The year 2017 is not only the 150th anniversary of Confederation, but also OCAD University’s 140th birthday. Canada’s oldest university of art, design and digital media has had a significant impact on Canada’s cultural, economic and social fabric. It has graduated the leading artists and designers who have helped to define us, and who have contributed to building the communities and capacity we benefit from today. While we celebrate OCAD U’s many achievements within the context of Canada as an evolving nation, we also acknowledge the complex historical context in which the institution has evolved.
As a university whose community is deeply engaged in thinking critically about culture — and whose academic plan includes decolonization as a key priority — we at OCAD U recognize the need to acknowledge what the last 150 years have meant for Indigenous peoples in this country, and to affirm our commitment to respond to the TRC calls to action as we move forward with our new academic plan. Many of the events we have planned for this year address the colonial history of Canada, and at the same time celebrate the work of Indigenous artists and designers both past and present.
LandMarks2017/Repères2017 is a national art project for Canada 150 that encourages conversation about our lands through art. The nationwide project will involve teams of curators, including OCAD U alumni Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Rebecca Belmore, working with Canadian artists and groups of students to create works of art in Canada’s national parks and historic sites. A founding partner in this initiative, OCAD University is proud to be one of 15 universities taking part across the country.Learn more
The renewal of this historic building will create a 21st century venue for gathering and exhibition, integrating contemporary design concepts while celebrating the historic significance of the building and its context. What was once the main entrance to the building, the west portico, will become OCAD U’s gift to Canada – The Canada 150 Portico, a reminder to all of the foundation of Canadian art and design education.
The George Reid House is used for a range of studio activity, ranging from the traditional to the most technologically-advanced. The solidly-built Georgian structure has ably provided the framework for evolving art and design practices for a nearly a century, and will provide many more years of service and inspiration.
The George Reid House is part of OCAD University’s Creative City Campus renewal.
CBC’s new series, CANADA: The STORY OF US, highlights extraordinary moments in Canada’s history and was produced under the guidance of historians and academic consultants, including OCAD University’s Indigenous Scholar, Dr. Gerald McMaster, who served as one of the primary consultants.
The programme will include screenings of: Mobilize, Nimmikaage (She Dances for People), Etlinisigu’niet (Bleed Down) and Sisters & Brothers (2015).
2Ro Media’s Mohawk creators and producers Jackson Twobears and Janet Rogers offer a fourth edition to the growing series of media installation/performance offerings.
The Family Camera Network is a partnership that explores the relationship between photography and the idea of family. This project will create a public archive of family photographs and their stories at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Across Canada in 2017, LandMarks2017 is a national art project that ignites a conversation about Canada at 150 through art. Five curators will inspire and lead art students, established artists and local communities in the creation of collaborative works of art.
This summer the AGO is marking Canada’s 150th birthday with an ambitious contemporary exhibition that explores three urgent questions through the eyes of some of the country’s best emerging and established artists: where has Canada come from, what it is now, and where is it going?
OCAD U is participating in the LandMarks2017/Repères2017 national curriculum with its course, Landmarks: Art + Places. The course brings together educational institutions, curators, artists and students from across the country to engage in a multi-faceted dialogue about concepts of nature, identity, citizenship, community and beyond, resulting in the installation of public artworks at Parks Canada sites.
Photos by Natasha Hirt