Ajax for All Presents: Diversity X Change 2023

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diversity x change

About the Diversity X Change Program

This program provides valuable opportunities for individuals to delve into the essential topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through engaging art, educational resources, and effective programming initiatives. It is designed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge around various intersectionalities and personal experiences within the community. It creates a supportive environment that encourages personal growth and fosters a deeper understanding of these critical concepts.

Diversity X Change facilitates community learning, reflection, and adaptation in the face of complex and diverse challenges. It achieves this goal by fostering relationships and addressing systemic barriers such as biases and prejudices hindering civic engagement. By prioritizing the development of inclusive and equitable communities, this platform aims to create a space where individuals from all walks of life can come together to exchange ideas, learn from one another, and work towards a common goal of mutual understanding and social progress.

The primary objective of Diversity X Change is to enhance the level of knowledge and understanding among the residents of Ajax and neighbouring communities, with a particular focus on promoting civic resiliency. Our top priority is to ensure that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are at the forefront of our community's growth and development. By prioritizing these values, we can foster a more vibrant and inclusive environment that benefits everyone in our community.

Diversity X Change 2023

This year we are using engaging artwork installations at known community spaces to encourage discussion on essential topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Visit the Diversity X Change Exhibits and share your thoughts on the themes displayed. QR Codes are available at each location to immediately provide you thoughts.

How did the exhibit(s) make you feel? Do you have any personal stories or experiences you would like to share publicly? Want a chance for your comments to be shared on our Instagram? Share your thoughts with a photo at the exhibit and tag us (@townofajax) for a chance to be featured on our story!

The Town will also be hosting special pop ups at each location to allow residents to learn about the artists and their creative process and take photos.

You can also let us know your thoughs on each exhibit using the feedback tool below.


Diversity X Change Exhibits

On display from August 31 - September 14. Visit and let us know how the piece makes you feel.

Exhibit 1 @ McLean Community Centre, 95 Magill Drive, Ajax, ON L1T 4M5
Anti-Islamophobia & Community

Anti-Islamophobia and community exhibit

Exhibit 2 @ Audley Recreation Centre, 1955 Audley Road, Ajax, ON L1Z 0L2
Black Lives Matter & Entertainment

Black lives matter exhibit

Exhibit 3 @ Rotary Park, 177 Lake Driveway West, Ajax, ON L1S 7J1
Missing Indigenous Women
Missing Indigenous women exhibit


Diversity X Change Pop-Ups:

DXC Theme: Anti-Islamophobia & Community
Location: McLean Community Centre (95 Magill Dr, Ajax, ON L1T 4M5)
Pop-Up Date: September 12, 2023

Professional Biography:
Artist Tassneem Hamed; Born in Libya and raised in Canada, Tassneem Hamed's artistic spirit was nurtured by the intriguing intersections of art, science, and culture. When her family relocated to Canada, her initial creative pursuits faced hurdles due to a lack of representation in the art world. Yet, her relentless curiosity and fascination for diverse disciplines led her to pursue art, using it as a tool to express thoughts and emotions, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers. Tassneem's artistic practice is shaped by her intellectual curiosity, Astrophysics and Studio Art studies at the University of Western Ontario, and her identity as a Muslim woman. While she works across multiple mediums, including sculpture, digital art, printmaking, and photography, painting is where Tassneem truly finds her most resonant voice. Tassneem's mission as an artist is to stimulate intellectual curiosity, challenge preconceptions, and foster connections that bridge cultural and linguistic divides.

Inspiration for the Artwork:
Anti-Islamophobia and Community, “A Mosaic of Brotherhood and Sisterhood” unfolds on a vast canvas, capturing the essence of the Quranic verse, "And We made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another." Spanning a massive canvas, the artwork is a swirling tapestry of interconnected human silhouettes, representing diverse tribes and nations. Each silhouette is painted in a myriad of colours, capturing the essence of humanity’s vast spectrum.

The Creator designed human societies as diverse nations and tribes, fostering natural collaboration and unique identities among them. This diversity enabled families, tribes, and nations to unite, establishing shared values and collaborating for global harmony. However, it's unfortunate that some, due to ignorance, misconstrued these divine distinctions as reasons for rivalry and animosity. True superiority among individuals lies not in lineage or tribe but in moral virtue. It's in being more God-conscious, actively shunning evil, and steadfastly pursuing a path of piety and righteousness.

Other resources:
Website: www.tassneemhamed.com
Islamic Art: https://www.instagram.com/tnovadesigns/

DXC Theme: Black Lives Matter & Entertainment
Location: Audley Recreation Centre (1955 Audley Rd, Ajax, ON L1Z 0L2)
Pop-Up Date: September 13, 2023

Professional Biography:
Jeff is a graphic artist and creative director with over a decade of experience in the industry. With a French-only background, Jeff relocated to Port Perry as a young teen. Filling the pages of his notebooks with comics and skateboard designs became the language that would help him bridge the anglophone barrier. He continued to high school, excelling in art class and eventually pursuing a Diploma in Graphic Design. Jeff travelled the globe, broadening his palette and capturing real-world inspiration from far-off corners like Hokkaido and Tasmania. He's gone on to launch an art show in Japan, paint murals in multiple Australian cities and help create logos and branding for Fortune 500s and mom-and-pop shops alike. Jeff is currently based in Toronto, still sketching in notebooks.

Inspiration for the Artwork:
"Lyrically Ignited," graphic artwork. As a digital artist, I am inspired by music, constantly having some on in the background while creating art on the computer. From this sprung the idea to center the artwork of Lyrically Ignited around musical artists that empower Black People and/or have created works that are considered protest songs toward a social movement. The artwork is an illustrative collage that blends textures, photographs, illustrations, and icons to showcase song lyrics of empowerment in a storyline that is a pastiche of different images.

Artists and songs featured include:
Oddisee - What They'll Say
Kendrick Lamar - HiiiPower
Nina Simone - To Be Young
Gifted and Black Lauryn Hill - Lost Ones Run
The Jewels - goonies vs. E.T.
Little Simz - X + Therapy

DXC Theme: Missing Indigenous Women
Location: Rotary Park (177 Lake Driveway W, Ajax, ON L1S 7J1)
Pop-Up Date: September 14, 2023

Professional Biography:
The best way to describe oneself would be a man of exquisite taste and no fear of danger. A man who never does anything by conventional means. With that out of the way – my first job during college was to write, illustrate, design, and solicit a comic book for an independent publisher. This project saw me off to Turkey shortly after the failed coup d’état in 2016. During this trip, I witnessed riots, saw the aftermath of suicide bombings and was in the center of a very inhospitable environment. Upon my battle-hardened return, I completed the project and sold the comic. I sold around 7,000 copies and was invited to participate in a panel at Comic San Diego in 2019. During this brief period (2017-2019), I would illustrate books, create short comics and animations for clients and teach art programs at Islamic schools in Canada and the US. However, once I completed my first mural for a client, the rest became history. Today the bulk of my work is usually culturally relevant and typically representative of many communities; Indigenous, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, and Pakistani. Most of my work tends to be commercial, and to describe the art itself would be a mix of illustration and fine art on a massive scale with my unique touch and flare.

Inspiration for the Artwork:
This Indigenous artwork is meant to invoke a sense of danger immediately – something I am confident nearly all the missing Indigenous women have felt. For decades, Canada's high and disproportionate rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls, resulting in an appalling number of missing and murdered victims, have only recently gained national media attention. Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission supported the call for a national public inquiry in 2015 after long-term advocacy from Indigenous women and communities, women's groups, and international organizations. They often go missing on highways, at truck stops, and at night – thus, my inspiration for this art piece is to capture the seclusion and secrecy surrounding their disappearances. The limited colour palate allows for the intensity of the red to draw the viewer’s eye –red itself is often associated with danger. This theme is important to me because of my Indigenous heritage and connection to my mother, who was given up for adoption at an early age during the residential school era (the 1950s – she is of Iroquois descent), and my paternal grandmother, whom I grew up around and was a part of the Algonquin community. These two significant women in my life connect me to an unfortunate history, a current reality, and a family lineage that I have never gotten the chance to explore but feel deeply connected to.

About the Diversity X Change Program

This program provides valuable opportunities for individuals to delve into the essential topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through engaging art, educational resources, and effective programming initiatives. It is designed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge around various intersectionalities and personal experiences within the community. It creates a supportive environment that encourages personal growth and fosters a deeper understanding of these critical concepts.

Diversity X Change facilitates community learning, reflection, and adaptation in the face of complex and diverse challenges. It achieves this goal by fostering relationships and addressing systemic barriers such as biases and prejudices hindering civic engagement. By prioritizing the development of inclusive and equitable communities, this platform aims to create a space where individuals from all walks of life can come together to exchange ideas, learn from one another, and work towards a common goal of mutual understanding and social progress.

The primary objective of Diversity X Change is to enhance the level of knowledge and understanding among the residents of Ajax and neighbouring communities, with a particular focus on promoting civic resiliency. Our top priority is to ensure that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are at the forefront of our community's growth and development. By prioritizing these values, we can foster a more vibrant and inclusive environment that benefits everyone in our community.

Diversity X Change 2023

This year we are using engaging artwork installations at known community spaces to encourage discussion on essential topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Visit the Diversity X Change Exhibits and share your thoughts on the themes displayed. QR Codes are available at each location to immediately provide you thoughts.

How did the exhibit(s) make you feel? Do you have any personal stories or experiences you would like to share publicly? Want a chance for your comments to be shared on our Instagram? Share your thoughts with a photo at the exhibit and tag us (@townofajax) for a chance to be featured on our story!

The Town will also be hosting special pop ups at each location to allow residents to learn about the artists and their creative process and take photos.

You can also let us know your thoughs on each exhibit using the feedback tool below.


Diversity X Change Exhibits

On display from August 31 - September 14. Visit and let us know how the piece makes you feel.

Exhibit 1 @ McLean Community Centre, 95 Magill Drive, Ajax, ON L1T 4M5
Anti-Islamophobia & Community

Anti-Islamophobia and community exhibit

Exhibit 2 @ Audley Recreation Centre, 1955 Audley Road, Ajax, ON L1Z 0L2
Black Lives Matter & Entertainment

Black lives matter exhibit

Exhibit 3 @ Rotary Park, 177 Lake Driveway West, Ajax, ON L1S 7J1
Missing Indigenous Women
Missing Indigenous women exhibit


Diversity X Change Pop-Ups:

DXC Theme: Anti-Islamophobia & Community
Location: McLean Community Centre (95 Magill Dr, Ajax, ON L1T 4M5)
Pop-Up Date: September 12, 2023

Professional Biography:
Artist Tassneem Hamed; Born in Libya and raised in Canada, Tassneem Hamed's artistic spirit was nurtured by the intriguing intersections of art, science, and culture. When her family relocated to Canada, her initial creative pursuits faced hurdles due to a lack of representation in the art world. Yet, her relentless curiosity and fascination for diverse disciplines led her to pursue art, using it as a tool to express thoughts and emotions, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers. Tassneem's artistic practice is shaped by her intellectual curiosity, Astrophysics and Studio Art studies at the University of Western Ontario, and her identity as a Muslim woman. While she works across multiple mediums, including sculpture, digital art, printmaking, and photography, painting is where Tassneem truly finds her most resonant voice. Tassneem's mission as an artist is to stimulate intellectual curiosity, challenge preconceptions, and foster connections that bridge cultural and linguistic divides.

Inspiration for the Artwork:
Anti-Islamophobia and Community, “A Mosaic of Brotherhood and Sisterhood” unfolds on a vast canvas, capturing the essence of the Quranic verse, "And We made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another." Spanning a massive canvas, the artwork is a swirling tapestry of interconnected human silhouettes, representing diverse tribes and nations. Each silhouette is painted in a myriad of colours, capturing the essence of humanity’s vast spectrum.

The Creator designed human societies as diverse nations and tribes, fostering natural collaboration and unique identities among them. This diversity enabled families, tribes, and nations to unite, establishing shared values and collaborating for global harmony. However, it's unfortunate that some, due to ignorance, misconstrued these divine distinctions as reasons for rivalry and animosity. True superiority among individuals lies not in lineage or tribe but in moral virtue. It's in being more God-conscious, actively shunning evil, and steadfastly pursuing a path of piety and righteousness.

Other resources:
Website: www.tassneemhamed.com
Islamic Art: https://www.instagram.com/tnovadesigns/

DXC Theme: Black Lives Matter & Entertainment
Location: Audley Recreation Centre (1955 Audley Rd, Ajax, ON L1Z 0L2)
Pop-Up Date: September 13, 2023

Professional Biography:
Jeff is a graphic artist and creative director with over a decade of experience in the industry. With a French-only background, Jeff relocated to Port Perry as a young teen. Filling the pages of his notebooks with comics and skateboard designs became the language that would help him bridge the anglophone barrier. He continued to high school, excelling in art class and eventually pursuing a Diploma in Graphic Design. Jeff travelled the globe, broadening his palette and capturing real-world inspiration from far-off corners like Hokkaido and Tasmania. He's gone on to launch an art show in Japan, paint murals in multiple Australian cities and help create logos and branding for Fortune 500s and mom-and-pop shops alike. Jeff is currently based in Toronto, still sketching in notebooks.

Inspiration for the Artwork:
"Lyrically Ignited," graphic artwork. As a digital artist, I am inspired by music, constantly having some on in the background while creating art on the computer. From this sprung the idea to center the artwork of Lyrically Ignited around musical artists that empower Black People and/or have created works that are considered protest songs toward a social movement. The artwork is an illustrative collage that blends textures, photographs, illustrations, and icons to showcase song lyrics of empowerment in a storyline that is a pastiche of different images.

Artists and songs featured include:
Oddisee - What They'll Say
Kendrick Lamar - HiiiPower
Nina Simone - To Be Young
Gifted and Black Lauryn Hill - Lost Ones Run
The Jewels - goonies vs. E.T.
Little Simz - X + Therapy

DXC Theme: Missing Indigenous Women
Location: Rotary Park (177 Lake Driveway W, Ajax, ON L1S 7J1)
Pop-Up Date: September 14, 2023

Professional Biography:
The best way to describe oneself would be a man of exquisite taste and no fear of danger. A man who never does anything by conventional means. With that out of the way – my first job during college was to write, illustrate, design, and solicit a comic book for an independent publisher. This project saw me off to Turkey shortly after the failed coup d’état in 2016. During this trip, I witnessed riots, saw the aftermath of suicide bombings and was in the center of a very inhospitable environment. Upon my battle-hardened return, I completed the project and sold the comic. I sold around 7,000 copies and was invited to participate in a panel at Comic San Diego in 2019. During this brief period (2017-2019), I would illustrate books, create short comics and animations for clients and teach art programs at Islamic schools in Canada and the US. However, once I completed my first mural for a client, the rest became history. Today the bulk of my work is usually culturally relevant and typically representative of many communities; Indigenous, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, and Pakistani. Most of my work tends to be commercial, and to describe the art itself would be a mix of illustration and fine art on a massive scale with my unique touch and flare.

Inspiration for the Artwork:
This Indigenous artwork is meant to invoke a sense of danger immediately – something I am confident nearly all the missing Indigenous women have felt. For decades, Canada's high and disproportionate rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls, resulting in an appalling number of missing and murdered victims, have only recently gained national media attention. Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission supported the call for a national public inquiry in 2015 after long-term advocacy from Indigenous women and communities, women's groups, and international organizations. They often go missing on highways, at truck stops, and at night – thus, my inspiration for this art piece is to capture the seclusion and secrecy surrounding their disappearances. The limited colour palate allows for the intensity of the red to draw the viewer’s eye –red itself is often associated with danger. This theme is important to me because of my Indigenous heritage and connection to my mother, who was given up for adoption at an early age during the residential school era (the 1950s – she is of Iroquois descent), and my paternal grandmother, whom I grew up around and was a part of the Algonquin community. These two significant women in my life connect me to an unfortunate history, a current reality, and a family lineage that I have never gotten the chance to explore but feel deeply connected to.

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Page last updated: 20 Feb 2024, 05:49 PM