AGYU Fall 2019 Newsletter

The Future Real Conditional

  How can we imagine the future? Could time be considered a future-oriented curatorial strategy that changes what is possible to imagine? By conceiving our programming over time as an ever-evolving continuum of research and practice, at AGYU we’ve transitioned from 2018 and travelled through 2019 with some questions: What aesthetico-political gestures might constitute new kinds of social and political alliances? Could these gestures move us into trans-historical, intra-local, and inter-traditional spaces of liminal potential with their own time-sense? Can the kind of long-term, socially-engaged projects we’ve undertaken over the last decade become an institutional practice? We are speculating. Feeling the pressure of time, we’ve also thought a lot about tenses this year. Tenses have acted as themes that speak to our iterative inquiries and speak back to our own institutional transformation through time: the Future Imperfect (a past time with continuous events, winter 2019); the Present Continuous (being both in and of time, spring 2019); and now … the Future Real Conditional—a future that hasn’t yet happened but must. Or that may be. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is a future that will become real so long as the conditions for new research, thinking, and risk-taking can continue. The future real conditional perhaps is best summed up in terms of imagination. The future is conditional, but the “real” in this tense makes what we might do with that future possible, especially when we put in the time to move ideation into realization. Working along a continuum is slow and change is not always visible or legible—even to us. We’re rethinking the role residencies play in the future real conditional of AGYU: exhibitions act as anchors for the various thematic frameworks we collectively inhabit; research residencies propel these frameworks forward, deepening and developing the lines of flight we follow forward with ex-centric curiosity; production residencies give shape to the subsequent programming years and the commissions yet-to-come, the thinking yet-to-happen. It’s all connected. By the time we find ourselves in the future—say three years from now—the themes of this year will have advanced; the artists we are working with now, next year, and the year after will be connected; and the gallery will be transformed, once again, along the way. The individuals and groups brought into the AGYU throughout this process have played a real role in determining this institutional future: our community to come. The institution does in fact change with time. Interestingly, so does the universe. This fall we are learning how to stretch time as the conditional future imagined for AGYU. We turn to the stars and the fabric of the universe for inspiration and we follow artists whose own futuristic frequencies vibrate across our program this season. We look to physics and we look through telescopes as we wormhole our way from ideation to realization: what was a thought experiment in a research residency with Caecilia Tripp back in 2017 is now a commissioned art work in the fall exhibition… According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, gravity is a bending of the fabric of the universe caused by the objects it contains. In 1915, Einstein discovered that our universe not only has shape, but it is dynamic: able to change with time. When planets and stars and moons and such move, they create a bending in the fabric of our universe that moves with them. Relational bending sounds like a curatorial proposition to me! The theme of AGYU fall programming season is inflected by the writings of Black feminist photography scholar Tina M. Campt, whose own tense sense of temporality is an inspiration to our thinking towards 2020 – 21 (archives of futurities and pedagogies of hospitality). She proposes:

… a grammar of possibility that moves beyond a simple definition of the future tense as what will be in the future. It moves beyond the future perfect tense of that which will have happened prior to a reference point in the future. It strives for the tense of possibility that grammarians refer to as the future real conditional or that which will have had to happen. The grammar of black feminist futurity is a performance of a future that hasn’t yet happened but must. It is an attachment to a belief in what should be true, which impels us to realize that aspiration. It is the power to imagine beyond current fact and to envision that which is not, but must be. It’s a politics of pre-figuration that involves living the future now—as imperative rather than subjunctive—as a striving for the future you want to see, right now, in the present.

As for institutional practice, let’s remember: the universe isn’t expanding into something, it simply expands and grows from within. This is the future set in motion at AGYU. – Emelie Chhangur, Interim Director/Curator

Caecilia Tripp: Going Space and Other

September 11 – December 1, 2019

Opening Reception: Wednesday September 11, 6 – 9 pm

Toronto Biennial of Art Preview Days: September 18 – 21

Where differences meet each other, intertwining, not as the limit which divides, but where differences meet each other and coexist – Édouard Glissant

Known for working at the intersection of artistic and scientific inquiry, Paris- and New York-based Caecilia Tripp creates immersive film, participatory performance, and sculptural installations that transgress notions of fixed identities and bounded geographies in the service of more ethereal expression: from the depths of earth to the interstellar beyond. Going Space and Other Worlding is the culmination of two years of research and residencies with AGYU and brings together recent and commissioned works that poetically engage Martiniquan poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant’s pensée du tremblement: a universe of thought that trembles, shakes, vibrates, and stays multiple. Beginning in 2017, Tripp’s Toronto research trajectory opened a space for thinking in-between astrophysicists from the Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto and Indigenous Elders as a form of collective (and cosmic) knowledge production. Subsequent residencies saw us tracing the shoreline of the former Lake Iroquois, hosting a feast of culturally-mixed food in Kensington Market (Creative Time Summit), and, eventually, bringing together York film and science students to observe neighbouring galaxies and other awesome astrological objects by attaching a camera to a telescope in York University’s observatory (2018). Even the Stars Look Lonesome (co-commissioned with the Sharjah Biennial where it showed last March) was the result of this interdisciplinary experiment. Produced over the past year in collaboration with York professor Paul Delaney (Department of Physics and Astronomy), undergraduate film student Andrei Pora, undergraduate astronomy students Jared Carlson and Joshua Parsons, Toronto-based sound designer Matt Beckett, Paris-based sound designer Kerwin Rolland, Toronto-based Gabonese-Congolese spoken-word poet Borelson, and Jane–Finch-based MC Zak’isha Brown, Even the Stars Look Lonesome is an immersive, five-channel film installation in the shape of a star. It features performances by David Hamilton Thomson and Michael Olajide Jr., a musical score by Robert Aiki Aubrey Low, and costumes by Rick Owens. Even the Stars Look Lonesome expands upon the writings and research of Senegalese decolonial historian and scientist Cheikh Anta Diop as a poetic and polyphonic immersive chant, rhythmed and rhymed in the somatic spaces of the human and celestial bodies that alight the screens. The centrepiece of the exhibition, the work is a filmic ritual of fugitivity and migration through the multiverse, flickering between light and darkness, being seen and unseen. Going Space and Other Worlding uniquely puts into practice the artist’s strategies and thematics through a fluid and changing exhibition form that moves between locations and across time-scales, and, in fact, includes other artists and other entities—from black holes to asteroids—all set in-relation. From the shifting seismicity of Liquid Earth (2018) to the dynamic and ever-expanding cosmos of Scoring the Black Hole (2016), and all the interstellar matter(-ing) in-between, Going Space and Other Worlding is a space-time where Einstein’s special relativity encounters Glissant’s poetics of relation … and Tripp’s work encounters Jae Jarrell’s. A poetics of cosmic magnetism and rhizomatic relation, Going Space and Other Worlding conceptually, thematically, and physically pushes beyond concepts of belonging that are constituted through filiation and rootedness (beyond the singularity of the solo exhibition concept, too) in favour of alternative foundational grounds from which to build new multiplicities. From the cosmically connected to the terrestrially linked, we tremble together: our invisible bonds echo each other. Caecilia Tripp’s work has been shown in galleries, museums, and public streets internationally: PS1/MOMA New York; Museum of Modern Art, Paris; Center of Contemporary Arts, New Orleans; Clark House Initiative, Mumbai; Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum, New York; Le CREDAC, Ivry-sur-Seine, France; featured in biennials: 7th Gwangju Biennale; 2008 Dakar Biennale; Prospect Biennale 1; Sharjah 14; and shown at film festivals: MOSTRA 61 Film Festival, Venice; Real Life Film Festival, Ghana; among others. Her filmic opera The Making of Americans (2004) won the award for best experimental film at Cinema Paradise, Hawaii, USA. Caecilia Tripp: Going Space and Other Worlding is curated by Emelie Chhangur and produced through an extended engagement between artist and curator over the past two years. The presentation of Asteroid (2019) at AGYU is made possible with the financial support of Sharjah Foundation, UAE and Erna Hecey Gallery, Luxembourg. Additional work by Caecilia Tripp is on view as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art at 259 Lake Shore Blvd. E. Visit for details. See: Interstellar Sleep. Caecilia Tripp: Going Space and Other Worlding is presented in partnership with the Toronto branch of the Cultural and Scientific Office of the French Embassy, located at the French Consulate in Toronto. The exhibition is produced with the support of the Institut Français, Paris, and the Cultural Services of the Embassy of France in Canada. Special thank you to Alexandra Servel (Chargée de mission, Département Echanges et Coopérations artistiques) and Tiffany Fukuma (Cultural Attaché), Consulat général de France à Toronto.

Jae Jarrell

September 11 – December 1, 2019

Opening Reception: Wednesday September 11, 6 – 9 pm

Toronto Biennial of Art Preview Days: September 18 – 21

Jae Jarrell made her first Revolutionary Suit in 1969. Constructed of grey tweed, the suit featured a bright yellow suede bandolier stitched along the edge of the jacket. Running from shoulder to hip, the slots of the bandolier are filled with either brightly coloured wooden pegs or pastels: ammunition for creation or for revolution. As Jarrell noted in an article in Jet Magazine in 1971, the bandolier was not simply a fashion accessory: “We were saying something when we used the belts. We’re involved in a real revolution.” From the beginning of her practice, Jarrell merged art and design with Black liberation politics. A part of the Toronto Biennial of Art, this exhibition gathers together sculptures, original designs and archival material spanning nearly fifty years of Jarrell’s radical practice. Jarrell began working professionally in the early 1960s on Chicago’s South Side, creating designs that deliberately disrupted the boundaries between fashion and sculpture. She debuted her first collection in the spring of 1963, opening her first retail store the next year. Her store—Jae of Hyde Park—was a means of self-determination: “You call your shots in business. You set the tone.” By the late 1960s, her practice was directly responding to the activism of the era and aligned with the Black Arts Movement and, in 1968, Jarrell together with her husband Wadsworth Jarrell, Jeff Donaldson, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and Gerald Williams, founded AFRICOBRA (the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). The influential collective came together in response to “a lack of positive representation of African American people in media and the arts,” with a goal to “develop a uniquely Black aesthetic that conveyed the pride and power of their communities.” Working between art, design, and political organizing, Jarrell’s garments are often exhibited first as sculpture. An interest in structure underpins much of what she creates, and her work is inflected with symbols. Two ornamented freestanding screens include citations of earlier creations, including Brothers Surrounding Sis, a hand-painted dress that suggests the importance of supportive relationships between men and women. These symbols are communal as well as individual: “If you want individuality you have to use your own voice from beginning to end.” Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1935, Jarrell was raised in a family steeped in the traditions of garment-making. Her grandfather was a tailor and her uncle was a haberdasher. As a child, she learned from her mother how to make her own clothing. Shortly after moving to Chicago to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jarrell established herself as a rising star on the Chicago scene. Among the many important cultural institutions that have exhibited Jarrell’s ground-breaking work are the Smithsonian Institute, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Langston Hughes Center for Visual and Performing Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the National Center for Afro American Artists. Jae Jarrell, curated by Candice Hopkins and Tairone Bastien, is co-presented by AGYU and the Toronto Biennial of Art. Additional work by Jarrell is on view at 259 Lake Shore Blvd. E. as part of the Biennial. Visit for details.

Toronto Biennial of Art Opening: September 21 Professional Preview Days: September 18 – 20. Please visit for accreditation.

Interstellar Sleep: A Performance by Caecilia Tripp

259 Lake Shore Blvd. E.

Performance Dates: September 19, 12 pm — Rehearsal Performance September 21, 1 pm — Public Performance September 22, 1 pm — Public Performance

Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art in partnership with AGYU’s exhibition of Tripp’s work, Interstellar Sleep is a choreographed 6-performer multi-sensory installation with surround sound and cosmic dust. Interstellar Sleep is conceived in collaboration with local astrophysicists, Indigenous knowledge keepers, York University’s hip hop dance troupe, and YorkU computational arts students. It also features an experimental musical score by Toronto-based artist Mani Mazinani.

RISE @ Toronto Biennial of Art

RISE returns to Toronto! We are thrilled that the Toronto Biennial of Art is showing our 2018 film commission RISE by our beloved Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca! Presented as an installation at Biennial site 259 Lake Shore Blvd. E., this is a rare opportunity to experience this award-winning short film (AUDI Award, Berlinale) as an immersive experience. RISE was shot on the TTC’s Line One Subway extension and features some of Toronto’s most talented spoken-word poets, rappers, singers, and dancers—including a cameo or two from the legendary Elder Duke Redbird. AGYU is celebrating with the launch of our latest book and the artists’ first monograph, The Films of Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca.  

AGYU Vitrines

Over the past year and a bit, Andrei Pora has been ubiquitous in the AGYU offices. A recent graduate in York’s film production program, he’s worked with Caecilia Tripp on work commissioned for her exhibition, but also documented exhibition openings and other AGYU activities, programmed a night of film in the gallery, and was generally there when we needed him. He’s also an aspiring filmmaker, and as part of our ongoing program of commissioning new work from YorkU students, we thought it apt to invite Andrei to create a new work for AGYU Vitrines. Of his work, he writes:   “With the backdrop of today’s blurring between state and non-state actors, and the perpetual condition of undeclared global conflict, this work is a ludic investigation into the architectures of the domestic and of the ‘other.’ Utilizing the contradictory frameworks of reconnaissance and dérive, the work poses questions regarding how everyday spaces are contextualized in different realms (real life versus virtual), and the role that machines and private/public entities play in mediating and repurposing our experiences of these spaces.”  

AGYU Audio Out Listening Bench

Sound Sound. Saying a sound twice sounds different from saying a sound once, then again. Sounds sound different forever, everywhere. – Mani Mazinani   Toronto-based artist Mani Mazinani (b.1984, Tehran) is currently researching origins of ancient thought, perceptual limitations of humans, and improvisation. His recent work exercises spatialized acoustic motion via listening to electrically-generated sound. Mechanized hearing (microphones) focus auditory attention on particular points. The arrangement of these points forms the basis of measuring hearing, a practice of perception. As Mazinani collaborated with Caecilia Tripp on the sound for Interstellar Sleep, we wanted a piece of his for us, too. We’ve thus commissioned him to make a piece specifically suited for our Audio Out Listening Bench!    

Archives of Futurities

Friday, October 25, 1 pm @ Art Toronto

A conversation with Emelie Chhangur, Pamila Matharu, and Rajni Perera RBC Speaker Series, Art Toronto Main Stage

Presented by RBC on the Art Toronto main stage, this panel bridges AGYU’s fall 2019 theme “The Future Real Conditional” and our Winter 2020 theme “Archives of Futurities.” A conversation between curator Emelie Chhangur and artists Pamila Matharu and Rajni Perera builds from the collective work undertaken in the AGYU’s 2017 Migrating the Margins exhibition and discusses how strategies used by the artists create spaces of inclusion—both socially and aesthetically. We imagine how to create a future that hasn’t yet happened but must by effecting change today. The panel is presented in conjunction with the launch of Migrating the Margins, the AGYU book by Emelie Chhangur and Philip Monk, which was generously funded by RBC Art Foundation.  

AGYU @ Art Toronto

We are again pleased to be a cultural partner with Art Toronto, happening this year October 25 – 27 at the Metro Convention Centre. You can find out all the talks, special projects, and exhibitors at Make sure to keep your eyes peeled, as we will be taking the opportunity to hold a launch of our RBC Art Foundation funded Migrating the Margins publication!    

Jae Jarrell: Artist’s Talk

Monday, September 23, 4 – 6 pm @ AGYU

In partnership with the Toronto Biennial of Art, AGYU presents a talk with Jae Jarrell in the context of her exhibited projects and selection of archival materials. As artist and cofounder of AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), Jarrell speaks to her methods of creating wearable artworks in relation to the affirmative, future-facing strengths and struggles of the movement.  

Toronto Biennial of Art Storytelling Tours

Wednesday, October 16 and November 6 @ AGYU

The Toronto Biennial of Art Storytelling Program is a series of guided walks and conversations across Biennial sites and partner venues. Hosted by an intergenerational body of Storytellers who share their experiences and stories of the city, groups of visitors are invited to actively engage with questions and perspectives raised by the many projects within the Biennial. On October 16 and November 6 from 68 pm join Toronto-based Gabonese-Congolese spoken-word poet and rapper Borelson for an engagement with Caecilia Tripp’s and Jae Jarrell’s exhibitions.    

Wigwam Chi-Chemung: Decolonizing Astrophysics

Elder Dr. Duke Redbird in conversation with Dr. Renée Hložek, Sunday, September 22, 6 pm

Ontario Place Marina South

  Wigwam Chi-Chemung is an art installation and Indigenous interpretive learning centre initiated by Indigenous intellectual, poet, painter, broadcaster, filmmaker, orator, and long-term AGYU collaborator and friend, Elder Dr. Duke Redbird. Translating to Big House Canoe, Wigwam Chi-Chemung features an evolving art installation located on the waters of Lake Ontario telling the story of the Indigenous presence on the waterfront. The boat and the surrounding area act as an Indigenous interpretive learning centre and play host to a handful of events throughout the summer and fall. In conjunction with Caecilia Tripp’s exhibition, the Toronto Biennial of Art and AGYU host an intimate night of conversation between Elder Redbird and renowned Astrophysicist Dr. Renée Hložek (Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics & Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto) to discuss our relationship to the cosmos from a multiplicity of perspectives. Redbird and Hložek met in 2017 during Tripp’s first research residency in Toronto and have continued to investigate the intersections of their interests as a potential path toward Indigenizing the astronomy curriculum.    

AGYU’s Student Tour Series: Jason Cyrus

Wednesday, October 9, 6 pm @ AGYU

Jason Cyrus discusses his research interests in fashion archives and historic representations of gender and race in relation to Caecilia Tripp’s and Jae Jarrell’s exhibitions. Jason sees fashion as a credible lens through which to analyze history and culture, while allowing us to interpret, construct, and present our individual identities to the world. Jason Cyrus is currently an MA candidate in Art History at York University, whose thesis analyzes the Vogue writings of André Leon Talley through the lens of French theorist Pierre Bourdieu and American political activist Kimberlé Crenshaw. His concurrent SSHRC-funded research project looks at the ways in which historic representations of gender within fashion archives affect transgender and gender non-confirming people of colour. It culminates in RE:Fashioning Gender, an exhibition at the Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, York University from January 16 – April 17, 2020.  

Research and Residencies

Waging Culture: The story so far

This summer we were deep in the numbers, crunching away at all three iterations of the Waging Culture survey. A Sector Innovation and Development project grant from the Canada Council for the Arts has opened up some resources to help out, and we’ve been able to contract Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research to work through some of the numbers with us. We’re particularly interested in teasing out two strains of economies at play in the arts: a commercially driven, winner-takes-all model that increases inequality in the sector (and we see evidence of that happening), and a public-monies-driven work-preference model that may provide the architecture for understanding a more equity-driven economy within the arts that prioritizes the public good over private gain. Oh, wait, is that too political? Over the fall on our website, we reveal a few key findings on the 2017 iteration of the survey, a state-of-the-arts recap, and then, more importantly, we work toward another publication, out in winter 2020. This publication presents a more nuanced look at some of the drivers of resource allocation within the arts, particularly on how the sources of artist’s income can be seen to correlate with some key equity parameters. This publication will not come without context, though, as we are also working on putting together a small symposium on research trends in the visual arts sector. So exciting!  

AGYU Visiting Curator’s Series

This June we welcomed Sydney-based independent curator Tian Zhang as part of AGYU’s Visiting Curator Series. A like-minded kin, Tian is a socially-engaged curator and creative producer whose research into non-European/Asian diasporic cultural forms of curating and leadership serves as a means and methodology to deconstruct social issues and facilitate change. During her secondment at AGYU, Tian worked seamlessly in dialogue with AGYU’s year-long inquiry into the role hybrid identities might play in constituting new forms of cultural kinship and survival. Her research visit was an opportunity to share learnings of diasporic forms of curating in Australia and Canada as well as to organize a robust schedule of studio visits with Toronto-based artists and cultural workers with the hopes of further reciprocal exchange (stay tuned!). On June 19 at Small World Theatre, AGYU and Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC) co-presented a public talk with Tian, who shared her practice with an eager Toronto audience. She touched on the broader Australian cultural landscape and PARI, a brand-new artist-run “anti-gallery” space she is co-leading. After the talk, Shani K. Parsons from CDCC, Myung-Sun Kim, Associate Curator of Public Programs at the Toronto Biennial, and AGYU’s Interim Director/Curator Emelie Chhangur hosted a moderated discussion that delved deeper into the key themes of the evening, providing an opportunity to discuss the shared methodologies and concerns of cultural workers-of-colour here in Toronto. AGYU’s visiting curator-in-residency program was initiated in 2017 as a way to facilitate curatorial research on emerging artists, artists of colour, and artists working in the suburbs.   AGYU Visiting Curator-in-Residence: Amin Alsaden At AGYU, we are always seeking a good connection, especially one that will challenge our ideas of connectivity. But we also think the best connections happen intuitively: these are the best connections because they are unknown. With an open-ended, future-oriented will toward tomorrows, we host curator, scholar, and educator Amin Alsaden as our fall 2019 curator-in-residence. Connections made between AGYU and our now flourishing curator-in-residence program happen first between us (obviously! right …), but now also in thinking-relation with AGYU’s research trajectory: we will bend AGYU to support this trajectory, gravitationally. This means being more than the right now. It means being present in a future that is happening right now. If this sounds abstract, then think: a cosmic space-time, where events happening billions of light years away from us are also happening right now. Right now, Amin is here, in Toronto, building a network and an event horizon (and BTW we don’t think Black Holes are “lurking” at the centre of galaxies; they are real forces of cosmic creation!). Amin’s intersectional interests in art and space, public realm, concepts of territories and cartographic practices occupy, belong, and alienate our own thinking right now. Yep, it’s meta. During his time at AGYU, Amin does studio visits with local artists, challenges us to think of how we’re moving from the future real conditional into archives of futurities, and inaugurates a (potentially, fingers-crossed) serial writing project as part of the discursive wing of our new website: Like most things AGYU, this project is not seasonally-based. So please stay tuned to our website, where we hope to spend more real-time evolving and discursively engaging what’s going on behind-the-scenes here.   Amin Alsaden’s work focuses on cross-cultural exchange and the blurred boundary between art and architecture. Gathering and sharing new knowledge at this intersection, Amin’s curatorial practice aims to combat reductive and divisive ideological frameworks by championing alternative voices toward the decolonization of global narratives and unjust local dynamics by insisting that we can resist our complicity in them. Focusing on the global south, the socio-political agency of cultural institutions, and concepts of monumentality in art and architecture, Amin curatorially frames his recent PhD on post-WWII Baghdad by opening thought toward the ways in which knowledge about modern and contemporary art from the Arab world is produced today. It is the role of institutional infrastructures, curatorial frameworks, support networks, and other contradictory instruments of power and freedom that will generate alternatives of belonging and displacement.  

GUDSKUL: An Imagination Tool for Institutional Operations

Can you hear the hammers in the distance? That’s us as we construct the infrastructure of conviviality necessary to hand over the keys of AGYU to Jakarta-based mega-art collective GUDSKUL in fall 2020. Now, these sorts of things don’t happen overnight, and they certainly don’t happen without a lot of groundwork being put in place—but we are used to that at AGYU. To move this project forward, we’ve been visited again over the summer with a couple new-to-Toronto members of ruangrupa, Marcellina Putri and Ajeng Aini. They picked up where the spring visitors left off, conducting intensive consultations with local collaborators-in-training. What this looks like, in the context of Indonesian collectives, is very much like hanging out, of course. Despite appearances, though, lots of things are in motion. They’re showing us the way of football strategies that Gudskul is putting into operation in Jakarta and you know what? It works! This fall, we see both the return of the much-loved (by us, anyway) Gesyada, as well as two new visitors, Ibam Ibrahim Soetomo (a.k.a. Ibrahim) from Jakarta32°C and Marcellina Dwi Kencana Putri (a.k.a. Cella) from Gudskul to continue to prepare the site for the eventual construction of the school here. The link to Jakarta 32°C is key, as this offshoot of ruangrupa is an important forum for recent graduates of art schools in Jakarta, and this model will play an important role here in Toronto, too. (32°C is the average temperature in Jakarta, in case you were wondering. In case you are now wondering, the average temperature in Toronto is 9.7°C.) When they’re here in October, they look to the resources available on campus that might be repurposed for our little venture of Gudskul x AGYU. And, of course, we are also getting ready for future visits from members of Grafis Huru Hara and SERRUM, the other collectives that make up Gudskul, AGYU’s 2019 – 2020 artists-in-residence.  


Art on my Mind

Taking place in Edgeley Park (Jane and Driftwood), Art on My Mind 2019 was AGYU’s outdoor summer satellite hip hop program for Jane–Finch youth. Facilitated by a dynamic team of seven educators including Jameel3dn, NamedTobias., Zak’isha Brown, Terence Penny, Abdulkadir “Moose” Nur, Denise De’ion and Es Ef, Art on My Mind 2019 enabled participants to write and record collective rap songs and to produce outdoor music videos.   Learning the art of writing and rap performance with Jameel3dn, NamedTobias., Zak’isha Brown, Terence Penny, and Abdulkadir “Moose” Nur, participants then recorded their songs and poetry with the assistance of renowned sound engineer and beat producer Denise De’ion. The program culminated with a music video production workshop led by accomplished videographer Es Ef which saw five groups of youth produce music videos outdoors with Edgeley Park and surrounding neighbourhood buildings serving as the backdrop.   On July 12, AGYU presented Art on My Mind 2019, an unforgettable outdoor showcase in Edgeley Park. Curated by R.I.S.E. Edutainment, the opening acts featured stand out performances by Yungstar Millz, Keenan, and Sincerely Shy. The main showcase featured a brilliant lineup including showstopping performances by Zak’isha Brown, Denise De’ion, Jameel3dn, Kibra, NamedTobias., Abulkadir “Moose” Nur, Terence Penny, and Veshone.   AGYU would like to thank the Toronto Arts Council – Arts in the Parks Program; The Toronto Arts Foundation; Julian Campbell, Youth Program Manager, Jane–Finch Boys and Girls Club (Driftwood and Grandravine); Celeste Scott, Community Recreation Programmer at the Driftwood Community Centre; and Ruben Esguerra (New Tradition Music) for generously supporting this program.  

Artists in the Library

AGYU teams up with R.I.S.E. Edutainment once again, this time for Truth Be Told 2019, a multidisciplinary art program at the Malvern Public Library. Taking place from September to December, the program includes spoken-word poetry, photography, rap song-writing, and music production workshops facilitated by a team of inspiring educators including Randell Adjei, Anthony Gebrehiwot, Dynesti Williams, and Nate Smith. Workshop participants are encouraged to perform and share their artistic practice at one of the Monday night R.I.S.E. events at Burrows Hall, Scarborough (where so many young poets launch their careers!). This program reflects R.I.S.E. and AGYU’s commitment to developing culturally relevant arts education initiatives and promoting 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 would like to thank the Toronto Arts Council – Artists in the Library program for their generous support.  

AGYU @ Pride 2019

This year, Pride 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York. As the Kick-off event for Pride Week 2019 celebrations at York, AGYU partnered with the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion, and the SexGen York Committee for a free screening of the film Queer Coolie-tudes (2019). Filmmaker Michelle Mohabeer’s creative essay documentary includes perspectives and histories from diverse subjects (artists, academics, and activists) from the Queer Indo-Caribbean diaspora. “Instead of succumbing to pressures to find a shared narrative or common ground, the documentary is a powerful collection of testimonies which embraces the complexities of creole identities; dougla, mixed-race, genderqueer, gender, age and mobility are embraced in nuanced ways” (Inside Out 2019 catalogue). Alongside the unveiling of a community quilt made by York students, staff, and faculty, this screening and Q & A with Mohabeer was at home with AGYU’s ongoing commitment to manifesting Édouard Glissant’s “poetics of relation” and foreshadowed this season’s program with Tripp and Jarrell. This fantastic event was made possible with collaborations and contributions from York’s Faculty of Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, and Faculty of Environmental Studies, and was part of a week of Pride programming produced in partnership with TBLGAY and YFS.  

AGYU Research Associate – Collections Management Report: Elizabeth Porco

As AGYU’s Research Associate – Collections Management, I gained invaluable professional experience that put into practice the principles and protocols of art collections management. Working alongside AGYU’s Collections/Education Assistant Allyson Adley, I was exposed to an array of experiences related to the collection and care of artworks: from organizing permanent collection storage, to learning about what a Cultural Property application entails, to curating the permanent collection in public spaces on campus. I helped coordinate on-campus loans, learned how to use the permanent collection database, accessioned new acquisitions, and gained an understanding of how an art acceptance committee operates by witnessing the donation review process. Through these hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, I have developed a distinct and critical toolkit for my future career in museums and galleries. During my time with AGYU, I also took the lead on coordinating the reopening of the Goldfarb Study Centre. Until recently, the study centre served as a space for students to engage with and examine artworks. The re-envisioning and re-activation of the centre has given it a new purpose, equally pedagogical. Now the centre hosts student curated exhibitions and provides graduate students with important hands-on curatorial learning experiences, including my own through echoes, an exhibition of Laakuluk Williamson Bathory, Jamie Griffiths, and Taqralik Partridge that I helped install with the guidance of Anna Hudson.


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 in the arts!). Volunteering at the gallery adds important extra-curricular credit to your CV, too! Our regularly scheduled volunteer hours are Monday to Friday 10 am – 1 pm and 1 pm – 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 Huaihong Li at with your availability and let us know who you are and what excites you about art. We’re already looking forward to meeting you!  

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 by Friday, 8 May 2020.  

And the Award Goes To…

The annual AMPD Open House at the Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts was a packed affair! As undergraduate painters, printmakers, photographers, and sculptors ran around putting the finishing touches on their end-of-year works, the AGYU staff was there to bestow the best-of-the-best with accolades and, perhaps most importantly, AGYU cash! Best in show went to Rebecca Garcia for the work Untitled Kodak Moment and the prestigious AGYU award to Alison Romero for the work Akin-Portrait of Self-Love. An extra honorary mention was awarded to Krista Elizabeth Donoghue-Stanford for the work Where They Are. Congratulations to all the artists at the open house!    


We are pleased to announce that AGYU’s Interim Director/Curator Emelie Chhangur has been appointed as an Adjunct Member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Graduate Department of Art and Art History at York University. This exciting cross-over strengthens ties between AGYU and AMPD and supports the new Goldfarb Study Centre’s exhibition program with curatorial mentorship, directed readings, seminar-based and experiential learning, and affiliated AGYU programming by graduate students.    


On June 15, we gathered together with friends and compatriots to celebrate the arrival of Derek Liddington’s catalogue, 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, at Daniel Faria’s project space. It’s a beautiful publication that we couldn’t have completed without the help of some absolutely lovely people, in this case Zab on design, our own Emelie Chhangur as well as Fabien Maltais-Bayda and Ryan Doherty on writing duties, and our co-publisher, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. Oh, and Derek, we couldn’t have done this if you hadn’t done what you do. Please, if you, dear reader, get a chance, pick up a copy of this stunner. You won’t regret it. We’re looking forward to Art Toronto with particular anticipation, as we’re launching our influential book on the contemporary art scene in Toronto: Migrating the Margins: Circumlocating the Future of Toronto Art. Yes, it’s out, and it’s ready for order on our website! Follow along as Emelie Chhangur and Philip Monk follow along with Erika DeFreitas, Anique Jordan, Tau Lewis, Rajni Perera, Nep Sidhu, Farrah-Marie Miranda, Otherness (Marilyn Fernandes + Pamila Matharu), and Sister Co-Resister as they chart the Glissantian-inflected future-that-is-now. Sameer Farooq did the work justice with his design, and we couldn’t have done it without the generous help of the RBC Foundation and additional help from Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts (TFVA). Don’t wait until October to get your copy, though. Rather, get it now, read it thoroughly, then join us at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to celebrate. Before then, though, we’ve a favour to ask. Earlier this summer, we did the final push on The Films of Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca so that we could get it out before Venice closed for the year. Lisa Kiss Design went above and beyond, as she is wont to do, to get this in our hands, and in our hands it is. It contains essays by Emelie Chhangur, André Lepecki, Hélio Menezes, and Evan Moffitt. This September, we will be launching the book in conjunction with the Toronto Biennial of Art’s presentation of RISE, the AGYU produced film by Bárbara and Benjamin. We’d be super pleased if you came out to see the film, and buy the book. We’ll let you know more as the details are solidified. Distribution on this one courtesy of D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers), New York. Finally, is that a Killjoy we hear? We’ve recently finished off our UBC Press and One Archive co-published Inside Killjoys Kastle publication, a peer review/art book hybrid. Coming to stores near and far, and online in various places, this compendium on the impact and influence of Allyson Mitchell’s Killjoy’s Kastle (edited by Allyson and Cait McKinney). The book will launch in conjunction with the presentation of Killjoy’s Kastle at Icebox Projects Space in Philadelphia (October 16 – 27). Stay tuned to social media and webpages and emails near you for news about the Toronto launch later this fall.  

Upcoming Exhibition

Sky Hopinka

January 15 – March 16, 2020

  Coming up next: this winter we’re very excited to announce Sky Hopinka’s first Canadian solo exhibition! Hopinka’s video 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. Alongside this solo exhibition, the artist curates a screening program of work by other artists and filmmakers. Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington, and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, CA, Portland, OR, and Milwaukee, WI. In Portland, he studied and taught Chinuk Wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. 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 played 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 is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow for 2019. Hopinka is joining the faculty of The School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, as Assistant Professor in Film Production.




Art Gallery of York University
Keele Campus, Accolade East Building
Toronto Ontario  M3J 1P3

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Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
please note: the gallery spaces are currently closed for construction of our new building

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Nearest TTC Wheel-Trans stop is York University Subway (north entrance)