AGYU welcomes the downtown to uptown in advance of the subway

This fall, the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) welcomes downtown with an exhibition program dedicated to the future of Toronto. Opening Friday, Sept. 15 with a special event that runs from 6 to 9pm, the exhibition Migrating the Margins exemplifies the new conditions of artistic production in Toronto reflective of the vast changes in the city’s culture as a result of decades of immigration and life in the suburbs.

Nep Sidhu with Nicholas Galanin, No Pigs in Paradise, 2015-2016. Photo: Kikuyama Yoshihiro

Nep Sidhu with Nicholas Galanin, No Pigs in Paradise, 2015-2016. Photo: Kikuyama Yoshihiro

Migrating the Margins features commissioned artwork by Erika DeFreitas, Anique Jordan, Tau Lewis, Rajni Perera and Nep Sidhu as well as public art-works by Farrah-Marie Miranda, Sister Co-Resister and Otherness.

Rajni Perera, Vivek, 2015. Courtesy of the Artist

Rajni Perera, Vivek, 2015. Courtesy of the Artist

Migrating the Margins looks at how a new generation of Toronto artists is imagining this place, and picturing its future, by realizing the conditions of the future that exist now—due to the unique situation of Toronto’s demographics. This imagination is the altogether different and unexpected product of the multicultural dream: a cultural synthesis unique to Toronto—now the mixing of cultures and not just their (un)equal representation.

The exhibition is co-curated by Emelie Chhangur and Philip Monk and continues until Dec. 3.

Who needs a Performance Bus when you have a subway?

After 14 years, The AGYU is retiring The Performance Bus. Get on the last-ever Performance Bus with host Kiera Boult, departing from OCADU,100 McCaul Street in Toronto, on Friday, Sept. 15, at 6pm sharp and ride into the opening of Migrating the Margins. The free bus returns downtown at 9pm.

The suburbs strike back

Rajni Perera, Nana, 2016. Courtesy of the Artist.

Rajni Perera, Nana, 2016. Courtesy of the Artist.

First: A weekend of performative discourse in the suburbs.

On Sept. 16 and 17, the AGYU plays host to an Ambulatory Symposium of workshops, discussions, and performances. Anchored by Farrah-Marie Miranda’s “Speaking Fruit” and Sister Co-Resister’s “Walking Salon,” the weekend’s activities migrate between the gallery, the Black Creek Community Farm, and the Stong Farmhouse to activate the histories and geographies of the Keele Campus.

“Speaking Fruit” is a mobile, roadside fruit stand and design studio that feeds the movement for migrant farm-worker rights. On Sept. 16 at Black Creek Community Farm, “Speaking Fruit” brings migrant farm workers and Indigenous food producers together with artists and community organizers. By eating, drumming and dancing, participants consider what comes out of the soil and how; and by participating in growing practices, they will till the soil of the future.

On Sept. 17, in collaboration with Nettie Lambert, Shane Camastro (Titiesg Wîcinímintôwak), Janet Csontos and Lisa Myers, Sister Co-Resister’s Walking Salon works through concepts of belonging, proprietary understandings of land, and Canada’s immigrant paradigm and treaty partnership identity. Artists and academics Syrus Marcus Ware and Gloria Swain from the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) guide collective investigations by weaving together a series of interruptions that do not underestimate the divisive lines that suburban boundaries can create and that normalizing notions of belonging can maintain. Suburban Hospitality is co-presented with FES and programmed by Suzanne Carte, Emelie Chhangur, Lisa Myers and Honor Ford-Smith.

Then: A discourse about performing suburbia.

Tau Lewis, Self Portrait, 2016. Mixed media, 2016. (detail) Collection of Michelle Schultz.

Tau Lewis, Self Portrait, 2016. Mixed media, 2016. (detail) Collection of Michelle Schultz

As part of the City Institute’s Global Symposium “Beyond Suburbia,” AGYU convenes a panel that looks at the specifics of curating in suburbia. Taking place from 4:30-5:45pm on Oct. 20 at The Underground Restaurant on York University’s Keele campus, On the Edge of Curating: Toward new practices afield asks: How is “being on the edge” off-centred curating? What special circumstances does the suburban locale offer curating at the level of practice and how does this locale’s social and civic particularities challenge curating’s conventions or concerns? Curated and moderated by Emelie Chhangur (AGYU), the panel features Jordan Strom (Surrey Art Gallery, BC), York U Professor Janine Marchessault, Randell Adjei (RISE, Scarborough), Émilie Renard (La Galerie, centre d’art contemporain, Noisy-le-Sec), and respondents Christine Shaw (Blackwood Gallery) and Alissa Firth-Eagland (Humber Galleries).

Othering AGYU Vitrines

An AGYU commissioned, site-specific work by Otherness (Pamila Matharu + Marilyn Fernandes) borrows from the conventions of advertising and the rhetoric of multiculturalism to turn AGYU Vitrines into lightboxes that frame education as a primary tool of colonial story-telling. A montage of text, found images, and narrative taken from a discarded social science textbook The People We Are: Canada’s Multicultural Society (Gage, 1980), Taking a page… questions the Canadian immigrant paradigm by offering up a historiographical lesson on notions of belongingness.

Audio Out comes inside!

Audio Out, AGYU’s listening post, once located outside the gallery’s front doors, is now a listening bench – located in our newly re-designed lobby! Next year’s program is guest curated by Darren Copeland of NAISA. First up is The City (Sept. 15 – Oct. 22), a tour of Kolkota by Debashis Sinha, but a view from the cosmopolitan version of Toronto. Following (Oct. 23 – Dec. 3), is a radiophonic piece by Parisa Sabet titled “Visiting Grandpa.”

For more information on AGYU Out There: The Better Way, visit

For more York University news, photos and videos, visit the YFile homepage