In partnership with Paperhouse Outreach & Toronto Art Book Fair, Koffler.Digital hosted a series of digital workshops for youth as part of XYZines: a 4 month zine, artist book & digital residency at the Cedarbrae Toronto Public Library. The Koffler.Digital arm of XYZines was developed for and available to Scarborough youth aged 13-29, and focused on developing digital skills to help navigate politics, identity & justice through art production. Facilitated by local artists, each workshop aimed to bridge analogue & digital practices, engage participants in expressive methods of digital media-making, & introduce industry-standard practices oriented within DIY culture & political activism.
Shellie Zhang's papercutting workshop, "Cut it Out," took place on October 27th, 2018. The workshop brought together participants of all ages, inviting them to reexamine & reinterpret materials available at the Cedarbrae library through the medium of paper cutting. In Chinese folk traditions, paper cutting has been used to decorate doors & windows to bring good luck, health & prosperity. In many ways, they are manifestations of the creator’s wishes. Using the resources available in the library as a starting point, participants imagined the changes they wish to see in the future based on their findings of the past, emphasizing their role as changemakers in this process.
By uniting both past and present iconography with the techniques of mass communication, language and sign, Zhang’s work deconstructs notions of tradition, gender, identity, the diaspora, and popular culture while calling attention to these subjects in the context and construction of a multicultural society. She is interested in exploring how integration, diversity and assimilation is implemented and negotiated, how this relates to lived experiences, and how culture is learned and relearned. shelliezhang.com | @soft_turnip_cake