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Must-Sees This Week: July 28 to August 3, 2016

Lots of great art exhibitions open across the country this week. Here are our recommendations for debuting shows and events, and a few reminders about shows that are closing. (And remember to visit our Exhibition Finder, or download the Canadian Art Finder in the App Store or Google Play for even more worthwhile shows that are already open.)


The Contemporary Art Gallery opens an exhibition by Irish artist Isabel Nolan, “The weakened eye of day,” with a reception on July 28 at 7 p.m. Vancouver’s first Alternative Pride Festival (which boasts Paul Wong as a “spiritual advisor”) is a grassroots festival dedicated to Vancouver’s alternative culture, running July 28 to 31, and including an exhibition organized by trans artists and curators at Gallery 1965. Vikky Alexander, Joi T. Arcand, Angela Fama, Brian Lye, James Nizam, Ed Spence and Noah Spivak are brought together for a show on abstraction, opening at Access Gallery on July 29 at 7 p.m. VIVO Media Arts Centre continues their thirstDays programming with “As You Live Here,” which brings together work that addresses “our relationship to the city, neighbourhood and housing, a relationship that is deeply shared and intricately spatial and a relationship that is one of the most intimate we have,” and opens July 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Saint John

The Cultural Container Village brings together artists, companies, groups, cities and towns, including the New Brunswick Museum, St. Mary’s (Sitansisk) First Nation and the Saint John Chapter of the Asian Heritage Society of New Brunswick, on July 30 and July 31 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the New Brunswick Museum is free on August 1 from 12 to 5 p.m. in celebration of New Brunswick Day.


The Art Gallery of Alberta opens two exhibitions with a members’ opening reception on July 29. “Beauty’s Awakening: Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Contemporaries from the Lanigan Collection” offers a glimpse into Victorian England with work by John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Also opening at the AGA, Calgary-based artist Jason de Haan brings together shells and ultrasonic humidifiers into sculptures. De Haan also speaks in a talk ahead of the opening July 29 at 6:30 p.m.


The Filiations performance series continues at the Darling Foundry on July 28 at 7:30 p.m., and it includes a performance by Dayna McLeod, who will turn her uterus into a concert hall, and a performance by Suzanne Joly. At Atelier Circulaire, on July 28 at 11:30 a.m., Masha Ryskin, who is currently based in based in Rochester and Providence, will give an artist talk about her work, which spans printmaking, painting and installation. “I feel we think bad” presents work created by Hannah Perry, Ed Fornieles and Matt Goerzen during their recent residencies at Arsenal Contemporary Art; the artists “examine the extent to which cyberspace distorts notions of reality and identity” in the installation and video show, which opens on July 29 at 6 p.m.


Stemming from research done as a part of this year’s summer institute, Wood Land School: Thunderbird Woman, in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants are led through a series of texts, films, field trips and studio time for three weeks in the city of Winnipeg, Plug In ICA presents two talks: artist and curator Julie Nagam presents “A Home for Our Migrations: The Canoe as Indigenous Methodology,” on July 27 at 10 a.m. And, on July 28 at 12 p.m., artist and curator Michelle LaVallee presents “Curation as Agency, Transformation and Guardienship.”

Prince George

Emily vey Duke and Cooper Battersby will be at Two Rivers Gallery for a screening of their film, Dear Lorde, and talk about their work at July 28 at 7:30 p.m.


Stride Art Gallery opens an exhibition that stems from earlier programming around heritage architecture; in the show, six architectural firms respond to the question, “What to do with the existing building while addressing pressures for growth? How do we negotiate the challenge of ‘densification’ into ‘possibility’?” It has a reception July 29 at 8 p.m. Hosted by Truck, Rae Spoon and Plastik (Alexandre Decoupigny) present an outdoor participatory performance themed on gender apocalypse on August 3 at 9 p.m. at Truck’s CAMPER (Contemporary Art Mobile Public Exhibition Rig) in Rotary Park. Alyssa Ellis opens “Bad Growth,” which presents Ellis’s research into the relationship between poison ivy and current climate change, at the New Gallery on August 1.

Campbell River

At the Campbell River Art Gallery, Jordan Bennett and Amy Malbeuf open a duo exhibition, “Aja’sit,” which includes their recent work focused on mobility and notions of place, and opens July 28.


At 8 p.m. on August 2 NSCAD’s Art Bar + Projects will host Camila Salcedo’s performance Bombas Lacrimógenas (Tear Gas), where she will act as a telenovela character to question fictional tropical utopia. “Queering Islam: Starting Conversations” will gather presentations on Muslim varieties of queer identities and a performance piece by Troy Jackson on July 28 at 7 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Church. Ad Astra Comix, a Canadian publisher of social justice-themed comics, presents “The panel is political: Comics for social change,” at Halifax Central Library on July 28 at 6 p.m.


At Gallery TPW, artist Joshua Schwebel and Anne Bertrand, director of the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference, have a talk on July 31 at 3 p.m. The Conversationalists V, a series of talks, performances and presentations about art and social change, opens on July 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Scrap Metal Gallery, presented by OCAD University. “Escape from Intern Purgatory,” a performance by Tough Guy Mountain (TGM), features two unpaid interns who get lost in Yorkville and try to find their ways back to TGM headquarters with the audience’s help, is on July 30 at 2 p.m. at the Gardiner Museum. The Canadaland podcast network launches an arts and culture podcast hosted by Aliya Pabani, The Imposter, with a live podcast performance at the Gladstone Hotel on August 3 at 7 p.m. “It’s Not U It’s Me” is a summer party series presented in partnership with the Power Plant, with internationally renowned DJs and sculptural installations around the clock from July 30 at 2 p.m. until 3 a.m. on July 31. “I Cannot Lie to the Stars that Made Me” is a theatrical guide to healing and mourning for women of colour by Catherine Hernandez on July 28 at 8 p.m. at COBA (Collective of Black Artists) at Daniels Spectrum Building, with proceeds going towards making clean drinking water a reality in First Nations communities. BAND Gallery presents “The Art of BLMTO Freedom School,” which will showcase art from their three-week summer program educating four to 10 year-olds on black liberation, opening on July 29 at 6:30 p.m. Red Head Gallery hosts a closing reception for Amber Helene Müller St. Thomas’s exhibition “Loving and Obedient Children” on July 30 at 2 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

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