Martha Stiegman is a passionate and engaged community-media and documentary filmmaker. Currently based in Toronto where she teaches at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, her work has screened in festivals around the world from Tunisia and New Zealand to Brazil. Her first two documentaries, In Defense of our Treaties (2007) and The End of the Line (2007) explore alliances between Mi’kmaq and non-native fishing communities in her home province of Nova Scotia. Honour Your Word (2013) is an intimate, behind the blockades portrait of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and their fight to defend their traditional lands. Indigenous struggles and non-native solidarity have been the focus of Martha’s film work, community-arts practice and academic research for more than ten years.
I am a writer, a storyteller, a poet, an actor, and a dancer. I am a Toronto-born artist who is of Jamaican, Cuban, Maroon and Taino ancestry and believes that her existence is not accidental nor is it coincidental. I believe that art is a healing, transformative and meditative process not only for those who are receiving it but also giving it. My work focuses on regimes of trauma, healing, diaspora, affect, shame, institutions and histories of violence, queer theory, blackness, transnational feminist thought and storytelling. I am currently completing my Masters in the Critical Disability Studies Department at York University, where I am focusing on mental health within Caribbean communities, histories of ancestral trauma and how there is healing through art.
I have always been of the belief that telling our stories is how we step into an understanding of our past. For Fried Plantains is how I understand my past. I am so honoured to be part of Staging Histories because it is a space where the cultivation of histories that are so often forgotten is honoured, cultivated and respected.