Photo C/O @goodbodyfeel

Robin Lamarr has been the only person of colour in a movement class. With this personal experience and her own desire to make mindful movement accessible, the movement educator and community activist had been thinking about how she could address the lack of representation in the movement community.

When she obtained a physical space for the studio she founded, Goodbodyfeel, she saw it as a good time to introduce a designated space for people of colour. The result was the first Movement Melanin Expression workshop on Feb. 24. The two-hour, three-part workshop was designed for individuals identifying as Black, Indigenous or people of colour.

The intention is to create a space where folks who usually feel like they don't belong can feel belonging. And then, because it's an exclusive space, we can be open, raw, vulnerable and honest about what… we're feeling and why… [W]e can be super open about it without having to… defend ourselves against someone who might have white fragility for example,” said Lamarr.

The workshop was the result of a partnership with Hamilton-based visual alchemist and movement teacher-in-trainer, Stylo Starr. Starr joined the Goodbodyfeel Teacher Training last year when she met Lamarr and is almost finished her 200 hours of training.

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Lamarr and Starr have collaborated on a similarly structured workshop before. Last summer, they ran a satellite workshop at the Art Gallery of Hamilton wherein Lamarr led a movement sequence followed by Starr leading a walking meditation involving collage material.

Similarly, Movement Melanin Expression began with Lamarr leading participants through her famed R&B Pilates movement sequence. The sequence starts slow and warms up the individual parts of the body before ending with an intense squat sequence wherein participants scream in order to release all their emotions.

After moving, a circle discussion took place. The discussion was intended to address how people of colour can take up space and reverse the lack of representation in the movement and wellness industry. Most importantly, the conversation was meant to be open and unrestrained. Starr hopes that the conversation acted as a catalyst for participants to discuss how they’re feeling with the people in their lives.

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The workshop ended with Starr’s collage workshop. As she did with the series at the art gallery, Starr led participants through a walking meditation, allowing them to find pieces that spoke to them and create something there. The creative portion of the workshop allowed participants to express and liberate themselves.

I've seen firsthand how movement has helped my creation. It's just a way of accessing a part of your mindfulness that maybe sitting still might not do for many people… I think it's really important to mesh these worlds because it's often implied that they're so different but they're actually very similar. In creating sequences for classes, it's a collage of different movements and they might not always look the same,” Starr explaining.

Approaching creativity through the medium of collage is one of the many ways in which this workshop made itself accessible. Unlike other forms of art, collage is not very intimidating for the non-artist and allowed individuals to express themselves with lesser concern about artistic skill.

Like several other Goodbodyfeel classes, this workshop had a sliding scale in place to reduce the financial barrier for participants. The studio also has clean clothes for participants to use and provides mats and props. By removing these obstacles for participants, the studio is hoping that no one is priced out of accessing mindful movement.

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“I've been practicing some form of mindful movement since 2000 and… it's been a really big part of my healing journey. And so since moving to Hamilton and starting this community, my aim is to have as many people as possible benefit and have access to the transformative effects of mindful movement.

Why does the movement community need to even address race and representation? Well, because it's incredibly beneficial to mental health and well-being and everybody deserves access to it,” Lamarr said.

At the end of the day, the most important part of Movement Melanin Expression was the formation of community through movement. Starr and Lamarr intend to continue the class so that people of colour can continue to take up space in the movement industry and discuss more ways to break down the barriers.

 

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Come Together

Kyle West

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This photography series was inspired by comparing classic symbolism of unity and strength with consideration to the themes of Sex and the Steel City. Across the world and throughout many diverse culture, the symbol of holding hands can be seen to communicate intimacy or a close relationship.

Taking this symbol and empowering it through strong vertical compositional choices lend the viewer to perceive these couples and their love as prevailing. The stylistic choices are a nod towards the strength and monumentality of the landscape work of Ansel Adams and the influential portraiture of Platon. Ultimately, Come Together is a story of love, unity and partnership and my best ability to document this.

Kyle West is a Hamilton-based photographer. He is in his final year of art history at McMaster University and is currently the Photo Editor for the Silhouette. West has developed a particular interest in portraiture over the years, often times turning to digital and film photography to capture his subjects in a beautiful light. From perfectly timed scenes of bustling city streets on film to carefully composed landscapes and journalistic endeavours, West also utilizes his photography as a means for storytelling.


Shower Scene

Erin Nantais

This digital drawing entitled “Shower Scene” explores ideas and themes of intimacy that are typically uncomfortable for individuals to openly discuss.

Sex and sexuality are often unnecessarily forbidden topics that need to be reimagined as natural and normal.

Through this piece, sexuality is explored and depicted as natural, normal and familiar.

Simple lines and colours along with a minimalistic look are used to enhance the idea of intimacy as a normal and acceptable human experience.

Erin Nantais is a fourth year multimedia student at McMaster University. She typically works with photography and graphic design. Her personal style of work emphasizes strong lines and simple colour schemes to create a distinctive digital feel. Creative portraiture and animal photography are main sources of inspiration for most of Nantais’ work. Nantais has always been interested in art and photography and through her work she’s found a digital style that incorporates elements of both.


1st piece: Naturally Grown (Digital print, series of 20)

2nd piece: The healing sex (Digital print series of 2)

Jet

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Jet’s artistic process relies heavily on research into my chosen focus. It starts with the inquiry: “I want to understand more about…” as they then experiment with different mediums until they find the right material and presentation of their idea. Visualization is the key to their process where they push the boundaries of my idea and test as many possibilities as they can. When the piece is ready for an audience, Jet prefers the audience takes part in the outcome of the work itself.

Jet works mainly with performance, video, sculpture, photography and painting. They try not to ever limit myself to one medium. Jet encounters ideas that seem to float in the air and works with them, listens to them, becomes them and finds the best method to allow the work to exist in harmony with the audience.

Jet’s practice often explores the human body in all of its physical and ethereal elements. Throughout their life they have always made space for themselves to imagine and work out complex issues. This gives them the head space to create and transform what is not yet physical into a tangible piece.  

Jet is a  multidisciplinary artist who emigrated from Mexico in 2009. They grew up feeling that they didn’t always belong. Social norms, family, friends, peers, the state, and especially an oppressive culture of dominance, sought to limit the creativity of their soul. Now their work reflects a rebirth of expression, and the power of the artist’s will to transform the unseen beauty that surrounds them.


Eviscerate

Coercion

Cait Gautron

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In her first piece, Eviscerate (3016), in using fruit to mirror anatomy Cait Gautron was seeking to  question ideas of ripeness and primacy in media surrounding sex. Shadowing the piece are ideas of destruction and decay. With these characteristics she playfully seeks to evoke viscera while using approximate substitutes to create a surreal and dreamlike atmosphere.

Coercion (2018), oil on canvas. With this work, Gautron seeks to raise issues around social and institutional factors which motivate consent and the fear felt by participants who may unknowingly fall in to the role of perpetrator or victim.

In oil paints Gautron seeks to explore the delicate balance between desire and disgust, growth and decay, inherit in human anatomy. Raised by an artist mother, the majority of her early artistic education came from exploring the galleries and museums of Europe in her early teens.  In that time she became enamoured with the lustre of Vermeer’s still lifes and the contortion of Schielle’s portraits. Currently enrolled in her second year of McMaster University’s studio arts program, Gautron has just began to show her work around Hamilton and Ontario.


or nothing at all.

Kayla Da Silva

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or nothing at all.

 

It’s 11:07 am.

You check your phone.

 

For a moment 

you can’t breathe 

and then breathing 

happens all at once. 

 

Too fast. Too frequent.

Depression lingers 

in the depths of your mind 

and anxiety holds 

you by the throat. 

 

_

It’s 9:27 pm.

You ask them to choose you,

but they show you

they never will.

Over and over again.

 

You knew all along 

this was going 

to happen. 

The red flags 

waved furiously

but they were in 

your blind spot.

 

_

Now.

You are accompanied 

by your old friend, 

insomnia. 

You are enveloped

with exhaustion,

and gently embraced

by the solace of truth.

 

Sometimes 

you have to choose if 

you want to pick 

the dandelion 

or the rose 

or nothing at all.



The artwork accompanied by the poetry is meant as a reflection of relationships that are emotionally damaging. More times than never, an individual in the relationship may not be aware of how complicated the situations were until leaving them.

The series is meant to highlight the mental turmoil an individual can experience when the pattern of behaviours from a partner negatively impacts their state of mind. When being in a complicated relationship, it can often lead to an internal conflict when they are in-love with their partner.

The difficult question is; how long can one hold on to what appears to be a rose when the thorns cause trauma? A partner should never put you in a position where you need to routinely put your wellbeing at risk.

Kayla Da Silva, also known as Kaylita, is a creative and a designer. She has found her poetry to be a suitable companion to the visuals she creates. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in multimedia and communications from McMaster University and currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario working full-time as a junior graphic designer.

Instagram: @iamkaylita


Food/Fuck

Matty Flader

CW: Disordered eating

For me, sex and food have always had their limbs awkwardly intermingled (in a no eye contact Grindr hookup sort of way). I know what you’re thinking: “how deep, bananas look like dicks and I’m entirely enthused and kind of turned on.” Yet, the story of this photograph is really one of inner turmoil, anguish and ultimately resistance. The food/fuck correlation, as I call it, has lingered like an unwanted houseguest in my head for quite some time now. It goes something like this: the less sex I’m having the less I feel I’m allowed to eat. In times of plentiful or at least grandiose sexual conquest, I can take a breath… or, a bite I guess. The logic is as desperate as it is simple. If I’m not getting laid, I better stop snacking and start looking like a snack. The food/fuck correlation not only problematically frames sex as some prize for me to win, it also leads me through disorderly cycles of eating. It’s all too easy for the things I did or didn’t eat to change my self-perceived body image.

This self portrait is meant to picture the undying torment food puts me through. Putting a voice to this struggle challenges the hegemonic belief that men, those wonderful, tenacious beasts, could never develop eating disorders. The photo challenges the societally constructed ideal of a man who is too tough to feel pain. Inability to conform to this ideal can strip one of his own masculinity. As men the borders of our gendered and sexual identities are constantly under scrutiny by our peers. For most, it’s far easier to conform by reproducing masculinity however they see possible. As a result, men are taught that being normal means never being vulnerable. Expressions of masculine insecurity like my food/fuck anxiety are constantly pushed to the margins of society. I say fuck that. Through this photo I proudly shout: I am a man, I have feelings, sometimes I feel insecure, but here I am. And hey, I bet you’d still fuck me.

Matty Flader is an emerging artist based in Hamilton, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to art projects, with a specialization in portrait photography. Flader’s work concerns a broad range of topics, including gender performance, eating abnormality and responses to current events. He often challenges difficult ideas through a humourous lens in attempt to bring attention to the absurdity of this world.

Instagram: @matt_der


 

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Photos by Kyle West, Graphics by Yvonne Lu

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, there was a graphic that indicated that Josh Marando answered that he "strongly agreed" with the police presence on campus. However, in our survey, Marando answered that he "strongly disagreed" with the police presence on campus. We apologize for this misconstruction and have changed the graphic since. 

The Silhouette recently surveyed the four McMaster Students’ Union 2019 presidential candidates on their opinions on where the MSU and the university are doing well and where they can improve.

The survey consisted of seven statements. Candidates were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each statement on a scale from “strongly agree” to “disagree.”

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The first question asked candidates about their opinions on the statement that “The MSU is committed to equality and inclusiveness.”

The candidates all agreed on the MSU’s commitment to equality and inclusiveness. Jeffrey Campana and Madison Wesley indicated they “strongly agreed” with the statements, whereas Justin Lee and Josh Marando said they “agreed.”  

The second question asked candidates whether or not “Increased police presence will promote increased safety of students on and around campus.”

There were a range of opinions on the relationship between McMaster students and the police.

Lee was the only candidate to agree that police presence will promote safety. Campana was neutral, while Wesley disagreed. Marando was the only candidate to strongly disagree.

In September, a string of break-ins in Westdale prompted a greater police presence in the area. During the same month, a video depicting a woman being run over a McMaster police horse was widely shared on social media.

The candidates were mostly in agreement with the statement that the MSU should oppose the provincial government’s free speech mandate requiring Ontario universities to implement a free-speech policy.

Wesley was the only candidate not to agree with the statement, choosing a “neutral” response instead. Campana indicated he agreed, while both Lee and Marando chose “strongly agree.”

In October, the Student Representative Assembly unanimously passed a motion opposing the government mandate.

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The next question asked candidates whether or not the MSU should lobby against the government’s changes to tuition, student fees and the Ontario Student Assistance Program.

The survey showed that all the candidates were in stark opposition to the provincial government’s changes to tuition, student fees and OSAP announced on Jan. 17.

Lee, Marando and Wesley all strongly agreed with the statement, while Campana selected the “agree” response.

Regarding McMaster’s accessibility, Wesley and Campana indicated there was room for improvement, as they strongly disagreed and disagreed with the statement that the school is “fairly accessible” for students with various disabilities.

Lee and Marando were neutral on the issue.

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The results also show that none of the candidates are satisfied with McMaster’s current efforts to prevent and address sexual violence. When asked if McMaster does a “sufficient job” in this area, Campana and Wesley strongly disagreed, while Lee and Marando disagreed with the statement.

McMaster’s sexual violence policy is up for review this year.

Overall, it appears that while there is a high degree of agreement amongst candidates on topics such as the Ontario government’s recently announced tuition and OSAP changes, candidates differ in their views on issues like the relationship between students and the Hamilton police and McMaster’s response to sexual violence.

The voting period for this year’s MSU presidential election is taking place from Jan. 22 to 5 p.m on Jan. 24. To vote, students can fill out the ballot sent to their McMaster email or login and vote at www.msumcmaster.ca/vote.

 

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McMaster has been ranked by Maclean’s as the fourth best cycling university in Canada. This is due to the city of Hamilton’s ongoing efforts to improve cycling infrastructure, and the ease of biking on McMaster’s spacious campus.

The cheepest generic viagra following infographic explores some of the facts and figures that influence the student biking experience, including an anecdote from a student who experienced a downside of cycling at McMaster.

Click here for an interactive Google Map with the locations of bike thefts on McMaster's campus from 2012-2013.

 

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