Rebecca Belmore and Osvaldo Yero are the recipients of the 2019 Hart House Centennial Commission at the University of Toronto.
Hart House and the Art Museum at the University of Toronto welcomed the artistic team of Rebecca Belmore and Osvaldo Yero, winners of the 2019 Hart House Centennial Art Commission, for an intimate and enlightening discussion about this landmark commission. The public sculpture, entitled Waabidiziiyan doopwining (To see oneself at the table), was unveiled on November 12, 2019, at the Hart House 100th Anniversary Gala; the commission resides in the Great Hall and is a collaboration between Hart House and the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, of which Hart House is a founding member.
This permanent art installation disrupts the colonial past and seeks to acknowledge the history, narratives, and people who came before us; to honour the land upon which we live and work today; and to imagine other possible futures for generations to come, from an Indigenous perspective. The commission serves to commemorate Hart House’s 100th anniversary as a student-focused centre at the University of Toronto, where it plays a pivotal role as a diverse and inclusive gathering place.
About the Artists
A multi-disciplinary Anishnaabe artist
Rebecca Belmore is a multi-disciplinary Anishnaabe artist from Lac Seul First Nation and is currently living in Toronto. She is internationally recognized for her installations, sculpture, photo-based and performance works, which often concentrate on land politics, issues of identity, and systemic violence against Indigenous people. In 2018, Belmore presented her largest solo exhibition to-date, Facing the Monumental, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 2017, Belmore participated in the prestigious documenta 14 exhibition held concurrently in Kassel, Germany, and Athens, Greece, where she showcased her major sculptural work, Biinjiyaing Onji (From Inside). She received the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 2016 and was the first Anishnaabe artist to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Belmore was recognized for her achievements with an honorary doctorate in 2005 from the Ontario College of Art and Design University, and from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2018.
Osvaldo Yero immigrated to Canada in 1997 and currently lives in Toronto, where he works in sculpture and installation. Yero’s artistic practice is concerned with his experience as part of the growing diaspora of Cuba. Politically and socially charged, his work contends with issues of national identity and plays with the boundaries of kitsch and high art. His solo exhibitions include Passage at Access Gallery, Vancouver (2010); Loop at galeria 23 y 12, Havana, Cuba (2008); and Landmark at the Belkin Satellite, Vancouver (2002). Yero has been included in international group exhibitions, including Nuit Blanche in Toronto (2006) and Contemporary Art From Cuba: Irony and Survival on the Utopian Island at Arizona State University (2001). His work is in the permanent collections of Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff; and Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany