The Truth & Dare Project, 2020 Finalist

The Truth & Dare Project provides free visual art workshops, self-care retreats, pop-ups, and an annual exhibit for young Muslim women in the GTA. They offer safe spaces for participants to: collaborate with others who have faced similar adversities, learn individually and collectively, and explore the visual arts as a creative outlet.

Read below: The Truth & Dare Project talks self-care, programming and how it feels to be nominated for our Arts for Youth Award.

Original photo courtesy of Noor Al-Mosawi. Artwork by Amber Williams-King
The Truth & Dare Project works with many professional artists to help realize your youth programming. How does working with individuals from the professional industry help participants through their artistic journey? 

Depending on the workshop series, a facilitator may engage with youth at a technical level and/or conceptual level. For both, it is essential that the lead facilitator or mentor be an expert with regard to what will be taught to participants. 

For our participants, the expert is someone they may look up to, learn from, ask questions to, and through trial and error develop their own process, style, and body of work. It is necessary that the facilitator or mentor be able to suggest alternative ways that a vision may be achieved and share their knowledge and resources to ensure the work being created can reach its potential. It is also important for youth to see an example of someone pursuing a career in the visual or community field and that this may be a viable option for them too.

Part of The Truth & Dare Project involves self-care retreats and free workshops. Why are these aspects important for participants?

Offering free programming as well as self-care retreat days are very important to The Truth & Dare Project. It goes back to our for who and why. We provide safe spaces for young Muslim women who have faced structural and physical violence, discrimination, racism, Islamophobia, poverty, marginalization and segregation based on their beliefs, choices, identity markers, and personal associations. With the number of barriers that Muslim women face in their daily lives it is essential for us to create a space where there is no barrier to join. For us, this looks like; no sign- up fees, access to all the resources needed to fully participate in our set activities, refreshments or meals depending on the time and length of the workshop, and TTC fare for travel to and from each program. 

Our self-care retreats are one off days for respite. It is for any Muslim woman, specifically those who can not commit to a workshop series that may span a few days, weeks, or months or those who may not fall into the youth age bracket for our workshops. It is a space where the weight on your shoulders can be left at the door, it is to share stories, create, laugh and connect with those who have faced similar adversities. There is also no one way to experience this self-care space, as one may choose to participate in all the activities, some of them, or just be in the presence of other Muslim women and rest.

You hold an annual exhibit every year called (mus)interpreted which is a collection of self-reflective artworks. What has been the impact of the exhibition?

(mus)interpreted is a space where the stories of Muslim women are amplified and celebrated as deeply as they are lived. It is a space that challenges current ideas constructed by the media, governments, and society as a whole. It is where art brings communities together, where information is shared, where important conversations are sparked and open dialogue is fostered. It is where common ground can be found and where the barriers within and between our communities may begin to be broken down. 

As an audience member, walk us through what we’ll see at one of the (mus)interpreted exhibitions. 

When you visit a (mus)interpreted exhibit you will first notice the art gallery experience paired with a  community hub vibe.

The walls are carefully curated, the installation is clean, and each artist's work is accompanied by a thoughtfully written statement about the work, the artwork details, and information about the artist. 

The work on the walls will be informed by the programs we offered through the year, our call for submissions process, the local and global socio-political climate, the personal lives of the artists, as well as the artists chosen mediums (ie: photography, painting, mixed media). 

The space itself (the Hallway Galleries within Artscape community hubs) differs on the location, the day, and the time. They can be vibrant, lively, and bustling with building tenants and community members from young children to seniors or quiet, with you the only one in the space. The space is fluid and the artworks offer moments of reflection for those who enter.

What does it mean to your organization to be nominated for the Arts for Youth Award?

Being nominated for the Arts for Youth Award is an affirmation of the years of hard work and the impact that it has had. This nomination tells us that our programming is needed, appreciated, and seen.