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Must-Sees This Week: April 27 to May 3, 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.


This week,  Toronto plays host to the 21st-annual Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival—featuring various photographic and lens-based shows as well as public installations across more than 200 venues—with a festival launch party beginning at 7 p.m. on April 28 at the Ryerson Image Centre. As part of the festival, Contact Gallery presents Canadian fashion photographer Petra Collins’s “Pacifier,” a series of photographs depicting the inner lives of teenage girls and concepts of adolescence and femininity, on April 29 with an artist talk followed by a reception from 2 to 5 p.m.

In collaboration with Contact, the Black Artists’ Network Dialogue (BAND) will host “Ears, Eyes, Voice: Black Canadian Photojournalists 1970s – 1990s,” showcasing photography by black Canadian photojournalists Jules Elder, Eddie Grant, Diane Liverpool, Al Peabody and James Russell, spanning two decades, with an opening on April 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. Also in partnership with Contact, Critical Distance hosts the opening reception for “Signals & Sentiments,” featuring Sebastián Benítez, Petar Boskovic, Shelby Fenlon, Maxwell Hyett and Mickey Mackenna, on April 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. Walnut Contemporary presents “Space Within,” a group show in collaboration with Contact, featuring works by Ella Morton, Gonzalo Bernard, Hyla Levy, Katie Bruce, Nava Waxman and Maia, Heidi McKenzie and Teresa Ascenção, opens on April 29 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Workman Arts presents “Mindset 4th Annual Juried Exhibition” by Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, focusing on themes of trauma, injury and illness, on view from May 1 onwards at Artscape Youngplace. Henry VanderSpek’s solo exhibition of photographs, “Taxi Drivers of Toronto,” opens on May 2 at Daniels Spectrum from 6 to 10 p.m.

Canadian Art co-presents the screening of American artist and conceptual entrepreneur Martine Syms’s Incense, Sweaters, and Ice with Images Festival, followed by a Q&A with Images artistic director Amy Fung and Canadian Art staff writer Merray Gerges, along with the artist in attendance, at Innis Town Hall on April 27 at 7 p.m.

Opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on April 29 is “Free Black North,” a show featuring photographs from the mid-to-late 1800s of black Ontarians, many of whom were descendants of refugees escaping slavery from the United States. As part of a speaker series critiquing the celebration of Canada’s 150th year of confederation, the Gardiner Museum will host “Canada Recast: Alternative Futures,” a conversation between writer Drew Hayden Taylor and artist Camille Turner, on May 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Allan Gardens will host Jason van Bruggen’s “Ice in the Palm House,” a photo exhibition themed on Inuit contemporary life in the High Arctic, with a reception on April 27 from 7 to 10 p.m. “Networks,” a solo show by  Cheryl Sourkes, opens at Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects on April 29 with a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Alliedoscope presents “Mixed Feelings,” featuring works by Toronto-based multidisciplinary artists Amber Williams-King and Wy Joung Kou, conceptualized on themes of inclusivity, storytelling and perseverance, opening on April 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Tangled Art Gallery’s vitrine space.

April 29 is the last day to catch Iris Häussler’s “The Sophie La Rosière Project: Chapter III” at Daniel Faria Gallery.


The Bradley Museum collaborates with the Contact Photography Festival to present Erika DeFreitas’s solo installation-based exhibition, “like a conjuring (bringing water back to Bradley),” remembering the original location of Bradley House on the edge of Lake Ontario, on May 3.


Spencer J. Harrison’s “Not a Freak: Growing Up Gay in Rural Ontario” opens on April 29 at the Art Gallery of Peterborough with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m.


“Visitor Information,” a group exhibition bringing together Ontario-based artists Lise Beaudry, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Martie Giefert, Morris Lum and Jeff Thomas with mixed-media works exploring social histories of land, architecture and the institutions they house, opens on April 29 at Robert McLaughlin Gallery.


As part of “Position As Desired: Exploring African Canadian Identity / Photographs from the Wedge Collection,” the ongoing exhibition commemorating black Canadian histories, the Art Gallery of Windsor presents an artist talk with In the Black Canada, an intergenerational collective of black video artists and archivists, followed by a curator’s tour by Kenneth Montague, on April 29 from 1:30 to 4 p.m.


Agnes Etherington Art Centre presents five upcoming spring exhibitions with an opening reception on April 28, including “Transmedia,” a solo installation-based exhibition by Irish-Canadian-American artist Les Levine, and “Absence/Presence: Contemporary Works,” a group show including works by Rebecca Belmore, Betty Goodwin, April Hickox, Jenny Holzer, Sophie Jodoin and Michael Snow.


As part of its Stages Speaker Series, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art will host an artist talk by Winnipeg-based multidisciplinary artist Divya Mehra, who will present a series of short stories speaking directly to her work, at 7 p.m. on May 3 at the former Globe Cinema.

“A Place Between – A 60’s Scoop Arts Project,” commemorating the lives and experiences of people who lived through the Sixies Scoop through film and art at Urban Shaman, will close on April 29 at 3 p.m. The exhibition features Scott Benesiinaabandan’s off-site billboard project the fear of disappearingGeorge Littlechild’s display “Displaced Indians” in the main gallery and a musical performance by Billy Joe Green.


“Matériellement rien, potentiellement tout,” a solo exhibition by Guillaume Adjutor Provost that pays homage to Nuit Magique, a popular Montreal nightclub that ran from 1976 to 1983, will open at the Diagonale on April 27 with a reception at 6 p.m. On April 29, with a reception from 3 to 6 p.m., Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain presents Maskull Lasserre’s “Omen,” a solo installation- and sculpture-based exhibition attempting to capture objects frozen mid-movement.

On April 29 at 4 p,m., the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal hosts “Feminicide No More,” a conversation between Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, Francisco Goldman, Rosemary Sullivan and Ingrid Bejerman on themes surrounding Teresa Margolles’ ongoing exhibition “Mundos.”

Vancouver and Area

Access Gallery will host the publication launch of Miss Solitude: Cuttings, a printed folio featuring a photographic series by Birthe Piontek and corresponding poetry by novelist Marguerite Pigeon, on April 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. Also on April 27, Fazakas Gallery hosts the opening reception for “Shapeshifting,” featuring works by Rande Cook and Carollyne Yardley, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Artist Derya Akay and chef Hayat Shabo, along with her daughter Carmen Aldakhlallah, will demonstrate how to make kibbeh—minced meat, onion and bulgur balls—at the Contemporary Art Gallery on April 29 from 12 to 3 p.m. At 3 p.m. on April 29, Byron Peters presents a series of short stories titled “Anti-Racist Mathematics and Other Stories” at Centre A. Evann Siebens blends audio, video and her dance background for the performance work BRINK, which will be on view at New Media Gallery on April 29 at 2 p.m.; details are relatively sparse, but the event posting promises that there is “no participation necessary. All will be revealed. Everyone will keep their clothes on.”

The Museum of Anthropology host a celebration in memory of Chief Beau Dick / Walas Gwayum on April 30 from 2 to 4 p.m., including presentations by Larry Grant, Chief Robert Joseph, Linnea Dick, Anthony Shelton, Scott Watson and Dana Claxton, among others.

At the Vancouver Art Gallery, a range of speakers share their knowledge of and appreciation for the work of Musqueam artist Susan Point in a discussion on May 2 at 7 p.m.; panellists include artist Dana Claxton, cultural representative for the Musqueam Indian Band Jim Kew, art historian India Rael Young and curator Jordan Wilson. Montreal-based videographer and photographer Olivia Boudreau’s “Intervals,” with films exploring concepts of stillness and movement, will be screened at the Cinematheque on May 3 at 7:30 p.m.


As part of  “Our Masterpieces, Our Stories” summer programming, the National Gallery of Canada presents “Canadian and Indigenous Art: 1968 to Present,” showcasing works by Canadian and Indigenous artists, on view from May 3.


AKA Artist Run presents Seth Fluker‘s billboard project “Elbow River,” opening on April 28 at various locations across the city.


Curator Shauna Thompson discusses the logistics behind the ongoing exhibition “Earthlings” at the Esker Foundation on April 27 from 7 to 8 p.m. A lunchtime tour of exhibitions at Contemporary Calgary takes place on May 3 from 12:10 to 12:50.


Bugera Matheson Gallery opens “Ann Kipling: Retrospective 1988 – 1995″ on April 29.


On April 30 at 2 p.m., Confederation Centre Art Gallery hosts a closing reception and panel discussion for “Living Lightly on the Earth: Building an Ark for Prince Edward Island,” featuring PEI Ark project architects David Bergmark and Ole Hammarlund.


The Khyber Centre for the Arts puts on a free concert, with the Halifax Jazz Festival, on April 27 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., featuring experimental acts New Hermitage and chik whiteStudio 21 Fine Art opens two exhibitions on April 28: bright, colourful painted sails and boards by James Kirkpatrick, and senior abstract painter David Sorensen. Curator Julia McMillan will give a talk about the exhibition “tell me where to go” at Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery on April 29 at 3 p.m. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia hosts their free monthly Artful Afternoon event, designed for people with dementia and their partner in care, on April 30, from 1 to 3 p.m. This month, visitors will consider the work of photographer Harold Edgerton.

Saint Johns

Third Space will screen a series of video works by gallery members at 36 Walter Street on April 29 beginning at 2 p.m.


Beginning April 29, Beaverbrook Art Gallery presents “Canadian Mosaic: Celebrating 150 Years of Art from the Permanent Collection” including notable works by Emily Carr, Tom Thomson and Lawren Harris, among others.

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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