How do we build a sustainable cultural haven made by and for Black and QT2S/BIPOC art communities? In the face of systemic and institutional oppression, this question is difficult but necessary to ask. In this final A Talk: when we overcame, Platform A brings together two champions of DIY culture whose award-winning work in artistic activism and community building strives to answer this question.

Join Just John of Blank Canvas and Rosina Kazi of Unit 2 for an in-depth and conversation about the love, labour, and politics of grassroots organizing. This must-hear-conversation is an essential lesson in Toronto’s history of DIY alternative art spaces and community building in the margins.

Admission is free. Please register here:

About the Speakers

Just John is a Musician based in Toronto. Raised in Scarborough he is the founding member of the art organization, Blank Canvas Gallery. Known for his high energy performance, John's vision has always been to be himself; push the boundaries in his art, contrasting styles, blurring genres and presenting fresh production and visual aesthetics.  Just John has been trailblazing D.I.Y. culture for years. Inspired by social activism, he became the driving force behind Blank Canvas Gallery, his organization is a catalyst for community and collaboration that consistently provides platforms for marginalized artists through curated experiences, performances, exhibitions, pop ups and panels. His event DEAD POET is now one of the biggest spoken word & open mic events in Toronto.

Rosina Kazi is the lead singer of the radical Toronto-based band LAL, an electronic music duo with partner, Nick Murray, founded in 1998. Their genre crosses the boundaries of Hip-Hop, Electronica, Afrobeat and more. Committed to social justice, LAL has actively supported numerous grass-roots movements in solidarity with LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC communities to build culture that challenges the norm. Rosina is also the one of the founders of Unit 2, an integral “Do It Together” queer-positive events space based in Toronto that has hosted countless community arts events, including the recently spawn Bricks and Glitter, a community arts festival dedicated to celebrating Two-Spirit, trans and queer talent, ingenuity, care, anger, and abundance. Rosina’s mentorship to emerging cultural leaders has been vital ingredient in the building of Toronto’s DIY art scene.   

Platform A acknowledges the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  

A Talks: when we overcome is co-presented by CUE and Margins of Eras Gallery.

Keep the conversation going.

A Talks is a series of roaming salons that gather creatives of all types who are innovating how we make, see, and engage in the arts. Curated by Platform A, these talks keep those invigorating conversations --started in basement studios, the bar at poetry readings, the fire pit, and from across the cypher-- going.

Past Talks