Photo of Aisha Sasha John by Yuula Benivolski.

Performance and conversation with Aisha Sasha John and Jacob Wren

March 1, 2018 - 6 PM

Aisha Sasha John and Jacob Wren are both writers and performers. For each artist, what they write and what they perform is related. And yet, many people who read their writing may not see their performances, and many people who see their performances may not read their books. Both artists seem to pose questions about the limits of writing and the limits of performing, as each discipline gets re-routed into the other, picking up in text where the performance left off, or bringing to the performance space what is unsayable on the page.

Within the purview of Adam Kinner’s exhibition, OUTSIDE, Aisha and Jacob have been invited to consider this relationship between writing and performing, reading and speaking, the page and the body. Each artist will do a short performance and then Adam will host Aisha and Jacob in a conversation about their unique, vital practices.


Aisha Sasha John is a poet, dancer and choreographer. Her solo performance the aisha of is premiered at the Whitney Museum in 2017, and will have its Canadian premiere at the MAI in April 2018. Aisha is the author of I have to live. (M&S, 2017), The Shining Material (BookThug, 2011), and THOU (BookThug, 2014)—finalist for both the Trillium and ReLit Poetry Awards. In addition to her solo work, she choreographed, performed and curated as a member of the collective WIVES (2015–2017). Her video work and text art have been exhibited in galleries (Doris McCarthy, Oakville Galleries) and was commissioned by Art Metropole as part of Let’s understand what it means to be here (together), a week-long public art performance residency during which Aisha and four collaborators made performances in Union Station’s west wing. Aisha has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, and a BA in African Studies and Semiotics from the University of Toronto. She was born in Montreal.

Jacob Wren makes literature, collaborative performances and exhibitions. His books include: Unrehearsed Beauty, Families Are Formed Through Copulation, Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed, Polyamorous Love Song (a finalist for the 2013 Fence Modern Prize in Prose and one of The Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2014) and Rich and Poor (a finalist for the 2016 Quebec Writers’ Federation Paragraphe Huge MacLennan Prize for Fiction). Much of his performance work is made as Co-artistic Director of Montreal-based interdisciplinary group PME-ART, which he co-directs with Sylvie Lachance. PME-ART was nominated for the 27th Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Grand-Prix in 2012, and has presented in more than forty-eight cities in Quebec, Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States over the last twenty years.