I launched Mixed Bag Mag the summer of 2012 as an online magazine with a curatorial focus on the psychological spaces that cultural provocateurs create allowing for deep cultural transformation.

That first summer, as I went out to cover events in Toronto, the mood was celebratory. Along with the late Egyptian-Canadian photographer Ahmed Sirry – my shooting partner and supportive friend whose generous soul I will miss – we often ended up in a hoopla of people revelling in the cultural expressions of who they are and where they come from. The images below are a selection from those first warm months (Harbourfront’s Planet IndigenUSAshkenaz Festival, Brazil FestFestival of IndiaCaribana and more).

Then the cold set in along with the Winter of Idle No More and hard truths that could no longer wait needed to be acknowledged by Canadians. Many people were starting to bear witness. One could sense a shift. Necessarily the content became more sobering.

Much of the content featured in Mixed Bag Mag promotes the initiatives of people who are responding to the pressing current issues in Canada today – Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Black Lives Matter, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Canada 150. They are exploring and often critiquing this cultural moment we are at.

Through this project I have met many incredible people whose work is about creating a more just society. Each of them are contributing to the conversation on deepening diversity and challenging what words like inclusion, pluralism, reconciliation and sovereignty mean. They are artists and activists, designers and architects, musicians and poets, entrepreneurs and social innovators. And they have one common goal – social justice. To know this many caring and compassionate people – that is worthy a celebration!

I am thankful for everyone who has walked into my life as a result of this endeavour. I have met hundreds and hundreds of incredible souls and I hold each of you and your work in my heart.