Toronto Biennial of Art

Toronto Biennial of Art to launch its first edition

The inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art will be open to the public from 21 September 2019. The list of participants includes 44 Canadian, Indigenous, and international artists and collectives. Curated by Candice Hopkins and Tairone Bastien, the 72-day event will include 20 new commissions and over 100 works installed across 10 sites on or near Toronto’s waterfront. A public programme Further participants will be announced in August, along with details regarding extensive public programs and creative partnerships.

The biennial takes its cues from Lake Ontario, which is part of the largest freshwater system on Earth, and the multi-layered history of Toronto’s ever-changing waterfront. The latter is a site of migration, colonization, and commerce that includes relics of heavy industry, dense condominium developments, active and decommissioned military sites, lost rivers, manufactured parks, and human-made spits.

Contingencies among people, nature, and economies inform the Biennial’s central question: “What does it mean to be in relation?” Relations, both human and non-human, can reaffirm communion and generate ecosystems, but also breed anxieties, glitches, anomie, and alienation. Artists have responded with works that explore the effects of connection and disjunction to project alternative futures: sculptures formed by the shape of soundwaves; multi-channel videos that bridge Indigenous and migrant storytellers; an ice core archive; installations that address our unsettled landscape; a massive diorama made from the city’s rubble; a public apology for Indigenous genocide. The works in the Biennial represent many voices, a reflection of Toronto’s status as the most diverse city in the world, where inhabitants speak over 170 languages and dialects.

An extensive series of free public programs will also take place during this inaugural edition. More than 70 local and international participants will lead talks, workshops, and performances that intersect with and expand ideas emerging from the 2019 Biennial’s central question: “What does it mean to be in relation?”
Led by Deputy Director and Director of Programs Ilana Shamoon, and conceived by Curator Clare Butcher and Associate Curator Myung-Sun Kim, the Biennial’s Programs team has developed five programming streams: Co-Relations, Currents, Storytelling, Tools for Learning, and the Toronto Biennial of Art Residency.

Participants include:
Maria Thereza Alves / Abbas Akhavan / AA Bronson / Adrian Blackwell / Hera Büyüktaşçıyan / Judy Chicago / Dana Claxton / Moyra Davey / Shezad Dawood / Naufus Ramírez Figueroa / Laurent Grasso / Embassy of Imagination + PA System / Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian / Luis Jacob / Jae Jarrell / Jumblies Theatre & Arts + Ange Loft / Kapwani Kiwanga / Jumana Manna / Qavavau Manumie / Caroline Monnet / New Mineral Collective (Emilija Škarnulytė and Tanya Busse) / The New Red Order: Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys / Fernando Palma Rodríguez / Napachie Pootoogook / Elder Duke Redbird / Lisa Reihana / ReMatriate Collective / Abel Rodríguez / Wilson Rodríguez / Arin Rungjang / Susan Schuppli / Lou Sheppard / Nick Sikkuark / Lisa Steele & Kim Tomczak / Adrian Stimson / Curtis Talwst Santiago / Althea Thauberger + Suzanne Kite / Caecilia Tripp / Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca / Hajra Waheed / Syrus Marcus Ware

1st Toronto Biennial of Art
21 September – 1 December 2019

Multiple venues


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