Picket Parade

The recent strike by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 3903, was not solely a political action against York’s administration. It was also a cultural event, in which union members, their allies and a wider public interrogated complex social and economic dynamics. Each of the four artists in this exhibition have used their own creative practices to dramatize this act of interrogation, and invite audiences to consider the strike—its causes, its political and social environments, its performance of protest, its injustices—from new and surprising angles.

Andrew Winchur – “Provocative Lines”
Photography and mixed media


My daily writing exercise on the CUPE picket lines was an attempt to introduce a literary conversation into the union’s direct action against York University. Rather than try to command the space by means of oral recital, I used chalk to physically inscribe each poem on the build environment. This leant my work a nebulous and open-ended quality; I consciously declined to signal a “start” or “end” to these performances, and picketers and passersby were left to engage (or ignore) each text on their own terms.


Provocative Lines presents a photographic archive of these original performances, but it also calls for the conversation to continue and change. Visitors are invited to use the blank paper and chalk to create poems, lyrics, short prose or pictures that somehow respond to the work presented here. (See below.) There are no criteria and no restrictions.


(Click here to see an earlier iteration of this project.)


Bernadette Wycks – ““Puppet Insurgence: The People of York versus the Commodification of Public Education”
Mixed media puppet, banner and masks



NM Livingston – This is what the end of a strike looks like


Medium: Glossy B & W – white border – digital photographic prints – mounted on Russian  Birch panels.
Description: Series recorded on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 for I & I.


Location: The Rexall Centre and surrounds
Number and dimensions of pieces: 9 – 5” X 7” photographs mounted on 8” x 10” Panels
Assembled  Thursday August 27, 2015 for Picket Parade in the Zig-Zag Gallery ℅ Wild Garden Media Centre Faculty of Environmental Studies York University

For an earlier iteration of the project click here. 


Carmen Ocampo Velazquez – “Of Textures and Detextures”
Mixed media sculpture


This installation recalls the interactive Picket Parade performance which happened  after the strike. It explores the tension between  invisible barriers that block us from being present and the awakening through the senses that happens when we make it through those barriers.


This entry was posted in Arts Organizing, Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *