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toronto 28/04/2021 - 11:00AM

Recording: b.h. Yael: Family States Book Launch

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b.h. Yael: Family States, which editor Mike Hoolboom calls a "community place," embodies the creative and collaborative spirit of b.h. Yael's life-work, and as such this event featured conversations with Richard Fung, Dalia Kandiyoti, and Robert Massoud, three of the book's contributors. This eclectic publication is sponsored by the ConverSalon collective.

The afternoon featured two performances of poetry and music by spoken word poet Lillian Allen and renowned Egyptian-Canadian vocalist Maryem Hassan Toller. A reception followed the event and was facilitated by Ashok Mathur, Dean of Graduate Studies, OCAD University.

The launch will also feature clips from FRESH BLOOD (1996), DEIR YASSIN REMEMBERED (2006) and TRADING THE FUTURE (2008). This selection of short films examines questions of Arab Jewishness, Israeli denial of the Palestinian Nakbah (disaster), as well as the intersections of planetary and religious narratives. The films streamed (Canada only) on Cinema Politica On Demand between April 19 - 27.


b.h. Yael is a Toronto based filmmaker, video and installation artist. She is Professor of Integrated Media at OCAD University and past Assistant Dean and past Chair of Integrated Media in the Faculty of Art. Yael's past film and video work has dealt with issues of identity, authority and family structures, while at the same time addressing the fragmentary nature of memory and belonging. Her work most often involves non-linear and hybrid forms, including dramatized and fictional elements combined with first person narration, autobiographical and documentary perspectives.

Michael Hoolboom is a filmmaker and writer living in Toronto.

Richard Fung is a writer and video artist born in Trinidad and based in Toronto. He is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University.

Dalia Kandiyoti is Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York and the author of two books and articles on Sephardic, Latinx, and other writing about migrations, diasporas, and the many ways in which people lose and make worlds. Dalia's current work includes an oral history project and an edited volume about Sephardi Jews and the citizenship laws in Spain and Portugal, both with Dr. Rina Benmayor.

Robert Massoud is Palestinian-Canadian. In 2004, he founded Zatoun, Fair Trade olive oil from Palestine to serve as a symbol of light, hope and peace. The oil is available in North America mostly through faith communities, the grassroots and fair trade network. Robert cofounded a worldwide project called "Trees for Life Palestine" which plants 10,000s of olive trees every year in Palestine. Zatoun is a major supporter of "Project Hope" providing "art as therapy" to help heal many thousands of children living in refugee camps in Palestine. Since 2004, Zatoun has contributed over $550,000 to these two projects.

Lillian Allen is a professor of creative writing at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD). Two time JUNO Award winner and trailblazer in the field of spoken word and dub poetry, Allen artistically explores the aesthetics of old and new sounds in music to create her distinctive leading edge brand of Canadian reggae with new world sounds in her poetry recordings, with her powerful reggae dub poetry/spoken word recordings.

Maryem Hassan Tollar is a renowned Egyptian-Canadian vocalist, known for her world music performances as well as original compositions. Her voice has been heard on the theme of CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie and A.R. Rahman's Bollywood hit, Mayya Mayya. She performs with Turkwaz, whose recording "Nazar" was nominated for a 2017 Juno award for World Music Album of the year.