View of Transformations, a site-specific commission by artists Oriah Scott, EronOne, HONE, HUNGR, AJ Little, Emily May Rose and guest graffiti artists from across the Montreal-Toronto corridor. Photo: Garrett Elliott
The Galeries Ontario/Ontario Galleries (GOG) Awards celebrate the excellence and proud professional accomplishments of Ontario’s public art galleries. The shortlist is peer-reviewed by jurors and selected from nominations from member galleries. This year’s award ceremony takes place on 2 December at 6:30 pm at Toronto Metropolitan University.
Agnes has been shortlisted for the following seven art sector awards:
Exhibition of the Year Budget under $20,000 Thematic Award for Land Protectors
Land Protectors honours the countless Indigenous peoples who have dedicated themselves to raising awareness about the importance of the land. The exhibition features works by Carl Beam, Rebecca Belmore, Joseph T. David, Robert Houle, Alex Janvier, Roy Kakegamic, David Neel, and Jane Ash Poitras from Agnes’s collection and from the Indigenous Art Collection, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, alongside Alanis Obomsawin’s film Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, a National Film Board production. Land Protectors is curated by Paige van Tassel, Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) and ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ(Cree) from Northern Ontario, PhD student in Art History, graduate of the Master of Art Conservation Program at Queen’s, and recipient of the second Research Studentship in Indigenous Art at Agnes.
Exhibition of the Year Budget under $20,000 Monographic Award for Where Were You in ‘92?
Through experimentation with sound, image, found texts and acts of counter-archiving of personal and political experiences, Where Were You in ‘92? brings forth the embodied archives of the ground-breaking legacy of Fresh Arts, a Black artist-led education program that was born out of the fury of impassioned youth. In this exhibition, Pamila Matharu, one of the mentees of Fresh Arts, returns not only to this pivotal moment but also to her mentor, Winsom Winsom, who’s more-than-decade-long activist history in Kingston ON is under-recognized. Co-curated by Emelie Chhangur, Charlotte Gagnier and Nasrin Himada.
Exhibition of the Year Budget under $10,000 Award for The Dark Room
Operating at the intersection of shame, solitude and sex with time periods touching each other, The Dark Room is a unique exhibition experiment made with curators Suzanne van de Meerendonk and Emelie Chhangur and artist Chris Curreri.
Portrayed in simple dwellings and cave-like crevices, inhabiting trees and pondering waters, its main protagonists are hermits based on designs by Flemish artist Maerten de Vos (1532–1603) originally published as part of six consecutive print series by the brothers Jan I (1550–1600) and Raphael Sadeler (1561–1632). Representing early Christian saints whose renunciation of bodily comfort served as examples for spiritual emulation, these intricate engravings were created to invite learned male urbanites to imagine themselves ensconced with—or as—their saintly role models. Acknowledging the powerful potential of both mental refuge and erotic fantasy inherent to viewing them, the prints find company in the work of Chris Curreri, whose solitary Ventriloquist similarly needs inhabitation for animation, while the lingering presences in As Is and Proud Flesh echo the thin boundary between pain, pleasure and (religious) transcendence also modeled by the hermit saints.
Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition Award for Collections Count + Care
With Collection Count + Care, we bring stewardship forward from back of house and mark a moment in Agnes’s transformation. As we pack, we take stock, and consider what it means to care for and be accountable to a public collection. Panjabi kinship words in Sarindar Dhaliwal’s Family Tree respond to Joyce Wieland’s singsong O Canada quilt. A “passport” mask from the Dan in Liberia, West Africa, and a Victorian miniature go on a journey and forge new bonds in a hat box. Nubuo Kubota’s dialogic Roctoc and Tocroc and Isah Papialuk’s sculpture engage with a grandfather metamorphic rock. Kim Ondaatje’s Lake Ontario Cement and Eleanor Bond dream in air brought from the outdoors. Professional psychics undertake empathetic readings of historical portraits by unknown artists. Each installation asks “What stories does the collection tell?” Curated by Alicia Boutilier (lead curator), Emelie Chhangur, Sebastian De Line, Sunny Kerr, Qanita Lilla, Elyse Longair, Carleigh Milburn, Kirsty Robertson, Suzanne van de Meerendonk.
First Exhibition in a Public Art Gallery Award for Transformations
Transformations is a site-specific commission on the exterior façades of Agnes’s current facility by Oriah Scott, EronOne, HONE, HUNGR, AJ Little and Emily May Rose, six artists from the Montreal-Toronto corridor.
Transformations is a reciprocal relationship-building project that celebrates the long vernacular tradition of street art in Kingston, ON, elevates the alternative art histories embedded in our city streets and provides a framework for experiential learning and co-curriculum development conceived in collaboration with faculty and students from Queen’s Art Conservation Program. Curator Oriah Scott says, “Style writing and graffiti are not about art. For many, it’s about having a voice. A voice that, once bright, erodes, decays and disappears. It’s erased by weather, time and status quo. It is about staking monuments in a place that often casts you out.”
OPEN SECRET: Screening, Conversation + Workshop with Sharlene Bamboat. Photo: Garrett Elliott
“Poetic Distillation: Acrostic Poems as Archival & Social Interventions into Transhistorical Black &Indigenous Presences in Kingston (19th to the 21st Century)”.
Education Program Award for Open Secret: Screening, Conversation & Workshops
Open Secret was a public program that ran from January 2023 to April 2023, composed of screenings, workshops and conversations featuring the works of: Parastoo Anoushahpour, Kriss Li, Sharlene Bamboat, and Sofía Gallisá Muriente. Committed to thinking through the terrain of coerced migration, dispossession and displacement through the liberatory modes of cinema which inspire us to think differently about borders and access. The title is inspired by a Fred Moten quote, “poetry investigates new ways for people to get together and do stuff in the open, in secret.” Cinema’s capacity to condition spaces for gathering, and the double manoeuvre of opacity and transparency inherent in its making sets the precedent for this sort of investigation. This program presents a way to renegotiate what forms around the binaries of outside and inside, of what we know and what we don’t need to know, of expanse and enclosure. It specifically focuses on work by artists who make films the process of which is rooted in queer and diasporic lived experience. Unlike the documentary film form, artists’ films have a different trajectory, history, and legacy. Open Secret is not a film festival or a course, like ones taken in Film and Media or Screen Cultures. These works don’t get a chance to be shown elsewhere in Kingston. Agnes is filling this gap and providing an opportunity for faculty and students to access this sharing of knowledge, process and experience in a public and intimate forum, with the artists in attendance. Curated by Nasrin Himada.
Art Writing Award for Sebastian De Line, Qanita Lilla, & Emelie Chhangur (Writers), Mark Birksted (Graphic Design), “Poetic Distillation: Acrostic Poems as Archival & Social Interventions into Transhistorical Black &Indigenous Presences in Kingston (19th to the 21st Century)”.
Collectively, Emelie Chhangur, Qanita Lilla, and Sebastian De Line researched into 19th-century Black and Indigenous histories depicted in newspaper articles, ads, and acrostic poems in the British Whig (now called Kingston Whig-Standard) newspaper. Based on this research, a series of eight acrostic poems, entitled, “People’s Saloon,” designed by Mark Birksted, were published weekly throughout the months of February and March 2023 in the Kingston Whig-Standard.
In conjunction with British-Nigerian artist, Zina Saro-Wiwa’s Illicit Gin Institute, Assembly #6, the People’s Saloon poems (an ode to the first Black-Canadian saloon in Kingston owned by James & Maria Elder) further served as alternative didactic material for the artist’s own social assembly, grounded in local contexts in Kingston and Wolfe Island.
See the full listing. For a full announcement and more information, please visit GOG’s website.