Feature

Speaking volumes: Lillian Allen guest-curates AGO series

"the world was opening up; music around the world, and cultures, were coming together to embrace a larger family."


Internationally acclaimed writer, dub poet and a professor in OCAD U’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Lillian Allen, has guest-curated a four-week series of poetry, music and spoken word at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  As part of Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, the landmark ‘celebration of the voice’ exhibition showcases an array of established and budding local artists, featuring some of Toronto’s most dynamic spoken word talent.

The AGO Friday Nights in October series offers an opportunity to experience artists who worked during the period the exhibition covers. The final Friday in the series features a performance by Allen, herself, on October 28 (Lillian Allen & the Revolutionary Tea Party with Janet Rogers and Amani). Allen and her band will be re-creating the activism and cultural revolution of her groundbreaking, Juno award-winning album, Revolutionary Tea Party, along with some new content.

Allen describes the 1971-1989 timeframe as a period of “a lot of creativity, a lot of inter-connection from cultural collaboration — a time when people, obviously, were not comfortable with old traditions and some of the dialogue and debates around race and equality.” As she describes it, “the world was opening up; music around the world, and cultures, were coming together to embrace a larger family.”

Allen has been teaching creative writing at OCAD University since 1992.  Inspired by “anything that is energetic, progressive, beautiful and forward-looking,” she credits her OCAD U students for inspiring her with “that kind of creativity, cutting-edge positioning.”

As a writer, vocalist and social activist, she has recorded several albums, including Revolutionary Tea Party (1986) and Conditions Critical (1988), for which she received Juno Awards for best reggae/calypso album.  As one of the originators of dub poetry, she is the founder of the DubPoets Collective in Toronto and has led such programs as Fresh Arts, Native Women in the Arts and Black Arts Service Organizations.

In addition to the performances, visitors can hear Allen’s Revolutionary Tea Party album on the AGO’s fourth floor. 

The exhibition is included in general admission.

 





Internationally acclaimed writer, dub poet and a professor in OCAD U’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Lillian Allen, has guest-curated a four-week series of poetry, music and spoken word at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  As part of Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, the landmark ‘celebration of the voice’ exhibition showcases an array of established and budding local artists, featuring some of Toronto’s most dynamic spoken word talent.

The AGO Friday Nights in October series offers an opportunity to experience artists who worked during the period the exhibition covers. The final Friday in the series features a performance by Allen, herself, on October 28 (Lillian Allen & the Revolutionary Tea Party with Janet Rogers and Amani). Allen and her band will be re-creating the activism and cultural revolution of her groundbreaking, Juno award-winning album, Revolutionary Tea Party, along with some new content.

Allen describes the 1971-1989 timeframe as a period of “a lot of creativity, a lot of inter-connection from cultural collaboration — a time when people, obviously, were not comfortable with old traditions and some of the dialogue and debates around race and equality.” As she describes it, “the world was opening up; music around the world, and cultures, were coming together to embrace a larger family.”

Allen has been teaching creative writing at OCAD University since 1992.  Inspired by “anything that is energetic, progressive, beautiful and forward-looking,” she credits her OCAD U students for inspiring her with “that kind of creativity, cutting-edge positioning.”

As a writer, vocalist and social activist, she has recorded several albums, including Revolutionary Tea Party (1986) and Conditions Critical (1988), for which she received Juno Awards for best reggae/calypso album.  As one of the originators of dub poetry, she is the founder of the DubPoets Collective in Toronto and has led such programs as Fresh Arts, Native Women in the Arts and Black Arts Service Organizations.

In addition to the performances, visitors can hear Allen’s Revolutionary Tea Party album on the AGO’s fourth floor. 

The exhibition is included in general admission.

 

Author: 
Natalie Pavlenko