AGM Book Project | Programming

How has the Art Gallery of Mississauga developed since its creation in 1987, and how does it continue to grow? AGM intern Alexandra Hartstone has been hard at work at creating a book that documents the past 27 years, and looks forward to future of the institution. In this post, she takes a look at programming at the AGM, particularly Camille Turner’s (un)settler community journal project, which aims to document the hidden histories of the city, through the voices of its residents.

Programming
Alexandra Hartstone, Curatorial Intern | Special Projects – Georgian College

Artist in Residence Camille Turner shares the (un)settler journals with Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion

Artist in Residence Camille Turner shares the (un)settler journals with Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion

Programming and events at the AGM are not only actively setting in motion the Gallery’s mandate of bringing art to the community and the community to art, but also finding clever ways of doing so. Through new initiatives and focus, the philosophy for programming, based around: engage, think, inspire, is a means to support artists while connecting communities in interesting and thought-provoking ways. With the theme of 2014 as the role of the artist, the Art Gallery of Mississauga has brought forward contemporary and introspective exhibitions supported by programming that brings together artists and communities with platforms for activism, discussion and learning.

In 2013, the AGM launched its first-ever artist in residence programme with Camille Turner. The programme is intended to activate the Gallery’s mandate and support initiatives surrounding the role of the artist in a city layered with diversity and culture. (un)settler, Turner’s ongoing collaborative, community-based journal project is circulating through the pockets and corners of Mississauga as a means to explore the many stories and voices of the city and its residents. Since it began, the project continues to make contact with new hands and grow, gaining momentum as it stitches together the social fabric of Mississauga while crafting a portrait of the identity of the great and diverse people living here. Investigating themes of identity, belonging and home, Turner’s (un)settler focuses on socially-based art practices as a way to connect with and make art accessible in a meaningful and untraditional way. A beautiful sample of how interactions between communities and artist inform one another, the project represents a great collaborative feat supporting new relationships and dialogues in the process of socially-based art making.

Page from an (un)settler journal

Page from an (un)settler journal

Built upon education and engagement, the AGM programming takes a hands-on approach as a platform to facilitate the discovery and interaction of visual cultures, the role of the artist, and community building. The Gallery positions itself as a cultural centre that supports collaboration and growth through its programming initiatives, which continue to address themes vital to the landscape of Mississauga and its residents. Along with every exhibition at the Art Gallery of Mississauga comes thought-provoking programming developed to cross all boundaries and engage with all participants. Get involved and join the movement!

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Thank you to Alexandra Hartstone, for this glimpse into AGM history, both distant history and the more recent past. We hope you enjoyed this foray into the rich past of Canada’s smallest — but mightiest! — public art gallery.

Sahmat | Programming Narrative

A guest post by Fareena Chanda, Special Projects – Engagement

Performance tent, installation. Art Gallery of Mississauga. Photo by Jag Gundu.

Performance tent, installation. Art Gallery of Mississauga. Photo by Jag Gundu.

The AGM’s current exhibit, The Sahmat Collective: Art & Activism in India since 1989 is both eye-opening and, for those from South Asia, a familiar touchstone. The exhibition explores the intersection between freedom of expression and art as activism, and the commonalities between the struggle for social justice in India in the 1980’s and 1990’s and global current events are striking. The breadth and passion on display in the exhibition is truly inspirational, and I encourage everyone to take the time to visit the show and grapple with its message.

Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Liberty Lost (G20, Toronto), 2010. Condé + Beveridge will be at the AGM's art and activism panel discussion August 26.

Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Liberty Lost (G20, Toronto), 2010. Condé + Beveridge will be at the AGM’s art and activism panel discussion August 26.

In addition to Sahmat, the AGM and I have been working on several unique experiences for its guests this summer.  On August 26th, Thinking Globally, Acting Locally – a panel discussion will take a critical look at the role of the artist collective and the relationship between art and activism from both a global and local perspective. On September 13th, The Public, an activist design studio will host a hands-on poster making workshop where they will share techniques on how to critically assess the works in the show and teach participants techniques to create their own political art print.

Register here for the poster making workshop by August 26.

In a summer where so much has gone on in the world, come join the AGM in exploring how art plays a role in social justice and creating a globally aware citizenry.

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The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989 is organized by the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, and is on view at the AGM from July 24 – October 19, 2014. For more information on the exhibition and a full schedule of events, please visit artgalleryofmississauga.com.

Sahmat | Programming Partnerships

A guest post by Tina Chu, Engagement Officer

The AGM’s programming philosophy is informed by our mission and mandate. As guiding principles, our mandate to bring art to the community and the community to art, ensure our events operate on parallel tracks where they have a firm root in exhibitions while maintaining an awareness of the community.

Wheely Great Veggie Gardens, a joint project by  AGM and Ecosource, at C Cafe, Mississauga Celebration Square

Wheely Great Veggie Gardens, a joint project by AGM and Ecosource, at C Cafe, Mississauga Celebration Square

Examples in such Sahmat programming initiatives include our partnerships with Ecosource. Since July, the AGM has partnered with Ecosource to present two edible gardens at C Café. Just as the Sahmat Collective believes that art can propel change, artists and AGM staff are animating Ecosource’s two Wheely Great Veggie Gardens in the C Café to bring conversations of community gardens, local food and food security to a new context.

Not only do the Wheely Great Gardens provide fresh, local produce to the C Café, the AGM also connects with Mississauga Celebration Square festivals so Ecosource might deliver free Container Gardening Workshops for residents to learn about growing their own food. Inspired by Sahmat, Wheely Great demonstrates organizations working cross-secotirally and harmoniously to expand conversations on community gardens and bring issues of food security to a new conext.

TIMEANDDESIRE launch Dance Freely on Mississauga Celebration Square at Bollywood Monster Mashup 2014

TIMEANDDESIRE will launch Dance Freely on Mississauga Celebration Square at Bollywood Monster Mashup 2014

Finally, another example is our partnership with artist collective TIMEANDDESIRE and Bollywood Monster Mashup. With these distinct partners, the AGM is proud to co-present a Bollywood Monster Intervention. Here, TIMEANDDESIRE, much like Sahmat artists, will produce interventionist art work that interact with the public at street level and blends experiences of high art and street art for a unique , and open experience at Mississauga Celebration Square

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The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989 is organized by the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, and is on view at the AGM from July 24 – October 19, 2014. For more information on the exhibition and a full schedule of events, please visit artgalleryofmississauga.com.

AGM Book Project | Permanent Collection

How has the Art Gallery of Mississauga developed since its creation in 1987, and how does it continue to grow? AGM intern Alexandra Hartstone has been hard at work at creating a book that documents the past 27 years, and looks forward to future of the institution. In this post, she offers a glimpse into the AGM’s Permanent Collection.

Permanent Collection
Alexandra Hartstone, Curatorial Intern | Special Projects – Georgian College

Representing approximately 140 Canadian and international artists, the permanent collection at the Art Gallery of Mississauga boasts over 500 works with a unique focus on reflecting cultural diversity, and the inter-relationship between one’s own heritage and the ongoing definition of one’s culture from a contemporary perspective. The AGM collection offers audiences of all ages and interests a comprehensive hub to embrace, study, and contemplate contemporary projects and exhibitions.

Earlier this year, the Art Gallery of Mississauga completed a digitization project, processing its permanent collection with the intentions of facilitating an archival format online with the capacity to spread out and access a wider reach within Mississauga and beyond. In this post we investigate multimedia artist, Jeannie Thib and her linocut print series, Tabula.

Jeannie Thib, Tabula, 1993, 5 linocuts on mulberry paper, ink, 121 x 91 cm.

Jeannie Thib, Tabula, 1993, 5 linocuts on mulberry paper, ink, 121 x 91 cm.

A contemporary Canadian artist, Thib’s works explore a variety of media which are manipulated and constructed to investigate meanings of the body and the construction and fragmentation of maps, diagrams and instructions. Born in 1955 in North Bay, Ontario, Thib graduated from York University in 1979 with a BFA. Exhibited both on a national and international scale, the Art Gallery of Mississauga houses all five linocut prints in the Tabula series.

Five left-handed palms are printed on 121 x 91 cm panels of mulberry paper, branded with lines, contours, text, and shapes alluding to the nature of maps and reference guides. The series acts as “direct references to the body’s vulnerability in the natural environment”[i]. Treated as if landscapes, the palms transform into rich narratives, embedded with segments of line, drawing, and text each becoming precious objects which help to broaden the knowledge of the whole. Intricate in her process, these works have the power to draw in and envelop curious eyes into a labyrinth of line and visual fantasy.

[i] Reid, Stuart. “Dissection: Subtexts for Body Works”. Jeannie Thib: Body Works. Mississauga: Art Gallery of Mississauga, 1995. Print.

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Would you like to become involved in the future of the AGM’s Permanent Collection? The AGM has recently lifted its moratorium on collecting and is currently seeking volunteers from the community to participate in the process of selecting work to reanimate the Permanent Collection. Click here for more information, and download the application form here. Interviews will begin September 3. For enquiries, please contact Laura Carusi, Volunteer Coordinator and Curatorial Assistant, at laura.carusi@mississauga.ca.

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What else has Alexandra discovered in her research into the AGM archives? Stay tuned to this blog for a series of posts, every other Thursday, featuring images, stories and other exciting news from the rich past of Canada’s smallest — but mightiest! — public art gallery.

Sahmat | Art in Context

A guest post by Kendra Ainsworth, Assistant Curator

Photo by David Popplow

Photo by David Popplow

The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India Since 1989 is a novel exhibition for the AGM for a number of reasons. First, the AGM is the only Canadian stop for this noted touring show originated by the Smart Museum in Chicago, and second, it offers visitors the opportunity to engage with the idea that art is always part of a larger social context.

While the theme of art and activism in this show makes it very apparent, the notion that art is not created in a vacuum is not often in the forefront of public consciousness. When we think about art the immediate association is often with aesthetics or beauty, rather than the social, political or economic climate that gave rise to a particular form artistic expression. And yet most great art at the very least touches on just these kinds of important issues, and the work of the Sahmat collective is a great example of what can transpire when it does.

The context of Sahmat’s artistic work is illustrated in the exhibition by the breadth of materials –  not only is original art on view, but you also have the opportunity to see original articles and publications from the time of the collective’s inception alongside these early art projects. Video footage of their performances is complemented by interviews with artists and organizers. All of these aspects of the exhibition together provide an incredibly rich immersive experience for gallery visitors, one that is not only aesthetic but historical, philosophical and political.

We at the AGM hope that you come away from this exhibition with a respect for the power of art to reflect what is happening in our world, and if necessary, to make change.

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The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989 is organized by the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, and is on view at the Art Gallery of Mississauga from July 24 – October 19, 2014. For more information on the exhibition and a full schedule of events, please visit artgalleryofmississauga.com.

 

An Open Letter from Stuart Keeler, Director | Curator

IMG_0682The AGM is open and engaged to collaborate with the residents of Mississauga and beyond.

Currently, I want to hear from viewers, members and those with a history with the AGM, to learn how we can envision, plan and expand the Gallery.

This is the time.

If you are from Mississauga – and you did not know there was a Public Art Gallery in the Civic Centre (alas…a common tale!) we want to hear from you too!

The week of August 4 is chock full of talk, chatter and dialogue as the AGM launches its 3-5 year Strategic Plan with consultant Margaret Genovese with Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates.

If you have an idea, notion or grand scheme on how the AGM can move forward with the residents of Mississauga – please click here for the Strategic Plan Survey. Building upon past work of previous Board and staff, the AGM is poised to situate the next consultant study in January 2015 with the analysis of two possible locations in Mississauga for a new facility.

The AGM wants to hear from as many people as possible. To that end, a Member Survey has been circulated to our donors, and Community and In-Gallery Surveys have been activated this summer. The survey period will end in September to be followed by a series of roundtable conversations on the AGM.

My message is constant and consistent: The AGM believes that the role of the artist is a compelling link to youth, seniors and families, with innovative exhibition and education projects in the communities of our city. A flourishing artist community needs resources to grow and stay vital; therefore, the AGM is committed to foster new compelling programmes and exhibitions to capture and inspire thinking and civic dialogue.

We want to hear from you! Please contact the Gallery at agm.connect@mississauga.ca or 905 896 5088.

Click here for the Strategic Plan Survey

Stuart Keeler
Director | Curator
Art Gallery of Mississauga

AGM Book Project | Exhibitions

How has the Art Gallery of Mississauga developed since its creation in 1987, and how does it continue to grow? AGM intern Alexandra Hartstone has been hard at work at creating a book that documents the past 27 years, and looks forward to future of the institution. In this post, she gives us an update on the book project, focusing on the AGM’s exhibition history, highlighting an exhibition from the past.

Exhibitions
Alexandra Hartstone, Curatorial Intern | Special Projects – Georgian College

As the Book Project gains momentum, discovering what lays behind the doors and corners of the Gallery have become an adventure in connecting the pieces of its history together.

Bringing art to the community and the community to art has been the AGM’s mandate and words of special focus to the Gallery since its inception in 1987. Providing a window to the art world, the AGM centres its focus on streams of engagement that opens multiple platforms of accessibility and discourse to the community.  Connecting with the social fabric of Mississauga by encouraging reflection, thought, and response; artists and exhibitions at the AGM are continually finding new ways of drawing contemporary ideas to the social identity of the city and its residents.

Combing through the archives, the list of exhibitions is grand and has challenged visitors to engage with and stay open about contemporary ideas. As the Gallery looks forward and continues to push boundaries in forging new and contemporary programming, it is important to take a moment to revel in its vibrant past through highlighting former exhibitions. In this post, we take a look at the exhibition Hawk 33, from 1999, curated by Stuart Reid.

FastWurmsFullImage

Formed in 1979, FASTWÜRMS is the trademark and collective of Canadian artists, Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse.  Working as multidisciplinary artists, FASTWÜRMS experiment and connect high and popular cultures, politics, and social exchange through public collaborations and a DIY responsiveness.  The exhibition Hawk 33 challenged Mississauga to think critically in engaging with the site-specific installation of 36 hand painted banners representing an array of falcons, hawks, and raptors commonly seen flying across the skies of Ontario. Creating a sort of classification system of variations within a species, the silhouettes are filled with letters lending to clues to the common name of each bird. Bordering the banners are two flags loosely representing the Canadian and American flags. Replacing the maple leaf and stars are pentagrams, and the original bands of red and blue are substituted for green offering a ”juxtaposition of nature and nationalism as it points out the irony in the human impulse to state domain over an anarchic natural world which does not recognize borders between cities, provinces, or countries”. [i]

Particularly interesting as the AGM moves forward, FASTWÜRMS work on platforms which include public collaboration and engagement. Their interests in culture and social politics connect with the movement at the Gallery, setting the stage for artist initiatives and activism through critical exhibitions and programmes.

Look out as the Art Gallery of Mississauga continues to gain momentum as a cultural producer and facilitator within the city and beyond!

[i] Stuart Reid. FASTWURMS: Hawk 33. Mississauga: Stuart Reid, 1999. Print.

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What else has Alexandra discovered in her research into the AGM archives? Stay tuned to this blog for a series of posts, every other Thursday, featuring images, stories and other exciting news from the rich past of Canada’s smallest — but mightiest! — public art gallery.