Every.Now.Then is the name of this exhibit at the AGO.
As you step off the elevator this is the first image you see.
Acknowledging that Canada’s sesquicentennial represents a narrow slice of time in the larger historical record, Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood aims to address the mistakes of the past, rewrite and reclaim history, and move into the future with new insight. The exhibition features 33 new and recent projects by artists from across Canada.
"Bell” from the Wanted Series by Camal Pirbhai and Camille Turner.The story of the Underground Railroad is a narrative that is well known and taught in the Ontario public education system. The Wanted series shines a light on a narrative that is not. The pieces are inspired by actual fugitive slave ads Canadian slave owners (many specific to Toronto) placed in newspapers about enslaved people who had escaped. Extracting descriptor words used within the ads (as seen in the top left corner of “Bell”), Pirbhai and Turner concoct a picturesque imagining of the escaped enslaved people performing their freedom in order to restore their humanity.
Top corner says - Calico gown and petticoat/dress cap/black silk hankerchief
“One of the Boys,” Esmaa Mohamoud, 2017
Esmaa Mohamoud’s work looks to critique gender binaries. Her piece demonstrates how gender is fluid and the importance of beginning to have these difficult conversations in Canada. The work is inspired by a resonating story of how Mohamoud was once told to take off a Vince Carter jersey and change into a dress because she was not ‘one of the boys.’
“Illuminated Niagara Falls,” Xiong Chu, 2017.Xiong Chu addresses the important role seasonal migrant workers play in Canada in “Illuminated Niagara Falls.” Niagara Falls is an icon, but few people know—or appreciate—the contributions and sacrifices many seasonal migrant workers from Mexico and Jamaica make in harvesting produce in the Niagara region. Chu has formed a breathtaking massive wall made up of images of the workers’ day-to-day lives. His images cascade down an entire wall in the gallery, creating their own version of the falls, their labour illuminating the falls more than the coloured spotlights directed on Niagara Falls does.
“A Mobile and Visible Carriage,” Charmaine Lurch, 2015.
Charmaine Lurch’s work uses written, archival and present-day material to share the story of Thorton and Lucie Blackburn. The Blackburn’s horse-drawn cab was the first and only cab in Upper Canada, standing as concrete evidence of two people who were both activists and entrepreneurs, and an important part of Canadian history – a part that is often erased. The silhouetted frame of the cab incorporates the visible and invisible, making this part of Black history in Canada tangible.
Trinity by Barry Ace, digitally charged beaded Anishinaabe bandoliers.
Poet Shauntay Grant, herself of Maroon descent, intones verse while an image of her wrapped in her grandmother’s quilt occupies a wall nearby.
Myung-Sun Kim’s time being, a small collection of sculptural objects, read like memorial runes: for lives lost and replaced, pasts unwillingly left behind and left to haunt the present like ghosts.
Since I have a small box collection, I am drawn to these. They were very tiny.