Peace Taxi was an art project that presented site-specific artworks inside and around Toronto taxis for the month of August 2003 while incubating cross-cultural conversations about race, public space and labour in the aftermath of the attacks on 11 September 2001. This collection highlights those artistic interventions while offering resources for those interested in studying more about the history of taxi work in Toronto and artistic responses to 9/11 more broadly. Peace Taxi: A Documentary explores the final artworks and their impact through personal interviews with the taxi drivers, who are predominantly from South Asian and other immigrant communities.
The artworks in the taxis became a starting point for a dialogue on the taxi drivers’ experience of racism and hate crimes. Anti-hate crime activist Soni Dasmohapatra from CASSA (Council of Agencies Serving South Asians) comments on strategies and insights drivers and the public can take to recognize and report on such crimes. Peace Taxi reveals how a simple cab ride can be rife with danger.
The documentary was screened at The Regent Park Film Festival (2004), The Royal Ontario Museum (2004) and as a part of Artsweek (2004) at 401 Richmond.
Peace Taxi was conceived by Rashmi Varma with Rachel Kalpana James
Curator: Cyrus Irani
Participating Artists: Judy Cheung, Hawra Harianawala, Anita James, Rachel Kalpana James, Jennifer Matotek, Riaz Mehmood, Amin Rehman, Rashmi Varma, Darshana Vora, Joanne Hui & Jan Schotte, Shilpa Gupta, MSC Satya Sai, Nitin Mukul & Alia Toor & Farjad Nabi, SPURSE
Video Director: Riaz Mehmood
Technical Director: Taha Yasin