Dear Readers, 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

My weekend started off with precious moments that I never planned. The moments unfolded within my serendipitous learning practices that I will always remember.

On Friday night, I met with friend Jo-Anne McArthur, who is an award-winning photojournalist and author.  I was finally able to attend readings of her book We Animals (http://www.weanimals.org/) at University of Western Ontario in London.

Jo-Anne’s work has been featured in Liz Marshall’s award-winning documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine (http://www.theghostsinourmachine.com/) that received excellent acclaim from New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among many others.  I highly recommend her groundbreaking book and film for never-before-seen images.  Her striking images move the heart in ways that are bold, beautiful and powerful. With the help of untold stories, Jo-Anne shows personalities of non-human beings and enable transformation of some of the darkest, loneliest, and terrifying spaces constructed for violence against non-human beings.  In my heart, Jo-Anne is a fearless warrior woman who uses her camera as a weapon to fight violence and celebrates the power of human empathy.  I am grateful for our common friend and activist Michael Anthony who also attended her talk and made the journey to London possible.

With award-winning photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur
With award-winning photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur

The next day, I carried Jo-Anne’s thoughts to the Feminist Art Conference (FAC) at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). This was the first time I attended a multi-disciplinary conference that included artists, academics and activists. The opening remarks and prayer by Aboriginal Artist in Residence Duke Redbird strengthened the understanding of social justice from spiritual perspectives of indigenous communities. The keynote by d’bi young spoke of fearless love, truth and integrity.  It was powerful and moving, and can be applied to all sentient beings. At the conference, choreographer Ashima Suri (www.ashimasuri.com) and team members of her organization Limitless Productions (http://limitlessproductions.ca) presented a distinctive performance.  The performance deconstructed dominant cultural ideals about women and their sexuality in private and public spaces.  What I liked about their performance was the recognition of life stories, the power of vulnerability, fearlessness, and expressions of an open heart for social change.

2014 Feminist Art Conference
2014 Feminist Art Conference

Soon after I came back from the Feminist Art Conference, I happened to meet Nidhi Shrivastava who is a PhD candidate exploring feminism, body politics, and rape in popular culture at University of Western Ontario.  Our meeting turned out to be as serendipitous as my journey to London the night before! Although we could not meet there, she came all the way to the Greater Toronto Area to spend time with close ones and review a film for ANOKHI media. Her work is admirable and I look forward to embracing her as a part of the Editorial Board of the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS).

With PhD candidate Nidhi Shrivastava from University of Western Ontario in London
With PhD candidate Nidhi Shrivastava from University of Western Ontario in London

The CMCS Editorial Board will be released shortly.  Till then, shine as a star and celebrate your unique path with joyous moments. As I observed last weekend, some of the best journeys happen when they are unplanned… and the limitless is possible in the mysterious ‘unknown’ of the present.  My International Women’s Day pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a feminist and mobilized integration of spiritual and social justice movements every day to come.

Stay tuned for more updates on CMCS premiere Speakers and Performance Series Moving Forward on Saturday, March 29! If you missed performance of Limitless Production at the Feminist Art Conference, you must attend choreographer Ashima Suri’s performance at Moving Forward.  Gratitude goes to Christine Bode (http://scullylovepromo.com) for her support of the event. The event will be opened by Dr. Louis Massey and will also feature Emmanuel Lopez’s work (www.motivatorman.com) – 19 days left!

Have a wonderful week ahead!

With affection,

Samita Nandy