Bent[way] feels

This fall, I was selected to participate in a 6 week art production residency program, and I’m hoping to write a blog about what we do, and my process once we begin production. The first session included a trip to the Bentway. While I think the Bentway is a cool space in theory, it’s a pretty exclusive space in practice. If you’re unfamiliar, the Bentway is a portion under the Gardener highway in Toronto that has been converted into a museum that offers installation space.

The Bentway is a fixture that highlights Toronto’s class divide and homelessness crisis. You see, people live(d) under the Gardener, and while displacing folks, the Bentway also has several ‘rules’ in place that discourage transient folks to visit, hangout or even sit.


Both times I’ve visited the Bentway, a year apart, the bathroom has been broken. And while this seems like a silly thing to mention, it’s an issue of access. I’m an artist with several chronic illnesses, including IBS. And if I were visiting, working or touring the Bentway, where do folks like myself use the bathroom? A basic need that’s been overlooked, and while there are already installations up including amazing work by Syrus Marcus Ware, when I asked about the bathroom situation, I was told by Bentway staff that they’re still building them, and that the other bathrooms are broken. I’ll leave you with that, on this topic.

I use a mobility aid for what I define as long walks, and had I been on this tour with my peers, in person, I would have had nowhere to ‘go’ but also nowhere to sit. And no offense to artists that are currently showing, but one artist’s work was installed in a shipping container, where viewers could go in and engage with the piece, and I couldn’t help but think of how this space (The Bentway) could be equipped with tiny homes of rows of shipping containers to house homeless folks. The Bentway fills me with the kind of discomfort this tweet does:

tweet by @jxeker "the other day i saw a thing that said "if you saved $10,000 a day since the pyramids were built in 2450 BC. you would still only have one fifth of jeff bezos' net worth" and my soul has felt restless ever since