-  / The Inc.

Join exhibiting artist Sangmin Lee, HAVN collective members Ariel Bader-Shamai and Sahra Soudi on Thursday April 25, 6-7:30pm in person at the Inc. for a conversation on making art during a cost of living crisis as space for artists disappears. Whether rent is raised and artists are priced out of their studio space, or the DIY venue artists used to exhibit in or play music in shutters their doors, living and working as an artist is becoming more challenging.

Exhibiting artist Sangmin Lee’s artwork is influenced by his upbringing in Canada’s largest high rise community known as St. James Town. His current exhibition raises questions of space as he lives and works across two of North America’s most expensive cities; Toronto and New York. Using Sangmin’s exhibition as a jumping off point, panelists discuss the realities facing working artists in Hamilton today as it relates to the cost of living, studio space, art venues, third spaces and housing.

Sangmin Lee was born and raised in St. James Town (Toronto, Canada), one of the densest high-rise communities in Canada. It is an offshoot of Towers in the Park, a model of modern dwellings invented by Le Corbusier. With thoughts of utopia, it was meant to accommodate large populations with little room else for infrastructure and ornamentation.  Despite its shortcomings, St. James Town is now one of the most ethnically rich neighborhoods in Canada and is sometimes known as "the world within a block." 
Somewhere between these concrete enclosures and lived space, between drywall and parquet floor tiles, are the stories of cultural survival that centers Lee’s practice. Here, he looks to process, the unfixed, the tangential, and beyond—to wander peripherally into the margins and towards expansive narratives.

Sahra Soudi is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, educator, DJ, and community organizer based in Onón:takon/Hamilton, Ontario. They combine their social justice activism and artistic practice to envision just futures for all. They have advocated for the inclusion and participation of Black, Indigenous, disabled and racialized communities in different spaces, from artist-run centres to national galleries, and DIY venues. Soudi is an emerging artist and curator who is passionate about cross-movement solidarity and disability justice. They honour this framework by empowering and mobilizing their communities to disrupt the status quo.

Ariel Bader-Shamai is a textile artist and photographer currently based in Toronto. Her work explores sentimentality and connection. Weaving and quilting emotional landscapes primarily with recycled materials, Ariel is also a weaver of personal histories and craft through her archival work and friendships. She was a co-founder of HAVN (Hamilton Audio Visual Node), an interdisciplinary and experimental arts collective and venue formerly based in Hamilton.