1st Toronto Biennial of Art
September 21–December 1, 2019
The 1st Toronto Biennial of Art announces the participation of 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. 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.
Programs recurring throughout the Biennial include The Drowned World, a film series presented by guest curator Charles Stankievech at the Ontario Place Cinesphere, and two dynamic structures by Adrian Blackwell that act as gathering places for performance and other programming at two Biennial sites.
Confirmed Biennial participants
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
About the Toronto Biennial of Art
Launching in fall 2019, the Toronto Biennial of Art is a new international contemporary visual arts event as culturally connected and diverse as the city itself. Every two years, Toronto and surrounding areas will be transformed by free exhibitions, talks, and performances that reflect our local context while engaging with the most pressing issues of our time.
The Toronto Biennial of Art Team
Executive Director: Patrizia Libralato
Exhibitions: Susannah Rosenstock, Deputy Director & Director of Exhibitions; Candice Hopkins, Senior Curator; Tairone Bastien, Curator; Katie Lawson, Assistant Curator; Kelly Tsipni-Kolaza, Manager; Ben Renzella, Production
Programs: Ilana Shamoon, Deputy Director & Director of Programs; Clare Butcher, Curator; Myung-Sun Kim, Associate Curator; Chiedza Pasipanodya, Curatorial Assistant; Keiko Hart, Programming Coordinator
Editorial & Creative Content: Nicola Spunt, Director; Gill Harris, Manager
Marketing & Communications: Sue Holland, Director; Megan Irwin, Coordinator
Development: Sabrina Maher, Manager; Jill Thorp-Shepherd, Coordinator
Finance: Mark Hirowatari, Manager; Alessandra Montefiore, Office and Finance Coordinator