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Must-Sees This Week: October 19 to 25, 2017

The Canadian Biennial opens at the National Gallery of Canada today. This year, for the first time, it includes works by international artists

Lots of great art exhibitions and events are taking place across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events. Visit our Exhibition Finder for more listings of worthwhile shows that are already open.


The fourth edition of the Canadian Biennial gets underway at the National Gallery of Canada on October 19. In addition to showing, as usual, recent acquisitions of Canadian and Indigenous contemporary art, the biennial is also, for the first time, featuring several international artworks. Artists include Barry Ace, Tracy Emin, Nick Cave, Stan Douglas and Jessica Eaton, among many others.

Elsewhere, at the Sussex Contemporary, new works by Dominique Fung open October 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. Works by two local artists, Emma Carney and Manon Labrosse, will also be on view.


The new Remai Modern opens on October 21 with the exhibitions “Field Guide,” “Determined by the river,” a collaborative installation and discursive event by Tanya Lukin Linklater and Duane Linklater, and “Faces of Picasso: the collection” selected by Ryan Gander.


The first iteration of RESPONSIVE: International Light Art Project Halifax takes place through October 21 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Co-presented by Anna Leonowens Gallery, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Dalhousie Art Gallery, this special multi-site exhibition showcases the medium of light through interactive, responsive, and performative artworks.

Elsewhere, a Photopolis exhibition by Gül Ilgaz, Kim Morgan and Abdi Osman opens at the Anna Leonowens Gallery on October 23 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.


The world’s largest Indigenous film and media arts festival, imagineNATIVE, holds its annual Arts Crawl on October 20. There are eight exhibitions at seven different galleries including: “For This Land: Inside Elemental” and “raise a flag: Works from the Indigenous Art Collection,” both at Onsite Gallery, “Mourning and Mayhem: The Work of Adrian Stimson” at A Space Gallery, “Channel 51: Igloolik” at Trinity Square Video, “Terr(i)tAurial Imprints” at Prefix Gallery, “Raven Chacon: Report” at YYZ Artists’ Outlet, “Skawennati: for the ages,” a survey of new media works by Skawennati, winner of imagineNATIVE’s 2009 Best New Media Award, at the Commons in 401 Richmond Street West, “Transmissions” a behind-the-scenes preview of filmmaker Lisa Jackson’s first art exhibition, as well as watching the filming of Unearthed, a live performance that will be a centrepiece of the installation, starring Jeneen Frei Njootli and live-scored by Raven Chacon and Laura Ortman at Wallace Studios. Watch for the performance and artist talk there at 9:30 p.m.

The Art Museum at the University of Toronto hosts an exhibition for the 2017 Sobey Art Award finalists opening with a panel on October 24 from 4:30-5:45 p.m., followed by a peception at 6 p.m. Also at the University of Toronto, Ken Lum gives a lecture on October 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry” begins October 21 at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Social Justice Week at Ryerson University sees several important events, including the installation of Walking With Our Sisters at the TDSB’s Aboriginal Education Centre starting on October 23; a talk by Christi Belcourt October 23 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Ryerson University; and M. Nourbese Philip‘s talk “Black Be/longing: At the crossroads of art, culture and human rights” on October 25 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Steven Heinemann: Culture and Nature” is major retrospective of work by internationally acclaimed Canadian ceramist; it opens at the Gardiner Museum on October 19. At Susan Hobbs Gallery, “Sandra Meigs: The Glass Ticker” opens in October 19. At Birch Contemporary, Micah Lexier’s “Here, Not Here” opens October 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. At Stephen Bulger Gallery, “The Tree Planters” is a solo exhibition of work by Rita Leistner; reception is October 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. MKG127 presents “Soft Drusen,” an exhibition of new work by Liza Eurich, opening October 21 from 2 to 5 p.m. Brian Boigon‘s “The Interopera” opens at Christie Contemporary on October 20 from 6 to 8 p.m.

At Open Studio, Sameer Farooq’s “Behind the Eyes” and Lee Henderson’s “A Hand That Points Aligns the Air” open on October 20, with artist talks at 6 p.m. and a reception at 7 p.m.

At the Theatre Centre, “ᐃᓅᖃᑎᒌᑦᓯᐊᓂᖅ / Inuuqatigiitsiarniq” opens October 21st 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Padloo Samayualie’s “North & South” opens at Feheley Fine Arts on October 21 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Out in Whitby at Station Gallery, view works by Florence H. McGillivray in “Finding Florence,” opening October 20 at 7 p.m.


At the Art Gallery of Hamilton, “Shelley Niro: 1779” and “Abedar Kamgari: The Journey West” debut with an opening reception on October 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by a discussion with Shelley Niro and Rhéanne Chartrand.

McMaster Museum of Art explores “A Cultivating Journey: The Herman H. Levy Legacy,” featuring works by Monet and Van Gogh, with a curator’s talk by Ihor Holubizky on October 24 from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m.


Four exhibitions open at the Art Gallery of Windsor on October 21: “Downtown/s – Urban Renewals Today for Tomorrow: The 2017 Windsor-Essex Triennial of Contemporary Art,” “Isabelle Hayeur: Corps étranger/Foreign Body,” “Blazes Along the Trail: Exploring David Milne’s Imaginative Vision” and “William Stidworthy: A Historical Downtown.” Watch for triennial events in other parts of the city as well.


On October 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., DHC/ART opens “Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours.” Nearby, Phi Centre also debuts Barbara Nessim works on October 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. and there will be a talk the following day, October 22, at 2 p.m.

La Galerie de l’UQAM presents “Contrarieties & Counterpoints,” featuring recent works by painter Melanie Authier, opening on October 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Opening October 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Parisian Laundry is “IBC: Dystopic Autonomy” by Joseph Tisiga and “Wipe the Dust From Your Mirrors” by Luc Paradis.

At Patrick Mikhail Gallery, “The Dream Machine” by Janet Jones opens October 21 from 2 to 5 p.m.

On October 21 from 3 to 5 p.m., SBC Gallery hosts a book launch and discussion for Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada.

Maison de la culture du Plateau-Mont Royal and Groupe Intervention Vidéo host a screening of lesbian ARTivism: current realities on October 24 at 7:30 p.m.


“Accumulation Of Moments Spent Under Water With The Sun And Moon” features the work of Charlene Vickers, an artist of Anishnabe background from Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation currently living and working in Vancouver. See it at Aceart inc. starting with a launch and performance at 7 p.m. on October 20.


Zachari Logan‘s “A Strange Cultivation” opens October 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Slate Fine Art Gallery.


At Alberta Printmakers, see “Field Work” by Stacey Watson starting with an opening reception and artist talk October 20 at 7 p.m. At Untitled Art Society, Hannah Doerksen’s “The Bitterness of Bad Solitude (or To be Lost in Something you Designed Yourself)” begins on October 20

Christine Klassen Gallery is turning 10; celebrate with a reception for a group show on October 19 from 5 to 8 p.m.  At Jarvis Hall Gallery, join an opening for “Further Studies in Citizenship, Fiction” by Calgary-based artist Bill Rodgers on October 20 from 5 to 8 p.m.


“The Pacific” group exhibition opens October 20 at 7 p.m. at the Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Featuring works by artists Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, Taloi Havini, Jane Chang Mi, Michael Drebert, Evan Lee, Genevieve Robertson, Paula Schaafhausen and Kalisolaite ‘Uhila, the show explores the idea that although the Pacific is an immense body of water there is a strong sense that it is a space of connection between peoples that live beside or are surrounded by it

Elsewhere, “Between Dog and Wolf” by Ben Reeves opens at Equinox Gallery on October 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. At Artspeak on October 21 at 2 p.m., there’s an artist talk by Anne Low with Sylvain Sailly as part of the exhibition “Witch With Comb.”

And further afield in New Westminster, “VOICING,” featuring the work of Marcus Coates, Martin Backes and Michelle Jaffé opens at the New Media Gallery on October 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.


At the Vernon Public Art Gallery, catch the new solo exhibition “Cultivate” by Tara Nicholson, which explores the cannabis industry in British Columbia. Opening reception and artist talk is on October 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.

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

This post was corrected on October 19, 2017. The original post listed an exhibition at Gallery 44, “In Pursuit of the Perfect Pose,” as opening on October 21 when that does not take place until October 27.

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