AGYU presents Looking at the Overlooked

The Art Gallery of York University and York’s Destination Arts program are pleased to present Looking at the Overlooked, an exhibition of new work by students from C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute and Monsignor Percy Johnson Catholic High School. On view at the Samuel J. Zacks Art Gallery at York University from Jan. 14 to 26, the exhibition will feature documentary photographs, mixed media and video produced by students during the fall of 2006.

Prior to commencing the project, students were invited to take part in guided tours of Jeremy Deller’s exhibition at the Art Gallery of York University. Drawing inspiration from Deller’s commitment to the documentation and celebration of unrecorded or overlooked histories, the youth were encouraged to research and represent their own communities’ hidden stories.

Asserting their creative agency as historians and cultural producers, students brought to light marginalized histories that are rarely, if ever, captured in history books. Addressing the absences and exclusions underlying historic literature, the students used photography and text to produce a series of alternative "monuments" to commemorate those events, people and places that have shaped and impacted their lives and communities. Subjects include: the experiences of one father in the Canadian military during his numerous peacekeeping deployments; the positive impact of a church-run after-school program; the environmental devastation to the Humber River watershed; gang grafitti; and teenage suicide. A field trip to the Rexdale community also provided Monsignor Johnson students with the opportunity to interview and document the contributions of social service providers at the Rexdale Community Health Centre, Albion Neighbourhood Services and Rexdale Youth Resource Centre.

This exhibition is the result of educational partnerships with two high schools in the Jane and Finch community and reflects the AGYU and Destination Arts’ joint mandate of developing unique pedagogical approaches founded upon the principles of contemporary art. By providing critical cultural and educational resources and support, the AGYU and Destination Arts are committed to developing initiatives that stimulate and recognize the creative vision and artistic promise of youth.

This project is supported by the Art Gallery of York University, Destination Arts (a joint initiative of Faculties of Education and Fine Arts), the Canadian Art Foundation, and York’s Samuel J. Zacks Gallery.

The Samuel J. Zacks Gallery is located in Room 109, Stong College, on the Keele campus. Gallery hours are Monday, 10:30am – 7:30pm; Tuesday to Friday, 11:30am to 4pm. Admission is free.

For more information on the exhibition, contact Allyson Adley, collections assistant/education coordinator, AGYU, at ext. 55169, or e-mail