This year, Art Toronto looked a little bit different. Like many large-scale events of 2020, Toronto’s annual and much-anticipated art fair went virtual for the first time ever. While adapting to a new digital platform was daunting at first, we were encouraged to think outside of the box in order to bring the best of our “booth” to fairgoers. In the end, we produced a number of videos where Pat eloquently spoke about each of the artists represented in our booth. These informative videos will live a life beyond Art Toronto and are available to watch, for free, on our YouTube channel. Additionally, we went the traditional route of re-creating our booth inside the gallery, which was well attended by many lovely physically distanced visitors over the course of the fair (October 28 – November 8).
AGO Acquisition – CURIOSITY by Shuvinai Ashoona
We are pleased to announce that our first virtual Art Toronto was a great success. At the very top of our fair highlights list is the AGO’s acquisition of Curiosity (2020) by Shuvinai Ashoona. The large-scale piece, which depicts an aerial view of monsters curiously walking through Kinngait, is not only headed to the AGO’s permanent collection, but will be exhibited in Ashoona’s 2021 solo exhibition at the gallery. As part of Ashoona’s win of the 2018 Gershon Iskowitz Prize, she was granted an exhibition at the AGO in addition to $50,000.00. This forthcoming exhibition will showcase recent drawings made since 2018 including several that were featured in our booth. These works include Animals Listening to Music (2020), Summertime (2019), Making a Movie (2020) alongside others.
Three works are also up for acquisition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, including two by Ashoona and a spectacular drawing on black paper by Ningiukulu Teevee. Like last year, the dynamic landscapes of Ooloosie Saila captured the attention of many fairgoers, new and returning, as well as online and in-person. Equally engaging were the spectacular works of Quvianaqtuk Pudlat, whose very successful solo exhibition Wild ran parallel to Art Toronto this year.
Art Toronto Performance – Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory
We were also thrilled to bring the phenomenal performance art of Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory to audiences all over the country via Zoom. Williamson Bathory livestreamed Sila Taarsilerpoq (The Air is Getting Darker) from her home studio in Iqaluit, Nunavut and brought the captivated audience on a whirlwind ride through uaajeerneq (Greenlandic mask dance), spoken word, and visual storytelling. Among many awards and honours, Williamson Bathory was the inaugural recipient of the Inuit Art Foundation’s Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award (KAMA) in 2018 (to donate to KAMA, click here).
And just like that, another Art Toronto is in the books. Whether online or in person, we look forward to next year and the many delights and challenges it may bring!