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A Place to Play

Sunny Singh

As a cartoonist you get used to the artform not being taken seriously or shrugged off, and the more I think about it there is this growing parallel between what I do and where I’m from. Many Hamiltonians can give their own laundry list of comments they’ve heard about the city not being taken seriously from outsiders, but those same Hamiltonians will come to its defense in a heartbeat. Barton St unfairly gets the most of this, and the division even extends to being provided from people from the city, but instead of focusing on what divides us or makes us different I’d like to look at what brings Hamilton together as a whole and how Barton St and the people who reside there are an integral part of our home. There is a sense of community and togetherness I’ve felt from this place since I was a kid, and I believe cartoons can provide the same effect for people in their youth or later in life through the experience of Nostalgia. 


In “A Place to Play” I wanted to find a way to depict a feeling of a hazy memory (a link to the past) or dream (an idea of the future) and how these moments in time are tethered to Barton St in the present via the act of ‘Play’. Play is an effective tool to learn, bring people together, and provide a sense of community whether it be through the arts or sports. In my youth, the arts and recreational programs in this city was what made me understand Hamilton’s community on a deeper level and meet people from all around here. Play is disarming; it is when people are their most honest and vulnerable selves, and it is elevated when done in numbers or community. As we grow this sense of play can become foreign to us as we write it off as something ‘just for kids’, but that is what connects us more than anything; we were all once kids and still are, and it is important we view others through this lens and preserve these areas of playing and growing for future generations. 


My hope is that “A Place to Play” acts as a community portal that transports us to a place that sparks a sense of playfulness, and encourages everyone to explore their own creativity for the meaning of the many elements intertwined in the surreal Barton St setting.

Sunny Singh is an illustrator/cartoonist based out of Hamilton, Ontario.
His illustration work is narrative driven and employs a variety of themes and visual symbolism to provide a fresh view on the way things are around us.
The cartoons he creates look to offer a dark, yet satirical commentary on everything from the metaphysical to the mundane

453 Barton St. E

The ‘Anything is Possible on Barton’ exhibition is a neighbourhood wide art project that was selected for the Government of Canada’s My Main Street Community Activator program. This project is organized by the Barton Village BIA and funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the City of Hamilton. Thank you to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the Canadian Urban Institute for supporting local communities and revitalizing our main streets.


Please check out the other 14 installations HERE.

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