Song. Prayer. Scream. A Praxis Of Looking is a writing workshop that asks us to consider the ways artists offer pathways of escape from everyday oppressions—sites of pleasure outside expected forms of work, gender, family and desire.

Each week, critics Yaniya Lee and Jessica Lynne will post a pre-recorded conversation that traces their thinking and questions around Blackness & Modernity, Black Technologies, Sousveillance, Repair & Healing & Pleasure. Theory, visual art, poetry, literature and music guide them through considerations of art criticism and new expansive ways of seeing.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Amber Jamila Musser, Aria Dean, Harmony Holiday,  Edouard Glissant, M. Nourbese Phillip, Simone Browne and Sylvia Wynter, among others, act as Song. Prayer. Scream’s northstars.

You will be invited to respond to writing prompts and post related texts, art, video clips, poems, and songs to the Song. Prayer. Scream page. Lynne and Lee will hold weekly office hours for talk back sessions to ask questions, discuss responses to workshop prompts, and continue the conversation.

March & April, 2021

Presented by Cassandra Press and hosted at the Women's Center for Creative Work

Fall 2020 issue of Canadian Art Magazine

A year in the making, the fall 2020 issue of Canadian Art, available now, surveys the aesthetic practices and legacies of Black art production in Canada and beyond. Edited by Denise Ryner, writer and director/curator at Or Gallery, and Yaniya Lee, writer and features editor at Canadian Art, “Chroma” continues the work of “Bodies Borders Fields,” a 2019 symposium that reflected on how legacies of Black art and Black presence are omitted from Canada’s contemporary art narratives. With recent (renewed) institutional interest in Black Canadian art, and the twin pandemics of systemic racism and COVID-19 revealing how social inequality touches all sectors of life, how is Blackness being thought and rethought? In what ways are artists pushing for change? How does art address, and archive, these moments? Blackness, and Black creative practices, has survived through excesses and refusals; in “Chroma,” artists, writers and thinkers continue discussions that have too often been sidestepped in mainstream contemporary art publications—including this one. 

Read “Excesses and Refusals,” an editorial note by Yaniya Lee and Denise Ryner, here:

Find some of the content online here:

Watch the launch here:

Rock Gardens: A Conversation Exploring Other Tangled Forms of Living Together
March 7, 2020, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver

A performance reading by Lisa Robertson and Yaniya Lee for the Beginning with the Seventies symposium.

Watch documentation here:

Bodies, Borders, Fields Symposium
November 22, 23 and 24, 2019
Toronto, Canada

A “simultaneous conversation” took place on August 16, 1967 between seven speakers in Toronto and New York with the cooperation of Bell Telephone Company, the CBC and artscanada magazine (formerly Canadian Art). This cross-border conversation was recorded and published in that year’s October issue of artscanada, which was, dedicated to “black” as a concept, painterly medium, symbol as well as socio-political category, expression and status.

Convened by Denise Ryner in collaboration with Yaniya Lee, Bodies Borders Fields is a free, public symposium that re-imagines the 1967 conversation about “blackness” with particular attention to blackness and fugitivity as represented in critical art practices today. Responding to an absence of black experience in the conversation between the 1967 panelists—an absence that has since been examined by writers Fred Moten, Krys Verrall and others—Bodies Borders Fields will dislocate the original panel discussion to contemporary contexts and representations of black and blackness in sound, performance and visual culture with respect to black social life and expression.

Find recordings of the talks and performances (under the resources tab) here:

blue ferment: a intimate dinner performance by Laurie Kang and Yaniya Lee
March 31, 2018, The Table art space, Toronto

See documentation here: