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Must-Sees This Week: May 4 to 10, 2017

Lots of great art exhibitions and events are taking place across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events, and a few reminders about shows that are closing. Visit our Exhibition Finder for even more worthwhile shows that are already open.


dc3 art projects opens “Industry,” a group exhibition examining societal conceptions of beauty, aesthetics, cosmetics and women’s bodies, on May 5 from 5 to 9 p.m. The show features works by artists from across North America and Europe, including Marilyn MinterCindy Baker, Zoë Buckman, Juno Calypso, Dana Dal Bo, Cara Phillips, Ilona Szwarc, Janet Werner and Genevieve Gaignard.

Ajla R. Steinvåg and Paul Segers will conduct a burial of a portion of their installation Future Artefacts, marking the closing performance for “Survival Guide,” the ongoing exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta, on May 7 from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. Ottawa-based painter Gavin Lynch, a past finalist for the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, opens “land of the midnight sun,” an exhibition of painting based on a trip to the Yukon Territory, at Peter Robertson Gallery on May 4 at 7 p.m.


Contact Photography Festival activities are still going strong this week. For instance, some say that Heinrich Zille was the world’s first street photographer. Decide for yourself at a talk and opening reception at the Goethe-Institut on May 5 at 6 p.m. Elsewhere, Meera Margaret Singh’s photos of street life in a Brazilian town, “Jardim,” will open with a reception at Zalucky Contemporary on May 6 at 4 p.m.

Gallery 44 opens “What does one do with such a clairvoyant image?,” featuring works by Kapwani Kiwanga, Stephanie Comilang, Dana Claxton, Tania Willard, Martine Syms and Dylan Miner with a reception on May 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. Gallery TPW hosts a launch for Luis Jacob’s “Habitat” on May 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. And Georgia Scherman Projects opens “it’s all a blur,” featuring Sandra Brewster’s gestural portraits that draw from Dionne Brand’s writings on black Caribbean migration, memory and time, with a reception on May 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. Call Again collective presents photos by Los Angeles-based Chinese photographer Ke Peng on May 6 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Gallery 50.

Mayworks Festival of Working People also has events this week: Sur Gallery’s “Strike a Chord” reflects on precarity, fear and survival will have an opening, artist talk, and performances by Claudia Bernal and Coco Guzmán on May 4 from 7 to 10 p.m.

Franz Kaka hosts the opening for Krista Belle Stewart’s “Eye Eye,” a photo exhibition exploring intimacy and chance through archives and testimonies, on May 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. Philadelphia photographer Andre Bradley discusses how his work is influenced by the experience of growing up as a black man with mental illness at a Ryerson University talk May 10 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Katzman Contemporary presents “Cast Off,” an sculpture- and installation-based exhibition by Zeke Moores with a reception on May 6 from 2 to 5 p.m.


The Art Gallery of Mississauga will have the opening reception for its three exhibitions on May 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. The lineup of shows includes “The Family Camera: Missing Chapters,” co-presented by the ROM; Toronto-based artist Vivek Shraya’s “Trisha,” a photo essay on display, incorporating self-photography with themes of intergenerational resemblance, longing, and replication (you can read more about Shraya’s process here); and Annie MacDonell’s “The Levellers,” an exhibition exploring acts of political refusal and intervention.


In collaboration with Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival and Arts Health Network Ottawa, Gallery 101 will host a free community screening of AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock, directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox, followed by a talking circle, on May 4 from 7 to 9 p.m.

This week is also a great time to check out the newly reinstalled contemporary galleries at the National Gallery of Canada. The new install features a mix of works from the Canadian and Indigenous art collections, including work by Brian Jungen, Joyce Weiland, Shary Boyle and others.


Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art presents “Traces,” a program interrogating the colonial roots of displacement in urban contexts, with performances by Dion Kaszas and Jaime Black on May 4 from 4 p.m. onwards, and a series of artist talks and performance by Tanya Lukin Linklater on May 5 at 7 p.m.


As part of “Utopia Factory,” a research project and exhibition related to architecture, Contemporary Calgary hosts an opening reception and curator’s tour of “Architecture and National Identity: The Centennial Projects 50 Year On,” the third component of the project. It consists of a group exhibition featuring visuals of iconic works created in Canada between 1964 and 1970, and opens on May 4 at 7 p.m. A related artist talk and panel discussion focusing on built environment and nationhood, featuring Nils Norman, Marco Polo, and Amery Calvelli, will be held on May 6 from 1 to 3 p.m.


Can’t make it to the Venice Biennale to see Hajra Waheed‘s work there this summer? Then make sure to catch the final days of her Video Installation Project 1–10 at the Musée d’art contemporain. Wrapping May 7, these videos are inspired by news stories, in-depth research and Waheed’s own journey, taking a critical look at issues related to the workings of power, mass surveillance and the traumas that stem from mass migration. The visual language she has developed reflects her early years in Saudi Arabia, where she experienced uprootedness, censorship, travel restrictions and the first Gulf War.

Artist Boris Dumesnil-Poulin will activate and participate in No Man Is An Island, his audiovisual installation at “Ignition,” an ongoing group exhibition at Concordia University’s Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, from Wednesday to Friday starting at 1 p.m., until May 12.

At the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, it’s the last week to view “Abel Abdessemed: Conflict,” comprised of 31 black chalk drawings of life-sized military figures with their guns drawn. Also at the musée, the “Chagall: Colour and Music” exhibition continues apace, with weekly tours in English, French, Hebrew and Russian. Check the website for more details.

And also in closings: two shows end at Parisian Laundry on May 6. “Atmospheres of Form” includes work by Erin Shirreff, Celia Perrin Sidarous, Kelly Jazvac, Lucy Skaer and Rose Marcus, while “A Storm” is a solo show for Margaux Williamson.


“In the Hole,” a short-term community-based artist residency situated in a dug-up earthen hole in Treaty 6 of rural Saskatoon, invites participants to shoot on video with artist and organizer Linda Duvall from noon to 6 p.m. on May 5 at PAVED Arts. Duvall’s “Gopher Pillows and Other Residue,” a concurrent exhibition at PAVED, will also open on May 5 with a reception at 7 p.m.


“VibraFusionLab: Bridging Practices in Accessibility, Art and Communication,” an exhibition originating from London-based VibraFusionLab, a collective dedicated to adaptive technology and design, will open with new works by artists-in-residence Marla Hlady, Gordon Monahan, Lindsay Fisher, Alison O’Daniel, Ellen Moffat, Lynx Sainte-Marie and David Bobier, on May 5 at the Thames Art Gallery.

North Bay

Art Fix, a collective of emerging artists with lived experiences of substance abuse and mental health illness, host an event at White Water Gallery that includes talks by artists Dennis Chippa, Richard Fortin, Amanada Weckwerth, food and more on May 4 at 7:30 p.m.—proceeds go towards the collective, so entry is based on a PWYC donation.

Vancouver and Area

Western Front presents a free screening of Vincent Chevalier’s À Vancouver, an experimental video essay themed on personal, familial and sexual histories, followed by an artist talk on May 6 at 7 p.m. As part of Birthe Piontek’s new photo exhibition “Miss Solitude,” Vancouver-based curator Grant Arnold will be in conversation with the photographer about her most recent collection of works at Access Gallery on May 4 at 7 p.m. SFU Gallery’s collection-focused lunchtime talks continues with employee Ivana Filipovich discussing Robert Rauschenberg’s 1967 work Booster Study on May 10 at 12:30 p.m.

Hong Kong artist Tsang Kin-Wah critically addresses some of the complexities surrounding migration, cultural identity and racism in two site-specific works debuting May 4. The first, on the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Howe Street façade, is composed of Vancouver newspaper editorial columns from the 1980s. The second, at the VAG’s Offsite space, continues to use adverse rhetoric but contrasts it with voices of inclusion to compose floral patterns that unravel to form the body of a dragon. Careful readers of the work will see that the text appropriated by the artist includes discriminatory language that appeared in newspapers and political campaigns in Vancouver during the 1887 anti-Chinese riots, the mid-1980s immigration from Hong Kong and most recently, heated exchanges around the foreign buyers and the local housing market.

The Contemporary Art Gallery hosts two tours of their current exhibition, “Song for the Open Road”: a French option on May 7 at 3 p.m. and a tour with assistant curator Jas Lally on May 11 at 6 p.m. And it’s the last chance to catch exhibitions at Equinox Gallery: shows by Marten Elder, Fred Herzog and Gordon Smith all wrap up on May 6.


On M4 at 8 p.m., the Dalhousie Art Gallery opens “The Long Time: 21st Century Art of Steele + Tomczak.” Curated by Paul Wong and circulated by On Main, the show pays tribute to the influential Toronto-based art duo Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak. Performance, video, and photo/text work, investigating the subjectivity and experience of the self, and grounded in social, political engagement and critique, is all on offer. Meditations on aging and the time-based nature of video is also on deck.


“Walks of Survivance,” featuring art by Lisa Myers and Farrah Miranda, and curated by Srimoyee Mitra, opens May 5 at 7 p.m. at Artcite as part of Mayworks. Also of note: several exhibitions close at the Art Gallery of Windsor on May 6, including “Suzy Lake: Performing an Archive,” “Position as Desired: Exploring African Canadian Identity/Photographs,” and “Local Matters.”

Our weekly must-sees, published each Thursday, are chosen from opening and event announcements sent to at least two days prior to publication. For listings of art openings, exhibitions and events, visit

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