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Toronto Biennial of Art announces preliminary list of artists for its 2021 edition
Judy Chicago, Smoke Holes #2, 1969 / 2019, archival pigment print, 36 x 36 in. (91.44 x 91.44 cm). On view at Small Arms Inspection Building as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art (2019). © Judy Chicago/Artist Rights Society, NY. Courtesy Through the Flower Archives. Courtesy the artist; Salon 94, NY; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco.

TORONTO.- The Toronto Biennial of Art today announced an initial selection of Canadian and international artists for the second edition of the city-wide event on view September 25 through December 5, 2021. Commissioned and invited participants contributing to exhibitions, programs, and residencies include Nadia Belerique, Judy Chicago, Sebastian De Line, Jorge González, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Brian Jungen, Waqas Khan, Vanessa Kwan, Ange Loft, Mata Aho Collective, Eric-Paul Riege, Camille Turner, and Syrus Marcus Ware. The curatorial team, Tairone Bastien, Clare Butcher, Candice Hopkins, Myung-Sun Kim, and Katie Lawson are coming together to work collectively across projects. Additional contributors, partners, and sponsors will be announced in the coming months.

The Biennial commissions will take place in diverse venues throughout the city, moving beyond the Lake Ontario shoreline locations that hosted the 2019 edition. The 2021 Biennial will explore locations near above-ground and hidden water tributaries that feed into the Lake as well as the ravines that shape Toronto. Extending the interconnections of those locations and expanding the notions of what it means “being in relation” that was the central question of the inaugural Biennial, continues to be a guiding principle in a moment of great uncertainty.

In this second chapter of the Biennial, the curators envision new forms of kinship—with each other, their collaborators, ideas, perspectives, and with the inanimate. They have generated a lexicon—a shared vocabulary—to ground their thinking and ongoing processes of exhibition-making, programming, engaging, learning, and unlearning. The first set of terms from this lexicon include kinship, collectivity, and belief, which the curators describe as a means by which “people relate to the unseen world. Belief is how we grasp or make sense of the unknowable. It is also around certain beliefs that people congregate to create myths, stories, and ceremonies. As old systems of belief collapse, we see possibilities for escape and renewal.” The developing lexicon and lines of inquiry will be shared on the Biennial website in the coming weeks.

Biennial of Art Founder and Executive Director Patrizia Libralato said, “We are delighted to share the curatorial team’s first thoughts around the 2021 Biennial’s thematic direction, as well as our exciting initial lineup of participating artists. Realizing our vision together through these challenging times of pandemic, political upheaval, and climate crisis, when existing belief systems are being tested and challenged, provides opportunities for reflection and change. We look forward to working with the artists as they create site-specific works and performance commissions that respond to the city’s complex cultural context and the pressing issues of our time. The Biennial team is also honored to welcome back partners and sponsors who continue to support our bold vision.”

2020 Residency Program
From November 2–15, 2020, the five Biennial curators will come together with commissioned participants in an experimental and research-focused virtual residency based on the framework of a pod system in transformative social justice practices. Within an ethos of community care and justice, the residency will be facilitated by Ange Loft and Syrus Marcus Ware to think and move together in exploring protocols and practices of connectivity in this moment. Further details of the residency program will be shared via the Biennial newsletter, website, and social media streams in the coming weeks.

Participants will include artists and curators Sebastian de Line, Jorge González, Vanessa Kwan, Mata Aho Collective, Eric-Paul Riege, Camille Turner, and others, and will be facilitated by Loft and Ware with the Toronto Biennial of Art curators. Supporting partners include Black Lives Matter – Toronto and grunt gallery.

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