I was born by the river in a little tent/
Oh and just like the river I've been a-running ever since/
It's been a long time, a long time coming/
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will
These lyrics from Sam Cooke’s 1964 song A Change is Gonna Come continue to remind us that the struggle against anti-black racism has been ongoing for centuries. The killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 has reignited calls to defund the police and for society to recognize systemic anti-black and other racism. In a time of pandemic, as we struggle with the COVID-19 Coronavirus, we also envision a future of release from the carceral state and the possibilities of art to find a way forward.
Naomi Gracechild begins her performance at the Summer Block Party by singing Cooke’s song. The Summer Block Party was a Hogan's Alley Society project held at Nora Hendrix Place. Rungh partnered for an afternoon of readings, as a part of Rungh’s archive reactivation program. In the archive reactivation, current day artists are asked to reference a pervious piece published in Rungh’s 1990s print volumes and then perform some of their own work, thereby blending, weaving and recontextualizing the past and present. At the Summer Block Party, Naomi Gracechild was joined by Darcy McFadden and Patrick Pouponneau as they reactivated Rungh’s Antiracism Issue (Volume 4, Number 1&2) (1998).
Another set of archive reactivation Rungh Readings took place as a part of the Vancouver Art Book Fair featuring Sadhu Binning, Phinder Dulai, Jessica Johns, Carolyn Nakagawa, Patrick Pouponneau, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Sunera Thobani and Isabella Wang.
A final set of Rungh Readings included in this issue, were a part of a joint project with Full Circle: First Nations Performance. These readings brought together Indigenous and South Asian identified women poets to present their work and to engage in a conversation. Wanda John-Kehewin, Jessica Johns, Sana Janjua and Fauzia Rafique moved the audience by sharing life knowledge, laughter, and reflections. Phinder Dulai’s review of Shani Mootoo's novel Polar Vortex, adds to the literary mix in this issue.
In her text for Audie Murray’s Artist Run Centre, Quill Christie-Peters, asks us to view Murray's art work as a "practice of slowness, calling us to witness slowness as a practice of disruption, storytelling, creation of worlds where we may exist in fullness and complexity."
Powerful words to reflect upon in a time of much change and, also, possibility.