Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin De Burca: RISE

24 octobre 2019 – 31 janvier 2020

About the Exhibition

A Film By


Run Time

20 minutes


Shumiatcher Theatre

This 2018 experimental documentary by Brazilian artists Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin De Burca, explores how rhythm, spoken word and dance are implemented by performers to creatively express their personal relationships to identity and self-representation. The cast, made up mainly of first and second-generation immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa, are members of the group R.I.S.E (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere) — a youth-led movement who organize weekly poetry slams in suburban community centres to provide artistic, personal, social, and spiritual opportunities for youths in the Greater Toronto Area.

Shot on the recently expanded Line 1 of the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway system, Wagner and De Burca see the subway tunnels as a literal cypher used by the performers to connect with one another and the rest of the world.

On January 30, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, in partnership with Vertigo Reading Series, held an evening of spoken word performances by Toronto-based poet, Randell Adjei and Regina-based poet and rapper InfoRed! Both artists performed their own original work and then come together for a talk back conversation, exploring topics related to youth empowerment, spoken word and grassroots education.

Randell Adjei is an Author, Inspirational Speaker, Arts Educator and Community Leader who uses the spoken word to empower and transform through ‘Edutainment’. He is the founder of one of Toronto’s largest and longest running youth led initiatives; Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (R.I.S.E Edutainment). Randell Adjei has shared the stage with the likes of Jessie Reyez, Terry Crews, Paul Mooney, Maestro Fresh Wes and D’bi Young.

InfoRed is a proud Nakota/Cree member of the Little Black Bear First Nation. He is known for his comparison of the primary elements of traditional powwow to hip hop – paralleling MCing, DJing, breaking, and graffiti art with singing, drumming, dancing, and costume design.

Writing rhymes since 1992, InfoRed has made countless milestones in his accomplished music career and he is well known in the community for his outreach to youth through various programs. During their visit in 2014, InfoRed performed for His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the University of Regina.

RISE has been shown nationally and internationally at the Bienal de Sao Paulo in San Paulo, Brazil (2018), Berlinale in Berlin, Germany (2019), and the first Toronto Biennial of Art (2019).

Video Stills

RISE, still. 2K, colour, 5.1 sound, 20 min. Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, 2018_04 (1)
RISE, still. 2K, colour, 5.1 sound, 20 min. Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, 2018_10
RISE, still. 2K, colour, 5.1 sound, 20 min. Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, 2018_08 (1)

About the Artists

Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin De Burca are based in Recife, Brazil. Exploring the boundary between documentary and fiction, their work investigates the role of performance in daily life, and the translation of ideas and styles across countries and cultures. They are interested in how popular culture absorbs and interprets the images and phenomena of everyday life.