The goal is to create a dialogue about the long history of queer activism
Created under the auspices of Supporting Our Youth (SOY) and the Sherbourne Health Centre, with funding provided by Community One Foundation, the posters will gradually spread out from the traditional neighbourhood of Toronto's LGBTQ community to urban and rural community centres, shelters, libraries and schools. The goal is simple – to create dialogue about the long history of queer activism and from that dialogue inspire younger people from the LGBTQ community to find their own voices.
Project co-ordinator John Caffery, a former SOY mentor, notes that during his years working with emerging LGBTQ artists, there was a palpable "thirst for information about elders … Hall of Justice is designed as a collaboration that will create shareable resources to engage youth in social change and work on creative responses to oppression."
Activists and heroes profiled include lesbian activist and teacher LeZlie Lee Kam, anti-apartheid and AIDS activist Simon Nkoli, beloved poet and essayist bell hooks and queer youth advocate Alex Abramovich – a varied group united by their decision to speak up for people who are traditionally denied access to public spaces and discourses.
Mr. Caffery describes the selection process, wherein hundreds of potential subjects for posters were gradually winnowed down to 11, as a long bout of "listing and prioritizing." The young artists and Mr. Caffery sat in a room and "wallpapered" with photos and texts.
"I created approximately 100 profiles. There was a lot to sort through and absorb. We used a process of 'dot-mocracy' wherein each of us had 15 stickers to vote with."