Join us at the Art Museum to celebrate the opening of our two winter exhibitions: THE COUNTER/SELF at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery in Hart House and Conceptions of White at the University of Toronto Art Centre in University College.
Navigating the complexities of selfhood, agency, and representation, THE COUNTER/SELF brings together a group of Indigenous and diasporic Canadian artists who create and embody imaginative alter-egos to examine, perform, and subvert identity constructs and politics. Through the use of make-up and elaborate costumes, the artists transform their own appearance and stage layered photographic, video, mixed media, and sculptural scenes that destabilize viewers’ presumed realities and points of reference to expose prejudices with regards to gender, race, ethnicity, and nationhood. Informed by personal and cultural histories entwined within the artists’ life experiences, their counter/selves advance divergent perspectives that upend deceitful national legacies and social expectations. Curated by Mona Filip.
Conceptions of White
Conceptions of White examines the myths and meanings behind the idea of a “White race”—a relatively recent invention that helped shape the modern world. Curated by John G. Hampton and Lillian O’Brien Davis, the exhibition examines the origins, travel, and present reality of “Whiteness” as a concept and a racial invention that classifies degrees of civility/humanity. The exhibition features reproductions of important historical objects alongside contemporary artworks that illustrate White origin myths, revealing Whiteness as a North American, settler-colonial invention of the seventeenth century created alongside “Blackness” and “Aboriginality.” Twelve contemporary artists from across North America complicate this historical foundation by offering nuanced perspectives on concepts such as White guilt, supremacy, benevolence, fragility, and power. Organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery in partnership with the Art Museum, the diverse narratives, images, and ideas presented in Conceptions of White aim to highlight the complexity of our historical foundation, while drawing on links between the aesthetic, social, and philosophical meanings ascribed to the colour white.