. Since 2007, Greg has been an active voice in the global mental health movement as Poet Laureate for the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. Through his creative services consultancy Cytopoetics, Greg works with young people in schools and community settings as a presenter and performer, and with businesses and social services organizations as a facilitator, keynote speaker and creative services consultant.


Poli_Aesthetics is a Toronto-based, curatorial project organized by Brianna MacGillivray that seeks to capture and critique the material dimensions of politics through the presentation of various artistic expressions and community events. For more information, visit:

Visual Artists

Gertrude Kearns

Tibi Tibi Neuspiel

Sundus Abdul Hadi

Benjamin M. Evans

Tony Taylor

Tamara Platiša

Jessica Tai

Jan Cyril Fundano

Nicole Clouston

Blerta Meraj

Camille Lauren-Gordon–talented-artist-seeks-world-change-and-she-s-only-17

Shelley Zhang


  • NATO Association of Canada

    The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.

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NATO Association of Canada
The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.