Art Gallery of Ontario celebrates twenty years of Art Toronto and acquires three new works

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Art Gallery of Ontario celebrates twenty years of Art Toronto and acquires three new works
Duane Linklater, boys don’t cry, 2017, Digital prints on hand-dyed linen, 120 x 180 inches. Purchased with funds from the Dr. Michael Braudo Canadian Contemporary Art Fund and the Art Toronto 2019 Opening Night. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver. © Duane Linklater. Photo: Dennis Ha. Installation view, apparatus for the circulation of Indigenous ideas and sounds into the air, Western Front, Vancouver, 2017.

TORONTO.- Art Toronto 2019 launched its twentieth anniversary edition with the Opening Night Preview Gala to benefit the Art Gallery of Ontario. The AGO acquired new and recent work by Duane Linklater, Celia Perrin Sidarous and Rajni Perera. The three works were purchased with funds from the Dr. Michael Braudo Canadian Contemporary Art Fund and the Art Toronto 2019 Opening Night.

This is the fourteenth consecutive year that the AGO has purchased artwork at Art Toronto Opening Night. Over $600,000 CAD was raised by the Gala to support these acquisitions as well as the museum’s ongoing exhibitions and public access programs.

Kitty Scott, the AGO’s Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, led the museum’s selection committee, which included Georgiana Uhlyarik, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art; Sophie Hackett, Curator of Photography; Wanda Nanibush, Curator of Indigenous Art; Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art and Yasmin Nurming-Por, Research Assistant, Curatorial.

“The diversity of work by both emerging and established artists - from Toronto and beyond - was impressive at this year’s fair,” said Kitty Scott. “Sharing elements of assemblage and collage, the works we acquired by Linklater, Perera and Perrin Sidarous reflect very different approaches to cross cultural encounters – be it bridging pop culture and Indigenous culture, museum archives and personal collections, or a hybrid vision of the future. We are very pleased to add these works to the AGO Collection.”

At 15 feet wide, Duane Linklater’s boys don’t cry (2017) is an assemblage of six hand-dyed panels, stitched together. This large-scale artwork brings together influential images including digitally printed images of The Cure’s Robert Smith, Indigenous session musician Jesse Ed Davis, the insignia of the American Indian Movement dyed pink, a reproduction of the 1845 George Caleb Bingham painting Fur traders descending the Missouri, a piece of found graffiti that reads ‘Custer had it coming’, and a portrait of his own hand. This is the second work by Linklater to join the AGO Collection.

A response to the question “who inhabits the Earth after it has been destroyed?”, Rajni Perera’s vivid mixed-media portrait Fresh Air (2019) is the ninth in a series entitled Travellers. Born in in Sri Lanka, and based in Toronto, Perera continues to explore displaced populations in her work, creating morphed, hybrid forms from culturally unspecified communities. With six eyes, colourful clothes and resplendent headgear, the figure in Fresh Air casts a wary look on the environmental degradation around it, wearing a commercial air purifier as a necklace and holding a metal pipe to its lips. This work is the first by Rajni Perera to enter the AGO Collection.

Combining images and objects from the archives of the McCord Museum and from her own personal collection, including a glass paperweight and a seashell, Montreal artist Celia Perrin Sidarus’s Assemblage en blue (Sphinx) (2019) explores how collected items are seen and displayed. Referencing classic still life, interior design and commercial display techniques, Perrin Sidarous’ work asks us to consider how we show what we hold onto. Commissioned by the McCord museum for the 2019 Momenta Biennale, this is the third work by Perrin Sidarous to be acquired by the AGO.

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