Uncover the most vibrant works showing across the city
Experience the best of Toronto’s vibrant art scene by way of these four noteworthy art exhibits happening now. From retrospective installations to immersive digital works, the city’s creative spaces are boasting some exciting showcases you simply can’t miss.
A Dialogue with Objects
Kenyan-born, UK-based artist, Magdalene Odundo, takes to the Gardiner Museum to showcase the largest presentation of her ceramic work in North America yet. Evident in Odundo’s survey is the traditional Ugandan pottery technique of emsubi and a spotlight on the artist’s process of synthesis. Spanning her career, Magdalene Odundo: A Dialogue with Objects features the artist’s hallmark sculptural vessels and new pieces pulled directly from her studio.
Much of the work draws from varied sources including Cycladic figures and pre-Hispanic ceramics of the Americas. The exhibition’s interiors were taken on by Toronto-based design studio SOCA, who used the material qualities of Odundo’s work as a reference for the accompanying limewashed walls and broken circular plinths fashioned from dark plaster. The works are displayed alongside artifacts and artworks that range in medium and aesthetic intent, including ancient Mediterranean figurines to a larger-than-life abstract expressionist painting. By inviting these objects into the show, Odundo aims to explore disparate connections that ultimately unite human beings. Exhibit on now through April 21, 2024. GARDINERMUSEUM.ON.CA
Night in the Garden of Love
Aga Khan Museum
Making its Canadian premiere, Night in the Garden of Love is a captivating, multisensory exploration of an imagined universe, making it a standout among our list of must-see art exhibits. Inspired and named after a novella by the late Yusef Lateef, the exhibit by London-based artist Shezad Dawood delves into the dual nature of a garden, combining its earthbound and spiritual dimensions. It features painted textiles, drawings by Lateef, and sculptures dressed in costumes by fashion label Ahluwalia that capture nature’s resilience to climate change. Technology is integrated by way of a two-player virtual reality experience and a series of Digital Seedbanks that display seven AI-generated plants to a score from Lateef. Tapping into the potential of juxtaposition, a signature fragrance component crafted by AI offers an additional avenue to experience the work on view.
“This exhibition is a dynamic symphony,” says Dawood. “With objects from the Museum’s Permanent Collection joining the conversation as a contrast between Lateef’s work and my own, it allows visitors to dive into the many flowerings and expressions of gardens throughout history.” Exhibit on now through May 5, 2024. AGAKHANMUSEUM.ORG
ᐊᖏᕐᕋᒧᑦ / Ruovttu Guvlui / Towards Home
Architecture and Design Gallery
Featuring a selection of installations by Indigenous designers and artists, ᐊᖏᕐᕋᒧᑦ / Ruovttu Guvlui / Towards Home showcases architectural forms that are not commonly included in the medium’s lexicon of aesthetics and construction.
The exhibit, on view at the Daniels Architecture and Design Gallery, presents the relationship Arctic Indigenous communities have to their land, and how spaces of home and belonging are created through unique formations. Taqralik Partridge and Tiffany Shaw’s The Porch recreates a transitional space that is emblematic of Northern living, while also giving Indigenous visitors an invitation to an institutional setting that has historically overlooked them. Meanwhile, Offernat (Votive Night) by Carola Grahn and Ingemar Israelsson comprises an altar featuring a birch burl, contextually evoking the burning of Sámi drums during a period of Christianization in the 18th century.
This art exhibit also resulted in the Futurecasting: Indigenous-led Architecture and Design in the Arctic workshop, which united nine emerging architectural designers and duojars (craftspeople) to hypothesize what design on Indigenous lands may become. Exhibit on now through March 22, 2024. DANIELS.UTORONTO.CA
The Secret Codes: African Nova Scotian Quilts
Textile Museum of Canada
Among the Textile Museum of Canada’s latest exhibits, The Secret Codes: African Nova Scotian Quilts looks to The Maritimes to spotlight the stories and voices of Canada’s Black quilters. Presenting historic and contemporary patchworks from makers with roots in the region, the exhibition – organized by BANNS (Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia) – presents more than 35 quilts, as well as eight paintings, that highlight a panoply of functional and symbolic purposes that these decorative objects have encompassed over time.
Whether used as decorative blankets, methods of communication for enslaved individuals seeking freedom, a form of genealogical record-keeping and preservation, or as a celebration of Black women, the quilts prove to contain multitudes between each meticulously placed patch. Exhibit on now through April 28, 2024. TEXTILEMUSEUM.CA