Meet our artists!

Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts
Festival & Conference Spring 2021

 May 19 – 21, 2021 via Zoom

The Gathering Divergence Multi – Arts Festival and Conference |  What Have We Learnt: Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategies towards Anti Black Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Digital Support in the Arts is envisioned as a space to gather, diverge with diversity and intersect on the many aspects of the performing arts and the  Arts sector. The festival and conference invites participants from across the world and the Canadian arts sector investigating intersections of artistic / organizational practices grounded in EDIP (Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity towards Pluralism) Divergence is a critical manifestation in critical thinking.  We encourage attendees to think together.

Register today on Eventbrite!

The Gathering’s schedule is available:

Meet our artists!

Caribbean Canadian Artistic Stars Inc. (CCAS Inc.) on Wednesday, May 19 at 1:10pm:

Caribbean Canadian Artistic Stars Inc. (CCAS Inc.) a Non-profit Organization located in Toronto was formed 10 years ago with a mixture of Canadian diversity and afro Caribbean culture composed with Art, dance, recreation. Our goal is “Dance to Inspire” and we aim to do that one performance at a time. CCAS has performed for Afrofest,SisterFest, RastaFest, TeenFest, YorkU, City Hall, TDSB, St. Lucia Toronto Association, Jamaican Canadian Association, Caribana, Hamilton Buskerfest, Jamaica Day, Napanee Festival of Light, Freedom Friday’s and many others including hosting Governor General St. Lucia platforms. We have shared our passion for the Art at our local Seniors home, schools, community, expressing our ability to interact with diverse populations. We offer free programming and services through mentorship, dance and recreation, wellness, conflict resolution, newcomer integration, families support, back to school packs, christmas parties/giftings, workshops (masquerade/mask/costume making), Caribana etc. CCAS Inc, Won the 2015 Stomp Competition Champion ” Beginners Level”, CCAS is the official ambassador for the St. Lucia cultural Masquerade in Canada.

Neetika on Wednesday, May 19 at 3:20pm:

Neetika is a GTA-based dance artist who started performing at the age of ten. Born in Libya to Indian parents, today she actively works as a Kathak performer, creator, choreographer, arts manager, and culture & diversity advocate. In 2019, with the support of ArtReach Toronto she launched a youth empowering choreography facilitation program Katha-Ras Dance Lab for underrepresented women dancers of color in Toronto. The 2020 digital edition of Katha-Ras Dance Lab was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Her community focussed work has also been supported by the Laidlaw Foundation in the past. Neetika has received professional training in Indian classical dance form Kathak from Toronto based Gurus Hemant & Vaishali Panwar. Creatively, Neetika has keen interest in exploring various layers of the traditional Kathak repertoire and presenting them with new and relevant interpretations through research, creation and performance. She has worked with/for eminent organizations like Fall for Dance North, Moonhorse Dance Theatre, Muse Arts, Theatre Oculus, North York Arts, Akumal Arts Festival, the Tortuga Escondida Residency Centre, and Nia Centre for the Arts. With a passion for arts, she hopes to bring positive social change & promote inclusivity in the dance industry through her creative voice and arts management

Here and Now Emergence Festival performence on Wednesday, May 19 at 3:40pm:

Here & Now Kensington Market is a transmedia storytelling project. This project is hosted on a choose your own adventure website created by Marie Sotto and Cathleen Calica of 187 Augusta Community Space in Kensington Market.

Here & Now is a public art project created by Marie Sotto and Cathleen Calica in collaboration with Ukai Projects funded by the Toronto Arts Council. This project was created as a response to the rapid gentrification and redevelopment we not only witness, but experience first hand as artists who live and work in the Market. Kensington is our home. The impacts of COVID-19 have left many local businesses and residents struggling to survive.

Through this project we hope to document and preserve Kensington’s vibrant culture, history and memory and spirit. Here & Now is a storytelling project using integrative media, it features audio and video recordings of Kensington community members, an interactive map and an installation piece. This project is for Kensington Market and a dream for a future beyond.

Marie Sotto is a Filipinx futurist, art witch, illustrator and storyteller.

Marie graduated with a degree in International Development Studies from York University in 2011 and since then gained ten years of experience in arts leadership, cultural strategy and program development in community arts.  As an independent artist, Marie has previously exhibited work at  Artscape Youngplace, The Gladstone Hotel and The Harbourfront Center. Last year Marie completed arts residencies
with Ukai Projects and Virtual Grounds. | Instagram: @sotto_premium

Leslie Roach on Thursday, May 20 at 12:40pm:

Leslie Roach is a poet and lawyer. Her first book, Finish this Sentence, was recently published by Mawenzi House. She was born & raised in Montreal.

Leslie has lived in many countries and worked for the United Nations for several years. She is currently based in Ottawa, where she works for the Supreme Court of Canada.

Finish this Sentence is about racism, rebellion, empowerment and self-care. Leslie’s next book will focus on presence, purpose and following one’s bliss and intuition.

Roger Sinha at Thursday, May 20 at 2:30pm:

Roger Sinha is the artistic director and choreographer for Sinha Danse, which he founded in 1991. Winner of the 2018 Charles-Biddle Award, and the 2016 Cultural Diversity Prize in Dance (Prix de la danse de Montréal), his work is unquestionably distinctive and recognized worldwide. His large repertory includes over 50 creations, touring Canada wide and overseas.
Born in London, of Armenian and Indian parents, he moved to Saskatoon at eight where his personal experiences of identity and diversity became the main inspiration for his choreography. His contemporary dance creations unite Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance, ballet, martial arts and the use of technology. 2021 marks 30 years Going Beyond Borders and Boundaries with our creations!

Twin Flames on Thursday, May 20 at 3:50pm:

Multi-Award-Winning chart-topping Canadian Indigenous Duo Twin Flames are a husband-wife duo made up of Jaaji, (Inuk and Mohawk) from Nunavik and Chelsey June, métis (Algonquin Cree). Building bridges across cultures, continents, and styles, Twin Flames, brings together a richness of personal history and musical experience. Their songs tell stories of courage and survival written in English, Inuttitut, and French. Honouring their ancestor’s history and representing their Indigenous backgrounds.

Twin Flames have released three full-length albums and have been nominated for 25 Music awards both Nationally and abroad — including 2 Canadian Folk Music Award wins, and 3 Native American Music Award wins — Two number 1 Hits on the Indigenous Music Countdown’s Top 40. They have played more than 1000+ shows throughout Canada, Greenland, the United States, Australia and France. Twin Flames wrote Human the official song for UNESCO to celebrate 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages. | |

Ravyn Wngz on Thursday May 20 at 4:10pm:

Ravyn Wngz “The Black Widow of Burlesque ” is a Tanzanian, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, empowerment movement storyteller of Trans experience. An abolitionist, and Black Renaissance Artivist. Her work is rooted in Black liberation and Indigenous Resurgence. She has a vision to create work/art/conversations that open minds, expand truths and deepen intellectual commitments into lived practices.  Her commitment is to elevate our collective global humanity.  Ravyn is a co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company. A Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Canada, A steering committee member of Black Lives Matter Toronto, A Canadian Best Selling Author and Co-Curator of The Wildseed Black Arts Fellowhip.

She is a graduate of the School Of Toronto Dance Theatre, Has trained with American Ballet Theatre, United Dance Productions(Bermuda), Uuniversity Of The ARTS Philadelphia, and Duke Ellington Performing Arts High School. She has performed and collaborated with Keith Hennesy(Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient) InDance, Xing Dance Theatre, Earth In Motion, Ballet Creole, Ontario Ballet Theatre, Brandy Leary, Ame Henderson, Jefferson Pinder(Chicago), Victoria Mata and d’bi. young anitafrica (Watah Theatre) recently took part in the Luminato Festival Black Arts Residency.  She recently premiered as lead Actor, in Obsidian Theatre and CBC Gem’s 21 Black futures.

Krystal Jagoo, Reading and Social Justice Writing Workshop on Friday May 21 at 12:20pm:

Krystal Kavita Jagoo graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Windsor. Jagoo has taught “Justice and the Poor: Issues of Race, Class, and Gender” at Nipissing University, continues to facilitate Sustainable Resistance for BIPOC Folx workshops and will teach the Writing for Social Change course at the Loft Literary Center. Her articles have been featured in Huffington Post, Healthline, and Canadaland. Her essay, “Inclusive Reproductive Justice,” was published in Volume 2 of the Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change. Her visual art, “University Ableism Bingo” was featured in Pandemic: A Feminist Response, and the zine, CRIP COLLAB. Her work was selected for Scarborough Arts’ 35th Annual Juried Exhibition: Beloved Community and her essay was published in Radical: An Unapologetic Anthology by Women & Gender Nonconforming Storytellers of Color.

Winnie Ho on Friday, May 21 at 12:20pm:

Winnie Ho is a dance performance artist who was born in Hong Kong, immigrated to Canada at the age of eight and currently living in Montreal. Winnie’s on-going interests/research include working with her Asian diaspora/queer identities, exploring notions of pleasure/play and subverting the performative gaze. She was the recipient of the 2017 Danceweb Scholarship Program at Impulstanz Festival in Vienna and has performed for Shake It Collaborations in Sweden, Chih-Chien Wang at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin and Clary Furey in Cosmic Love in Montreal. Her installations and performances have been presented at Ponderosa Festival in Stolzenhagan, Germany, SpringBoard Summer Series in Calgary, MIX Festival in New York City, Out There Festival in Portugal, Articule Gallery and La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse in Montreal. Furthermore, Winnie recently collaborated with Angie Cheng and Chi Long in Seeds cast afar from our roots, an installation-performance and research in Asian diaspora, which premiered at the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) in May, 2019. Her latest solo work aWokening was commissioned  by the CanAsian Dance Festival and Festival Accés Asie and presented by Tangente Danse in January, 2021.

Karimah Zakia Issa on Friday, May 21 at 12:50pm:

Karimah Zakia Issa is an emerging director and passionate storyteller based in Toronto, ON. She claims she could direct paint drying and it would have a queer, black woman hue to it. Her most recent project, LANES ‘20 (for the City of Toronto) is an educational, narrative dance piece that explores responsibility and participation in present day social justice movements. In development is ACE, a narrated short film based on three short stories written by Ace Clamber about intimate day-to-day moments that make up his life as a trans-man. During lockdown she has also directed, shot and edited a visual album for STORRY, that is being released in stages.

Karimah has independently produced and co-produced short films including Q&A (Kingston Canadian FF ‘19, CBC’s Short Film Face Off Finalist) and Kitty’s Naughty Knickers (DGC Best Short Film Nomination ‘19, Holly Shorts FF ‘19, Miami FF ‘20).

Oluseye on Friday. May 21 at 3:20pm:

Oluseye is a Nigerian-Canadian artist. His work explores the magnitude and polyvocality of Blackness and the ways in which it moves across space, place, and time, shaping and shifting the world. Centering Yoruba cultural references in an homage to his heritage, he bends the ancestral with the contemporary and rejects the binary distinction between the traditional and the modern; the physical and the spiritual; the past and the future; what is new and what is old. Imbuing the everyday with the mythic, his work reinforces African rituals and philosophies as living, complex, and valid traditions of Black consciousness.

Nicky Lawrence on Friday. May 21 at 3:40pm:

Nicky Lawrence is a moody, tender, tour de force of a performer and vocal artist. Moved to sing by the black women who sang before her and who continue to sing within her, Lawrence’s voice will grab you by the throat with the force of its pain, beauty, rage and ultimately—love.

The writer and creator of two original works Key Change (Globe Theatre, Regina) and Ugly Black Woman (Hart House, Paradise on Bloor) Nicky has performed on national theatre stages in countless productions to critical acclaim. With several television and movie credits to her name; Anne with an E, Workin’ Moms, Schitts Creek, Killjoys , In the Shadow of the Moon, she continues to advocate for better treatment of Black actors working in the field.

Register today on Eventbrite!

Accessibility: all sessions will be via Zoom. We will have live transcribed available for all panels (except the breakrooms section). ASL will be provided for the Digital Session on May 21. Please let us know if you have any questions or accessibility needs.

The Gathering Divergence is in partnership with CanAsian Dance Festival, Mass Culture and ArtofFestivals.