AGYU programs shortlisted for prestigious awards

Exhibition view: Meleko Mokgosi: Imaging Imaginations, 2023. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Two programs offered by the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) have been shortlisted for the 46th Annual Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries (GOG) Awards.

The GOG Awards, which will be announced during a Dec. 2 ceremony, is the only annual juried awards program of its kind, recognizing the “outstanding achievement, artistic merit and excellence of arts institutions and professionals in the public art gallery sector.”

“For more than two decades, the GOG Awards have given the visual arts sector in Ontario a place to acknowledge the value of its role in building and supporting artists and shaping the cultural fabric of daily life by celebrating the pivotal work of public art galleries,” says Jenifer Parpararo, AGYU director/curator. “Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries estimates that 99 per cent of Canadians engage with arts, culture and heritage in some way every year. It is paramount that we come together to celebrate and honour our burgeoning cultural sector and to recognize the hard-working people who break down barriers and reach new horizons with their impactful projects.”

The programs nominated for an award were led by AGYU Curator Felicia Mings and AGYU Education and Community Engagement Coordinator Allyson Adley.

The nominated exhibits and programs are:

Meleko Mokgosi: Imaging Imaginations, which was on view from Jan. 20 to June 10. Curated by Mings, this exhibition is shortlisted for two GOG Awards: Exhibitions of the Year Budget over $50,000 and Exhibition Design & Installation.

Meleko Mokgosi: Imaging Imaginations
Exhibition view: Meleko Mokgosi: Imaging Imaginations, 2023. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

For Imaging Imaginations, Mokgosi’s first solo exhibition in Canada, the artist debuted new works from his series Spaces of Subjection, 2022. Within this growing body of work, Mokgosi examined the complexities of subjecthood and the politics of identity and identification.

“AGYU would like to thank Meleko, Jack Shainman Gallery and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center for helping us realize this exhibition. We want to acknowledge the dedication and support of the entire AGYU team, and especially Clara Halpern, assistant curator, during the run of the show,” said Papararo. “Thank you also to our team of installers – Carmen Schroeder, Uros Jelic, Gray Richards, Nadine Maher, Christian Echeverri, Dave Ronchka and Matthew Koudys – who helped us bring the curatorial vision to life and kept the works safe. And with special thanks to the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation for their financial support of this exhibition.”

The 2022 edition of Art on my Mind, a series of free songwriting, vocal and performance workshops, is nominated for the Education Award. Presented in partnership with the Black Creek Community Farm, this program was geared towards youth in the Jane-Finch community. It included live performance workshops facilitated by hip-hop powerhouse Dynesti, and songwriting and vocal production workshops with rising R&B and soul singer Kibra.

A workshop session during Art on my Mind.
Art on My Mind workshop with mentors and participants, 2022. Photo: Allyson Adley.
Performance during Art on my Mind
A performance during Art on my Mind showcase, 2022. Photo: Allyson Adley.

Participants were able to enhance performance by developing dynamic stage presence, writing meaningful lyrics and honing their vocal production skills. In addition to receiving personalized performance coaching from experienced artists, selected participants also had a paid opportunity to perform at the AGYU’s end-of-program showcase celebrating the Black Creek Community Farm’s 10-year anniversary on July 23, 2022. This free event featured performances by the program facilitators, Kibra and Dynesti, along with performances by R&B, reggae, dancehall and hip-hop artists Terence Penny, Nicole Chambers, Zenesoul, Mez Mariye and Teepolo.

Art on my Mind also included mural painting workshops with acclaimed visual artists Curtia Wright and Ray Vidal, which culminated in the painting of a shipping container that was transformed into a Black Creek Community Farm landmark.

“We want to acknowledge the support of the AGYU team and 2022 Young Canada Works Communications Assistant Shadio Hussein,” said Papararo. “Art on My Mind would not have been possible without the expertise and dedication of our workshop facilitators and participants, as well as our wonderful partners at Black Creek Community Farm.”

Art on My Mind was funded by the Toronto Art Council through the Animating Toronto Parks program and supported by the Toronto Art Foundation’s Arts in the Parks program.

The AGYU was also noted as a partner in a nomination for the Tim Whiten – Elemental: Earthen exhibition at the Art Gallery of Peterborough for the First Exhibition in a Public Art Gallery award. Whiten is a professor emeritus at York University with a prolific career in the arts.

The GOG Awards ceremony takes place Dec. 2 in the Sears Atrium at Toronto Metropolitan University. To purchase tickets to attend, visit the event page.