AGYU Winter 2020 Newsletter
Archives of Futurities

Sky Hopinka: Around the Edge of Encircling Lake

January 15 – March 15, 2020
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 15, 6 – 9 pm

Artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka’s work centres around personal investigations of Indigenous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture, and the play between the known and the unknowable. This exhibition brings together a selection of Hopinka’s recent films and related artworks, as well as a film program curated by Hopinka (What Was Always Yours and Never Lost). The title of the exhibition is also the title of a recent collection of writings, essays, and calligrams by Hopinka that take up movement through the Encircling Lake, a Ho-Chunk way of describing the boundaries of the earth.

Hopinka describes his works as “ethnopoetic.” This approach is a reclamation, countering the ethnographic gaze of historic depictions of Indigenous cultures, drawing on poetry to explore identity and representation, both historical and contemporary. Weaving together documentary and experimental practices, these films explore diverse yet interconnected topics, taking up land (and landscape), language, music, and memory.

Currently based between Vancouver, BC, and Milwaukee, WI, Hopinka started making videos around the time that he first began learning (and later teaching) Chinuk Wawa, a language rooted in the Lower Columbia River Basin and prevalent in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. In both spheres, language and video, Hopinka is interested in notions of fluency, proficiency, and experimentation and the moments when things fall apart.

In an interview with Hopinka for Third Rail Quarterly, Brooklyn-based artist and filmmaker Adam Khalil remarked: “What I find powerful in your work is this line between what you give to the audience, and what you don’t give. It reminds me of Indigenous information ecology, where the idea is that information is for all, but knowledge is for some.” Later in the same interview, Khalil observes: “There’s something in your work about the experience of spending time with people, listening to people, letting things unfurl, not quite knowing where things are going.” It should be noted that Khalil’s observations are informed by the two artists’ ongoing dialogue (Khalil’s work in collaboration with Zack Khalil and Jackson Polys is featured in Hopinka’s curated film program).

This year, the AGYU is exploring the thematic “archives of futurities,” which entails enmeshed research, reflection, and transformation. Existing within a continuum that negotiates histories of the past and their relevance for the future, the films in this exhibition are both rigorous and expansive. In some of Hopinka’s works, this dialogue takes the form of experimental intersections between fragments of text and landscape (Lore, 2019). Elsewhere, they offer reflections on recent movements such as Standing Rock (Dislocation Blues, 2017) and revisit complex histories of sites such as Fort Marion/Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL, the prison that was an early model of forced assimilation through education for many institutions, including Canada’s residential school system (Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer, 2019). Poetry is a thread throughout the exhibition, most heightened in a prismatic elegy to poet Diane Burns that reflects on being and mortality (I’ll Remember You as You Were, not as What You’ll Become, 2016). Hopinka’s works have certainly drawn on archives, but more importantly they create a new archive, through layered artworks that triangulate across linguistics, space, and temporalities, offering vivid new possibilities.

Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga) was born and raised in Ferndale, WA, and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, CA, Portland, OR, and is currently based out of Vancouver, BC, and Milwaukee, WI. He received his BA from Portland State University in Liberal Arts and his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His work has been featured at numerous festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance, Antimatter, Chicago Underground Film Festival, FLEXfest, and Projections. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and he was a guest curator for the film program of the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Hopinka was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow for 2019. Hopinka recently joined the faculty of The School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, as Assistant Professor in Film Production.

Sky Hopinka: Around the Edge of Encircling Lake is curated by AGYU Assistant Curator Clara Halpern.

What Was Always Yours and Never Lost
Curated by Sky Hopinka

This screening program of works of other artists and filmmakers curated by Sky Hopinka inside his exhibition includes films by Caroline Monnet; Colectivo Los Ingrávidos; Thirza Cuthand; Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys; and James Luna. The program is the third iteration in a series, following screenings at Yale Union (Portland, OR) and The Whitney Biennial (New York). Hopinka describes it: “Here you have a number of films from a number of makers that come from different backgrounds, different countries, different homelands, and different nations. Each making works that traverse a wide range of topics dealing directly and indirectly with Indigeneity—assertions of identity and presence in the face of and regardless of colonial history and outdated traditions of anthropology and ethnography. They make space for poetry, for beauty, for movement between cosmological and visceral worlds, sometimes blurring the lines between both. They claim what was always theirs and celebrate what was never lost.”

AGYU Vitrines

homemade satellite dishes explores media and censorship in the domestic sphere. In regions where the government seeks to control and restrict citizens’ knowledge, satellite dishes are often banned as communication devices. Nevertheless, they are often installed, using camouflage to conceal their presence in public space thus avoiding confiscation. In this installation, artist Elham Fatapour mines the connection between satellite dishes, concealment, textiles, and domestic spaces.

Elham Fatapour was born in Tehran, Iran. Currently a Toronto-based artist and a student in the York MFA program, her recent work includes painting, performance, and mixed media installations and has taken up diverse but interconnected subjects including satellites, surveillance, vernacular architecture, modes of communication, and empathy.

AGYU Audio Out Listening Bench

For the AGYU Audio Out Listening Bench, we are revisiting a work of Adam Kinner from 2014–15, Recording the Weather, which saw him performing daily saxophone improvisations as a form of documenting that day’s weather. As he had written on this work at that time, “These are not songs. They are a way of accounting for what time does to us. The effect it has, the tithe it takes.” On one set of headphones, a selection of these older diaristic solos are found, while on the other, newly recorded daily interpretations of the weather (now informed by our heightened awareness of the ever-changing climate) are presented.

Born in Washington, DC, Adam Kinner is an artist living and working in Montreal. Having trained in music, he now makes work on the thresholds of performance, sound, and visual arts, collaborating with artists from dance and music. Recent projects include Instructions for a Performance by Emma Goldman, an exhibition at the Foreman Art Gallery which distills his research on the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, a heritage building that straddles the Canada/U.S. border; an exhibition at Artexte that wove together national and personal performance histories, sound works, and readings; a performance with eight saxophonists for the Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides; and a research-performance project on borders for OFFTA in Montreal.

Contemporary Bus Tour
Sunday, March 1, 2020 @ 12 – 5 pm

The tour picks up at 12 pm at Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West) then departs for Blackwood Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, and Robert McLaughlin Gallery and returns to Gladstone Hotel at 5 pm. To RSVP, email blackwood.gallery@utoronto.ca or call 905.828.3789 by February 28 at 5 pm.

Pedagogy/Community/Action

RE:framing Gender: Identity Outside the Box
Curated by Jason Cyrus
Joan Goldfarb Visual Arts Study Centre
January 15 – April 17, 2020
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 15, 6–9 pm

RE:framing Gender is York’s first fashion exhibition. Curator Jason Cyrus explores the complex intersection of gender, identity, and race within fashion archives to reveal how fashion has historically framed our view of gender. How do we respond to, challenge, or adopt gendered stereotypes? How does the development of personal style empower us to face the world?

RE:framing Gender incorporates video installation, audio interviews, and fashion displays of items from the York Historic Fashion Collection ranging from the late 1800s to present. Devised in collaboration with multiple faculties across York, the exhibition places archival fashion garments alongside the personal items and stories of four queer people of colour—to explore the ways in which sartorial explorations of gender have evolved to the present.

Jason Cyrus is an MA candidate in Art History at York University. His thesis analyzes the Vogue writings of André Leon Talley through the lens of cultural capital via French theorist Pierre Bourdieu and critical race studies via American political activist Kimberlé Crenshaw. Cyrus sees fashion as a critical lens through which to analyze history and culture, while allowing us to interpret and present our individual identities to the world. This is his first exhibition.

Cyrus would like to thank Emelie Chhangur for her mentorship in making this exhibition, as well as Anna Hudson and the Fashion History Museum for their continued support and stewardship. Additional gratitude goes to the AGYU for equipment resources.

(Re) Conciling Institutional Practice: A Three-day Think Tank
Al Green Theatre, Centre for Fine Arts (CFA), York University
March 5–7, 2020
Conceived and presented by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries
with support from AGYU and Mobilizing Inuit Culture and Heritage (MICH).

Colonization is still implicated in the history and structures of all major art institutions in Canada as most contemporary art institutions began with the private collections of wealthy European settlers whose fortunes were based largely on the seizure of Indigenous resources, land, and people. Galleries and art museum collections, mandates, and exhibitions are ingrained with these histories. (Re) Conciling Institutional Practice is a three-day think tank series that addresses issues of colonialism and reconciliation in the following key museum functions: acquisitions, conservation, research, collections information management, exhibition, education, and curating.

Indigenous artists, curators, academics, and museum professionals lead this three-day think tank and frame the following topics:

Day One: Reconciling Your Institution’s Acquisitions and Collections
Day Two: Presentation Matters: The Importance of Exhibition and Display in the (Re)Conciliation Process
Day Three: Collections Pedagogy: From Practice to Protocol

For a full itinerary and registration information, please visit oaag.org/programs or contact Jessica Lukas at members@oaag.org.

Artists in the Library: Truth be Told 2020

The AGYU teams up with R.I.S.E. Edutainment once again, this time for Truth Be Told 2020, a multidisciplinary art program at the Malvern Public Library. Taking place from January to June, the program includes spoken word poetry, photography, rap songwriting, and music production workshops facilitated by a team of inspiring educators including Randell Adjei, Anthony Gebrehiwot, Dynesti Williams, and Nate Smith, all of whom worked on our 2018 film commission RISE. Workshop participants are encouraged to perform at a Monday R.I.S.E. event at Burrows Hall in preparation for a performance showcase at the Malvern Public Library in spring. This program reflects R.I.S.E. and AGYU’s commitment to developing culturally relevant arts education initiatives and our efforts to promote cultural production as a community-building force. Serving as catalysts for cultural citizenship our programs foster the cultural agency of youth and recognize their contribution to a vibrant arts ecology.

R.I.S.E. Edutainment thanks the Toronto Arts Council – Artists in the Library program and the Malvern Public Library for their generous support.

Art on My Mind 2019 update

Check out Gold in the Mirror on Spotify, iTunes, and Youtube! Gold in the Mirror was produced last summer during Art on My Mind 2019, AGYU’s outdoor song-writing residency in Edgeley Park. The single and a commissioned music video features stellar performances by Zakisha Brown, Denise De’ion, Jameel McPherson, NamedTobias., Abdulkadir “Moose” Nur, Lesisha Palmer, and Terence Penny.

Make Money Writing Art Reviews

AGYU has two cash awards for undergraduate critical writing! Send us your review or essay on one of our 2019–20 exhibitions (Caecilia Tripp, Jae Jarrell, Sky Hopinka, Jess Dobkin) and we will send you AGYU CASH—$150 for a review and $200 for a thematic essay. The winning review discusses the exhibition and offers a brief critical analysis of its content (500–1000 words) and the winning thematic essay thoroughly explores one or two underlying themes of the exhibition (1500–2000 words). Email submissions to agyu@yorku.ca by Friday, May 8, 2020.

Call for Volunteers

Get involved! AGYU provides important professional development opportunities for students who want to pursue careers in the arts—or those who just love being involved! Volunteering at the gallery adds important extracurricular credit to your CV, too! Our regularly scheduled volunteer hours are Monday to Friday, 10 am to 1 pm or 1 pm to 4 pm. Our reliable and professional volunteers perform a variety of roles with AGYU, including research, assisting with events, and welcoming visitors to the gallery. If you are interested in furthering your career, building your network, and strengthening your skills in our arts community, send an email to Habibah Haque at agyu@yorku.ca with your availability and let us know who you are and what excites you about art. We’re already looking forward to meeting you!

Research & Residencies

GUDSKUL x AGYU (x Tea Base x Aisle 4 x Gentrification Tax Action x GESSA x Department of Public Memory x FES x Maloca Community Garden x Gentrification Tax Action x YTB x YCAR x Unit 2 x YFS x New Tradition Music’s Mobile Recording Studio (Ruben Esguerra) x Dwayne Morgan x Patrick de Belen x … x … x …)

If you’ll remember our last newsletter, we promised visits to all parts of the City of Toronto by ruangrupa members Gesyada (Gesya) Siregar and Ibrahim (Ibam) Rashad, and GUDSKUL member Marcellina (Cella) Putri from Jakarta. They came, they did! Not only that, but they brought friends! We also hosted ruangrupa’s Ajeng Aina, Grafis Huru Hara’s Amy Zahrawaan, and Serrum’s Angga Wijaya. For two weeks, we kept all six on their toes as we hustled and bustled from meeting to meeting to meeting to meeting (see above for some of them), criss-crossing the city and investigating what our local partners in this enveloping yet still amorphous project are up for.

It’s always interesting to visit your own city with visitors from afar as it allows us to consider what aspects of our context are becoming central to our own understanding of our own place in our own town. In particular, a bus ride (it took five different buses in the end) from one end of Jane Street to the other solidified some understandings of the geography of this place. Things happen everywhere, not just in the centre. We have a lot of exploring to do to see how we can knit together a new-generation Cultural Centre on Spadina with an oft-forgotten but long-lasting community garden near Black Creek and a (metaphorical) lumbung taking shape inside the confines of the gallery space itself.

About that lumbung: it’s just one of the many keywords that we’ve been throwing around in this developmental process. A lumbung is a communal rice barn, a materialization of the commons in which all the rice farmers of a given Indonesian village would store their grain. Undergirding these barns were both pillars (they were raised from the ground) as well as a tacit guarantee that if you contribute to the barn, you have access to the contents. Unlike the Western understanding of the commons, though, the public good is not given as part of “nature” to privatize; it’s a public good that is meticulously constructed through communal effort, and maintained through ongoing relations. A common pot from which all can draw, and to which all should contribute.

And now, as we continue to plan and skype and invite and plan some more, we are in (constant) preparation for the next visits, both near (from our local compatriots in this crazy venture) and far (who will next make that cross-Pacific trek to conspire deep into the night).

Waging Culture

Over the fall, we’ve been releasing some demographic numbers of the latest Waging Culture survey, as we slowly crunch our way to clarity. With three data sets to pull from, it’s become that much more complicated to get a grasp of what exactly is going on. Take, for instance, our breakdown of (using the practice of the census as our model) respondents as Caucasian, visible minority, and Indigenous. This should be a fairly straightforward nine cell graph, but, no!

Way back in 2007, we found that the main lack of equity in this category was not in financial outcomes but, rather, in participation rates. This only became clear when using the demographics of the population-at-large as a filter to comprehend the artist population. In 2007, 80% of the population-at-large identified as Caucasian, but in the artist population that number was 90%. In the ten years since, the percentage of artists identifying as Caucasian has dropped to just under 84% which, on the surface, seems to be a move toward a more equitable distribution. To leave it at that, however, and to not track this change against the population-at-large, is misleading. Over that time, the percentage of Canadians identifying as Caucasian dropped to just under 73%. In reality, then, the ratio of artists identifying as Caucasian compared to the wider population has increased over the last decade. Aim your browser to our website (AGYU.art/wagingculture) to see what else we’ve uncovered about Canadian visual artists.

This winter, we will start to roll out some of the financial numbers that we’ve come up with. We’ll also start to tease out the analysis being done by Kelly Hill on the datasets, who is aiming to draw some correlations within the data that will illume which demographic traits have effects on the “success” of artists. In addition, we will be expanding on an idea that we’ve been teasing out slowly over the last decade: that there are two drivers to the economy of the arts, and that they have vastly different identities. Intertwined, of course, but somewhat surprising in the starkness of that difference.

Jess Dobkin: Apparatuses of Participation

Driven by an interest in how one might performatively engage the energetic liveness of archives from polysemous perspectives, artist Jess Dobkin and curator Emelie Chhangur spent the fall of 2019 working alongside York undergraduate and graduate computational arts students, a team of coders, and Augmented Reality specialists to create virtual and sensory apparatuses of participation for her upcoming spring 2020 exhibition at AGYU. A special thank you to York professors Laura Levin (Theatre & Performance Studies) and Joel Ong (Computational Arts) for helping to facilitate this collaboration, students and recent grads Cheng Shao (computational arts) and Andrei Pora (filmmaker) for their production support and steadfast skills, and York’s Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology and Makerspace—the new workspace for technological experimentation and cross-disciplinary experimentation in AMPD—for partnering with us to foster artist-driven research at the interstices of teaching, learning, and exhibition-making.

Amy Malbeuf & Jessie Ray Short

Following their winter 2019 research residency, artists Amy Malbeuf and Jessie Ray Short return to Toronto in March for a production residency in preparation for their culminating winter 2021 project. Commissioned for AGYU, this project is an artwork in exhibition form that builds on the artists’ co-curatorial work, including the landmark exhibition Li Salay (Art Gallery of Alberta, 2018). Working in dialogue with contemporary Métis visual culture along a continuum, Malbeuf and Short include their own work alongside fellow Métis artists from across Canada. Together the artists collectively explore the poetic and political intersection of magic and science with commissioned works conceived for this exhibition. During their production residency, Amy and Jessie also participate in the OAAG–AGYU produced think tank, (Re)Conciling Institutional Practice.

Publications

Taking a brief breath of air, we look back on a year of publications. We published our Lauren Wickware designed Public Studio book, The Long Now, which was initially introduced to the wider public at the 2018 Art Toronto fair as well as launched alongside Iris Häussler: The Sophie La Rosière Project late November 2018 at Type Books on Queen Street. It would later be launched in Montreal at the Canadian Centre for Architecture at a public conversation between Public Studio members Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky and art critic and curator Chantal Pontbriand in March 2019. Following that, we published artist book Clearance Process by BC poet Jordan Scott (in conjunction with his Audio Out project, Lanterns at Guantanamo). Then, Derek Liddington’s the body will always bend before it breaks, the tower will always break before it bends; the tower will always break before it bends, the body will always bend before it breaks book, designed by Zab and co-published with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery came out, and we launched that at Daniel Faria’s gallery last June. The next out was the RBC Foundation-supported Migrating the Margins, more book than catalogue, which was designed by Sameer Farooq. Written by Emelie Chhangur and Philip Monk, it speculates on the future of Toronto visual culture from a Glissantian perspective, and it was launched at Art Toronto this past fall. Following this, we saw completion of the Inside Killjoy’s Kastle publication, the peer-reviewed anthology edited by Allyson Mitchell and Cait McKinney that we co-published with UBC Press and One Archives at the University of Southern California. If you found yourself in Philadelphia this past October, you may have been at the launch there, and if you were in Toronto in November you might have caught us at Glad Day Bookshop for the Toronto launch! Finally, The Films of Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca with essays by Emelie Chhangur, André Lepecki, Hélio Menezes, and Evan Moffitt was released. Lisa Kiss put her all into this one, and we are so pleased with the result. We will announce launch details soon.

That was quite the year.

Right now, we’re starting up again in preliminary stages for two books: a catalogue for Betsabeé Romero’s Braided Roots / Trenzando raíces exhibition and a co-publication with lead partner The Reach in Abbotsford and the Yukon Arts Centre, Touchstones Gallery, Niagara Artists Centre, and Illingworth Kerr Art Gallery for a publication on Ready Player Two, the touring exhibition of Sonny Assu and Brendan Lee Satish Tang curated by Laura Schneider. Stay tuned for more info on our upcoming print publications and in the meantime, visit our newly designed website AGYU.art to listen to our ongoing podcast series.

Upcoming Exhibition

Jess Dobkin: You had to be here.

Dear Emelie,
I had a thought today, a vision, and I’m putting it here at the top of this document because I’ve been insisting that things don’t need to be chronological, that this isn’t a linear exploration, and I don’t want this particular thought to get lost in the mix. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to undo, redo, reimagine, represent, activate, upcycle the archive. For my purposes I’m not interested in the archive as presentation of historical documents. I am interested in how it can be performed. How it can be in conversation with the living present and also speak to the future.
I want to arrange two intersecting circles of chairs with nine chairs in each circle as an experimental configuration for conversation. I know this might not belong here but something is telling me to include it so I must.
One of my “ah ha’s” this year is an understanding of an archive as a portal. I believed—as I had been told and taught—that the archive is a physical space. An old musty musky bricks-and-mortar that collects and protects old, precious things. And that these old, precious things belong to the dominant powers that be. I had been thinking about how to activate these spaces but see now they are already charged and playing with dynamic, bendy time. Like performance, the archive is a space of energy exchange, that the materials are activated by our presence and engagement and also thinking about the archive as a kind of utopia—like the afterlife, like outer space—of expansive, radical possibility, a place where we can face all directions and times at once.
These are some of my thoughts for the morning. It is very grey here, early May dressed in March clothes. I’d love to connect and hear about your goings-on.
Sending love, Jess

***

This first institutional solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed, Toronto-based performance artist Jess Dobkin follows the artist’s research into performance art archives, serving the double function of being a retrospective and a launching pad for the creation of what might constitute an archive of live arts in Canada: a feminist archive of futurity. Emerging from the dynamic ways that performance can exist before and beyond the live event, the artists who made them, and the energetic and spiritual nature of documentation or of the performance materials themselves, this exhibition acts as a stage-set-up for the enactment of Jess’ archive and the communities, artists, and audiences who inhabit this archive through performance’s own making and doing.

Jess Dobkin has been a working artist, curator, community activist, and teacher for more than 25 years, creating and producing intimate solo theatre performances, large-scale public happenings, socially engaged interventions and performance art workshops and lectures. Her practice extends across black boxes and white cubes, art fairs and subway stations, international festivals and single bathroom stalls. She’s operated an artist-run newsstand in a vacant subway station kiosk (The Artist-Run Newsstand), a soup kitchen for artists (The Artists’ Soup Kitchen), and a breast milk tasting bar (The Lactation Station Breast Milk Bar). Her 2017 Dora-nominated performance, The Magic Hour, was developed and produced in a multi-year residency at The Theatre Centre.

AGYU’s exhibition is produced through a residency in collaboration with York’s Sensorium and students from the Computational Arts Program, AMPD. It was processed through lots of letters and conceived under many layers of lasagna. The exhibition is curated by AGYU Senior Curator, Emelie Chhangur.

Announcements

A New Home for the AGYU

On October 25, York University announced a generous five million dollar gift donated by the philanthropists and art collectors Joan and Martin Goldfarb. The Goldfarbs are familiar patrons of the arts and have previously given to York University, donating a selection of their art collection as well as funding the Joan & Martin Goldfarb Art Centre for Fine Arts on campus.

This substantial gift is set to fund a stand-alone art gallery, which will be the new home of the Art Gallery of York University but with a name change in honour of the Goldfarbs. Their significant donation is augmented by the University itself, who add three million to the new build. The gallery will remain on the Keele Campus with its face to the Commons.

Joan and Martin Goldfarb have acknowledged their gift with the belief that the AGYU should expand to become a centrepiece of the York University Campus, North York and the City of Toronto. We embrace this incredible gift and expansion as an acknowledgement of the AGYU’s history as a leader in presenting and supporting artists, and York University’s long commitment to the arts. The Goldfarb’s generosity magnifies our reach, which we will use to build audiences for art and its discourse while remaining a steadfast ground for artistic and curatorial research.

AGYU Welcomes a New Director!

We are thrilled to announce that York has appointed AGYU’s next director, Jenifer Papararo! As President Rhonda Lenton writes: “Jenifer Papararo joins us from Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art on the campus of the University of Winnipeg, where she has held the position of Executive Director for the past five years. At Plug In, she provided leadership for its mandate of research and education, fostering new artistic works, expanding audiences, and conducting strategic planning. Her initiatives include the STAGES biennial, a public art exhibition throughout Winnipeg; the Interpreting Youth program; and several other community-based lectures, screenings, and performances. Prior to her appointment at Plug In, she served as curator of the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver from 2004 to 2014. She has been engaged in the contemporary art field in a range of roles for more than 15 years as a curator, writer, institutional director, and member of the service-oriented curatorial and artist collective Instant Coffee. Throughout her positions, she has undertaken production and distribution of contemporary art, partnership building, publishing, and promotion of interdisciplinary approaches and interactions.”

We warmly welcome Jenifer to AGYU and look forward to the next phase of our expansion and ongoing institutional development under her directorial leadership.

AGYU Welcomes New Administrative Assistant

AGYU is excited to announce the appointment of Habibah Haque to the position of Administrative Assistant for an 18-month maternity leave contract. Habibah has a long history with Toronto’s arts communities. As an arts administrator, she has organized outreach activities for underserved communities including new-generation, racialized, Deaf, and disability-identifying artists and has served as the Outreach Administrator for equity-based granting programs and activities at the Ontario Arts Council. She is a programmer for Amnesty International’s Reel Awareness Film Festival and sits on their board of directors. With a master’s degree in human rights, Habibah’s interest lies in the intersection between arts and social justice. Her first short film, Rust and Release (2016), explores female independence and violence against women. Welcome to the team, Habibah!

OAAG Awards

On the evening of November 25, 2019, at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) honoured the hard work and dedication of Ontario’s public gallery sector at their annual awards ceremony. It’s kind of like the Oscars of the art gallery world and a one-of-a-kind celebration: for nominees, colleagues, and, of course, the winners! This year AGYU took home seven of those coveted gems across most major categories, including the inaugural BIPOC Changemaker Award, which was given to Emelie Chhangur for “pioneering a practice she calls in-reach: a process of rethinking institutional protocols, modes of production, and methods of engagement” and in recognition of being “a progressive and meaningful relationship builder within institutions and local communities effecting transformational institutional policy and structural changes” (jury).

We are proud to celebrate the work of our 2018 – 19 programming year with the following awards: Public Program Award: Rise/Truth Be Told, Emelie Chhangur & Allyson Adley, curators; Curatorial Art Writing (Major Essay): Migrating the Margins, Emelie Chhangur & Philip Monk, writers; Curatorial Art Writing (Short Text): Communities of Love, Emelie Chhangur, writer; Art Publication Award: Migrating the Margins: Circumlocating the Future of Toronto Art, Michael Maranda, coordinator, Sameer Farooq, designer, Emelie Chhangur & Philip Monk, writers; Design Award (Exhibition Catalogue): Sameer Farooq; and the Partnership Award: R.I.S.E. Edutainment for RISE/Truth Be Told!

RISE @ Fundación JUMEX, Mexico City

On October 31, 2019, our 2018 film commission RISE by Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca opened at Fundación JUMEX. R.I.S.E.’s founder, Randell Adjei, and the film’s Executive Producer and commissioner, Emelie Chhangur, travelled to Mexico City to attend the opening, give a talk, and meet with the education team at the museum. Together with Bárbara and Benjamin and moderated by independent curator Catalina Lozano, we discussed cultural activities taking place in Toronto’s suburbs, about the unique way the film was made and shot, about the AGYU’s approach to residencies and commissions and the concept of “in-reach,” and— of course—the Scarborough phenomenon R.I.S.E. (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere). RISE is beautifully and perfectly installed as an installation at JUMEX until February 9, 2020.

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