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The Sunshine Eaters

The Sunshine Eaters is an original multi-sensory exhibition that highlights how artists and designers look to the land and its plants, flowers and trees as a means to imagine and conjure hope in the face of local and global crises.
The Sunshine Eaters

The Sunshine Eaters
January 10 to April 15, 2018

Shary Boyle
Nick Cave
Robert Holmes
Jim Holyoak
Brian Jungen
Jessica Karuhanga
Alexandra Kehayoglou
Nina Leo and Moez Surani
Tony Matelli
Alanis Obomsawin
Ebony G. Patterson
Winnie Truong

Curated by Lisa Deanne Smith


The Sunshine Eaters exhibition highlights how contemporary artists and designers look to the land, plants, flowers and trees as a means to imagine and conjure hope in the face of crises. The exhibition brochure is available online here.

The Sunshine Eaters

Free Public Events

  • Wednesday, January 10, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
    Nick Cave and Ebony G. Patterson in Conversation
    100 McCaul St., Auditorium, Rm 190
  • Wednesday, January 10, 8 to 10 p.m.
    The Sunshine Eaters Exhibition Opening Reception
    Many artists and designers will be present
  • Thursday, January 25, 1 to 2 p.m.
    Shary Boyle Artist Talk
    Presented by the MAAD Speakers Series
    100 McCaul St., Room 230
    Light reception at Onsite Gallery following talk
  • Wednesday, February 28, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
    Tony Matelli Artist Talk
  • Wednesday, March 14, 7 to 9 p.m.
    *CANCELLED* Exile Series = Rising Sadness - Ali Asgar Performance and Artist Talk
    Presented by Art and Social Change, The President’s Office and Onsite Gallery
  • Wednesday, March 28, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
    Treaty No. 9 and Daniel MacMartin Diary Discussion with Alanis Obomsawin
  • Wednesday, April 11, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
    True Stories Toronto
    Inspired by themes in The Sunshine Eaters, storytellers share true, personal stories of nature as a symbol of hope. Part of the ongoing True Stories Toronto event series. Organized and hosted by Storytelling Coach Marsha (of
  • Confirmed date will be posted on our website
    *CANCELLED* Gallery Conversation with Brian Jungen

All events are at Onsite Gallery, 199 Richmond St. W., unless otherwise noted.


Shary Boyle’s practice integrates the personal and the political; the emotional and intellectual; the expansive and focussed; and the abject and mainstream. A winner of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize, Boyle was shortlisted for the 2009 and 2011 Sobey Art Awards and has exhibited at the Centre Pompidou; the National Gallery of Canada; the Art Gallery of Ontario; the 2010, 2014 and 2017 Canadian Biennials; and represented Canada at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Nick Cave is an artist, educator and foremost, a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. Cave exhibits internationally and recently presented a massive immersive installation Until at MASS MoCA (MA). His works are found in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. Cave is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery.

Robert Holmes (1861 – 1930), a botanist, flower painter and master of watercolours, spent a lifetime drawing and painting Canadian wildflowers. The collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario include notable wildflower watercolours by Holmes. He taught for eighteen years at the Ontario College of Art.

A member of the Doig River band of the Dane-zaa First Nation, Brian Jungen employs repurposed materials with contemporary and traditional techniques. The resulting works often prompt viewers to consider the distances and proximities between cultures and between humans/nature. Jungen won the inaugural Sobey Art Award in 2002 and received the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 2010. He has exhibited internationally including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario and at dOCUMENTA 13. Jungen is represented by Casey Kaplan (NY) and Catriona Jeffries (BC).

Jessica Patricia Kichoncho Karuhanga is an artist working through drawing, movement and video. She has presented her work at the Art Museum at University of Toronto (2017) Art Gallery of Ontario (2016) and Goldsmiths, London (2016). She has performed lectures for The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Royal Ontario Museum as well as Harvard University and Tisch School of the Arts at NYU’s Black Portraitures Series. Her writing has been published by BlackFlash Magazine and C Magazine.

Alexandra Kehayoglou creates wool carpets in large immersive formats. Her work investigates and documents the landscapes that the artist has once visited—forests, desert islands, Patagonian glaciers, and pastizales (grasslands), which she desires to preserve throughout time. Kehayoglou has made a carpeted runway for fashion designer Dries Van Noten and has exhibited at NGV Triennial 2017 in Melbourne and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her work became established worldwide as an outcry against deforestation and devastation, calling for environmental awareness, as well as a forensic document for massive landscape changes in the Anthropocene Epoch.

Nina Leo’s work explores the sentient nature of the human condition and has been shown internationally in the Beyond/In Western New York, 2010 Biennial, Kunsthaus Santa Fe (Mexico) and Lobby Gallery (IL). Over the past five years, her olfactory research has developed through associations with the Monell Chemical Senses Center (PA) and the Institute for Art and Olfaction (LA). This art and research has been presented/published in Canada and abroad.

Moez Surani’s writing has been published internationally, including in Harper’s Magazine, Best American Experimental Writing 2016, and the Globe and Mail. He has been an artist in residence in Burma, China, Finland, Italy, Taiwan and Switzerland. He is the author of three poetry books: Reticent Bodies, Floating Life, and most recently, Operations. In investigating language and perception, he is collaborating with Nina Leo on a collection of work, including their Heresies project.

Tony Matelli's sculptures exhibit a sophisticated technical execution and aim to create psychological spaces that draw our attention to the sentient where wonder, sadness, empathy and hope develop. He has had solo exhibitions at Leo Koenig (NY), Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Uppsala Konstmuseum (Sweden) and a mid-career survey at the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (Denmark). Matelli is represented by Marlborough Contemporary (NY).

Alanis Obomsawin is one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers. Obomsawin’s award-winning films address the struggles of Indigenous peoples in Canada from their perspective, giving prominence to voices that have long fallen on deaf ears. An Officer of the Order of Canada, she has received multiple Governor General’s Awards, lifetime achievement awards and honorary degrees.

Jamaican-born artist Ebony G. Patterson’s works employ opulent surfaces and brightly colored patterns to seduce the viewer into confronting the profound social realities contained at their core. Often addressing the use of feminine gendered adornment in the construct of urban masculinity within popular culture, Patterson embellishes photographic tapestries by hand with beading, sequins, fabric and jewelry. Patterson’s aesthetic pulls the viewer in and forces them to bear witness to problematic social conflicts experienced by her subjects. Her works command the viewer to look past the façade – of their rich formal characteristics, of the fabricated fantasies increasingly traded in our consumer and social media-centric culture – and to acknowledge the realities of those not touched by the glitter and gold. The paradoxical means the artist uses to convey this message only emphasizes its urgency and weight. Patterson has had solo exhibitions and projects at many US institutions including The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY (2016); Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, GA (2016); Museum of Art and Design, NY (2015); and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2016). In 2018, Patterson will have a large-scale solo exhibition at Pérez Art Museum, Miami. She is presented by Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago (IL).

Winnie Truong is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Chalmers Arts Fellowship, W.O. Forsythe award, the 401 Richmond Career Launcher prize and the BMO 1st! Art Award for Ontario. Winnie has exhibited internationally in galleries across Toronto, Los Angeles, Copenhagen and in New York where she was also featured VOLTA, NY Art Fair. She is in the collection of The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (KA). Truong is represented by Erin Stump Projects (Toronto).


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

The Sunshine Eaters is also produced with the support of Nexus Investments.

Onsite Gallery gratefully acknowledges that the new gallery construction project is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Canada Cultural Spaces Fund at Canadian Heritage, the City of Toronto through a Section 37 agreement and Aspen Ridge Homes; with gallery furniture by Nienkämper. Onsite Gallery logo by Dean Martin Design.

The Sunshine Eaters