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Must-Sees This Week: January 26 to February 1, 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.

North Bay

White Water Gallery will host “Salon des Feministes: the Art-Making Process,” a panel on feminist art-making, artistic exploitation, practice and processes featuring Ojibway and Mohawk choreographer and community arts organizer Penny Couchie, writer, performance- and video-artist Tanya Lukin-Linklater, co-artistic director at Aanmitaagzi Sid Bobb, and digital creator Kirsten Kosloski, on January 27 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Toronto and Area

“Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience,” veteran, multidisciplinary artist Kent Monkman’s solo exhibition, will open at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto on January 26 at 6:30 p.m. Monkman’s new body of works explore ideas of indigeneity and urbanity dating back to 150 years prior to Confederation. The artist will also speak for the R.K. Teetzel Lecture in Art on February 1 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at University College, Room 140, followed by a reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at UTAC. Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain at the Centre Space will also present a collection of Monkman’s works exploring the legacy of residential schools from the early days of colonization to the 1960s and beyond in “A Story of Canada,” a solo exhibition that opens with a reception on January 28 from 3 to 6 p.m.

As part of their current exhibit “Mz’Maanga,” (“from here” in Inuktitut) which showcases works by contemporary artists like Shuvinai Ashoona, Kenojuak Ashevak, Cee Pootoogook, and the late Lucy Qinnuayuak, the Drake Hotel will host an Inuit Art Symposium on January 29 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. This free event, moderated by curator Mia Nielsen, will address issues in contemporary Inuit art practices and feature Cape Dorset, the Arctic community globally celebrated for its groundbreaking drawings and printmaking.

The recipient of the 2016 Artscape Youngplace Career Launcher prize, Farihah Aliyah Shah will open “Bille Said “Strange Fruit,” her solo exhibition at the Artscape Youngplace Hallway Gallery on January 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Graduates of York University’s visual arts MFA program will showcase their works in “Things Little,” with an opening reception on February 1, from 6 to 9 p.m.

A Space Gallery will launch “Grieving Empire,” a group exhibition featuring the works of Khadija Baker, Livia Daza-Paris, Michael Greyeyes, John Halaka, Siamak Haseli and Gita Hashemi, with a reception on January 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. These mixed-media works range from dance to installation to drawing, anchored in the artists’ conceptions of ritual, transit, land and colonial grief.

This week sees the openings of two solo shows at Loop Gallery on January 28 from 3 to 6 p.m.: Toronto-based mixed-media artist Esther Pugliese’s “Measured Calm,” and University of Saskatchewan MFA graduate, sculptor and installation-based artist Elizabeth Babyn’s “Plastopia.” Cold Stream Fine Art, too, will host a public opening on January 28th from 2 to 5 pm for Guelph-based Pearl Van Geest’s solo exhibition “The Brink,” featuring works in which the artist re-interprets her collection of pulp material.

Following the overarching, broad theme of work and labour, Harbourfront Centre will open five major exhibitions on January 27 from 6 to 10 p.m., including “Workwear,” featuring over 40 artists including Issey Miyake and Vivienne Westwood, and “Tong Yan Gaai,” documenting Morris Lum’s search for Chinese identity and cultural memory by way of a large-format camera across the Canadian landscape. “Tainted,” a solo exhibition featuring the digital paintings of artist-in-residence Ray Caesar, opens on January 28 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m.

This weekend also sees the return of two festivals in Toronto. Katzman Contemporary hosts the performance art festival/symposium “Duration and Dialogue II” January 27 to 29 featuring live and live-streamed performances by Jon Sasaki, lo bill, Jeremy Bailey, Clayton Lee and Julie Lassonde to name a few. Alongside the performances, dialogues moderated by Chloe Lum, Tanya Mars, Yan Zhou and Francesco Gagliardi are included in the daily programming. Now in its 10th year, North America’s longest running festival devoted to small-gauge film, the 8fest, runs from January 27 to 29 at the SPK Polish Combatants Hall. This years’ festival features a selection of works by Alex Rogalski, Saul Levine, Ilse Kramer, Sandra Brewster, Daniel McIntyre, and Sylvain Chaussee among others.


The comprehensive group exhibition “Durham Reach” at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery opens January 27 at 7 pm and features over 70 emerging, mid-career, and senior artists reflecting the arts community in the Durham Region.


“Survival Guide,” an exhibition examining strategies of survival in the wake of contemporary environmental, political, and economic issues, opens at the Art Gallery of Alberta January 28. In conjunction with the opening, the AGA will host a series of free artist talks by Scott Rogers, Brendan Michal Heshka and Patrick Cruz at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m, which include performances by Rogers and Heshka.


Beginning at 2 p.m. on January 28, Trépanier Baer opens Ron Moppet’s Window, a large scale work, followed by the release of the exhibition catalogue Damian Moppet + Ron Moppet (Every Story Has Two Sides).


“Unapologetic: Acts of Survivance,” the ongoing group exhibition featuring 11 notable Indigenous artists including Shelley Niro, Jeff Thomas, Robert Houle, Jane Ash Poitras and Gerald McMaster will have its curator’s tour, by Rhéanne Chartrand, on January 31, at 12:30 p.m. in the McMaster Museum of Art. The works in this exhibit navigate the idea of Indigenous “survivance” as an amalgamation of cultural resistance and historical survival practices.


The Ottawa Art Gallery will host the opening reception of “When Raven Became Spider,” a group exhibition featuring the works of Joi T. Arcand, Sonny Assu, Julianne Beaudin-Herney, Shaun Beyale, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Jeffrey Veregge, on January 26 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. This show explores the history of supernatural characters in Indigenous storytelling and considers the context of pop superheroism and comic book icons to reimagine three-dimensional, yet animated, portrayals of the Indigenous “superbeing.”

Alson on January 26, Karsh-Masson Gallery present the opening reception for Mana Rouholamini’s “…of patience” from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., featuring works addressing embedded memory and language in natural landscapes.


On January 28, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery will open with “New Positions,” a group exhibition featuring selections of works by emerging artists Alexis Bulman, Andrew Cairns, Monica Lacey and Alexandra O’Sullivan at 7 p.m. These works draw on themes of memory, nostalgia, science fiction and fantasy.


As part of its ongoing series of group shows, “Meet in the Middle: Stations of Memory and Migration Between Art and Film,” the Dunlop Art Gallery will open “Saskatchewan Gothic,” a group show in the gallery’s Station 4, starting January 30. The exhibit, showcasing the film and video works of Amalie Atkins, Ian Campbell, Dana Claxton, David Garneau, Mike Rollo and Gerald Saul, navigates the genre of the “Prairie Gothic” as an approach in understanding Indigenous identities and pasts in the region. Also at the Dunlop Art Gallery, Bill Coleman performs and installs Dollhouse from January 26 to 29, featuring performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. on the 26, 27 and 28 as well as an artist talk January 26 at 7:30 p.m.


The Nanaimo Art Gallery will celebrate its 40th year in a newly renovated exhibition space with the opening of “Landfall and Departure: Prologue,” a group exhibition featuring Michael Belmore, Elisa Ferrari, Emily Luce and Klehwetua Rod Sayer, Tommy Ting and Hajra Waheed, on January 26 at 7 p.m. Responding to the gallery’s physical location near a harbour, the featured mixed-media works conceptualize the harbour as a site of labour, storytelling and exchange.


Two major works will be exhibited at Optica, a centre for contemporary art, on January 28 with a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Filmmaker and video-artist Nelson Henricks’s “Life Sessions” rethinks historical gay male aesthetics in art and media while Jim Holyoak’s “Book of Nineteen Nocturnes” references the tales of J. R. R. Tolkien and Guillermo del Toro.

Quebec City

“Boowaboowaboo,” a selection of six paintings by Dan Brault indirectly referencing Cy Twombly, David Elliott and Jean-Michel Basquiat, opens at Galerie 3 on January 26 at 5:30 p.m..


Noted by Rea McNamara in Canadian Art’s feature “10 Canadian Artists with Forward-Thinking Practices,” Halifax-based mixed-media artist Ruth Marsh will have her solo exhibition “Corpus Melliferous” open at the Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing on February 1 with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Marsh’s new series of drawings continues to fixate over microfauna like bees in large-scale projections.

Vancouver and Area

“Interstice,” Soheila Esfahani’s solo exhibition at Republic Gallery, opens with a reception on January 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. The Iranian-Canadian artist’s latest works continue to build on her sculptural fascination with migration, cultural dissemination, translation and portability.

UNIT/PITT Projects will host “It Was Something and Then It Became Something Else,” the first solo exhibition of artist Juan Cisneros Neumann with a reception on January 27 at 7 p.m. Neumann creates wall drawings that offer comical commentary on notions of identity and heritage, developed, torn and reconstructed by forces of colonialism and power.

VIVO Media Arts presents “Ooooszchhhhhht t shuffle klopp shshhhchglugluglushh” beginning at 7:30 p.m. on January 26 as part of their (last)thirstDays program. Works by Lee Ann Brown, Lindsay Dobbin, Katherine Kline, Britt Kramvig, Sonnet L’Abbé, Guadalupe Martinez, Margrethe Pettersen, Jayce Salloum, Kristin Tårnes, Hildegard Westerkamp, T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss and Alize Zorlutuna consider the connections between natural and artificial, animate and inanimate. At the West Vancouver Museum, artist Ann Kipling will discuss her career-long relationship with drawing with critic Robin Laurence on January 28 at 2 p.m.


At the Owens Art Gallery of Mount Alison University, “Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens: Putting Life to Work,” presented by Galerie d’art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen, opens with a curatorial presentation on January 27 beginning at 5 p.m., followed by a reception at 7 p.m. The exhibition features works questioning how neoliberal ideologies represent the world around us.


At 5 p.m. on January 27, the Musée acadien de l’Université de Moncton hosts the opening reception for “Disputed Boundaries & Rediscovered Families,” featuring rarely seen documents from the collections of the Musée historique du Madawaska and the New Brunswick Provincial Archives.

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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