Leena Manimekalai has been selected as the inaugural Artist-in-Residence at the Centre for Free Expression (CFE) at Toronto Metropolitan University for 2022-23. A leading Tamil poet and filmmaker, Ms. Manimekalai’s films and writings are deeply driven by social justice. Her twelve narrative documentaries, two fiction features and multiple experimental films as a Producer-Writer-Director have focused on caste, gender, globalization, art therapy, student politics, eco-feminism, indigenous people's rights, and LGBTQ lives.
“We are pleased and honoured that Leena Manimekalai will be the CFE’s first Artist-in-Residence,” said James L. Turk, CFE Director. “She is an important filmmaker whose work has won several national and international awards in prestigious international film festivals. Leena is also well known for six of her poetry anthologies, and her poems have been widely translated into Malayalam, Hindi, Kannada, English and Spanish.”
Turk added that her films and writings have gone through dark alleys of both constitutional and extra constitutional censorship, but she has always fought through the battles to stand by her free expression.
As Artist-in Residence, Ms. Manimekalai will advise the CFE in its work promoting freedom of artistic expression, will be available to meet with students and faculty, will participate in collaborative projects, and will give talks and participate in film screenings.
A detailed profile of Leena Manimekalai, including a list of her films and her other work, can be found here.
The Centre for Free Expression at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) is a hub for public education, research and advocacy on free expression and the public’s right to know. Its work is undertaken in collaboration with academic and community-based organizations across Canada and internationally.