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Month-long public art celebration features artists from OCAD U

Digital image of a blue background with single hands on the left and right.

Image credit: Looking Up (2021) by Anna Pogossyan.

Month-long public art celebration features artists from OCAD U 

As Toronto launches its Year of Public Art, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OCAD U artists are featuring their work in a variety of locations across the city.

Among the extensive collection of public art, Torontonians can explore the work of OCAD U emerging artists and art collectives, featured in Emerge: A Public Art Walkdown, a public art celebration.

Created in partnership with Kolab Project, five new artworks will be situated in public spaces throughout downtown Toronto from October 1 to 29, 2021. A subsidiary of Auxly Cannabis Group, Kolab Project is a Toronto-based platform dedicated to arts, design, and culture.

The works explore the theme of ‘emerging,’ recognizing an ‘art-starved public emerging back into public spaces after prolonged pandemic isolation.’

The project is a sequel to The Next Fourteen Days, which provided grants for 14 projects created by OCAD U senior students, recent alumni and faculty and spoke to a time of physical distancing and self-isolation.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase the extraordinary talent of our emerging artists through this public art project and are very grateful for the support from Auxly and the Kolab Project,” says Ana Serrano, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “The project allows the public to re-discover our public spaces with its compelling exploration of a post-lockdown world.”

OCAD University’s RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (CEAD) provided guidance and encouragement to all participating artists as they strived to realize their ambitious public projects. The Centre’s mission is to support the early-career advancement of all students and recent alumni at OCAD U.

“It was inspiring to witness the dedication and perseverance of these emerging artists,” says Miles Collyer, Manager, Career Development, CEAD. “Throughout the pandemic’s waves of lockdowns, each held dear to the goal of activating public space and sharing their stories with our city.”

The public art celebration includes new-media pieces from five emerging artists and art collectives from OCAD U:

Looking Up by Anna Pogossyan
Location: OCAD U campus (51 McCaul St.)
Dates: October 1 to 29, 2021

Looking Up is a reflection on the year 2020. Integrated into the building and everyday surroundings, ‘hidden in plain sight,’ this installation is something one stumbles upon on their daily commute, which animates the environment and makes one pause for a moment.’

Ephemeral Habitat by LinJuan Dai + Kaleman A. Silva
Location: RendezViews Art Park (229 Richmond St. W)
Dates: October 13 to 15, 2021 (Artists present: Oct. 13, 4 to 8 p.m.; Oct. 14 and 15, 6 to 10 p.m.)

Ephemeral Habitat explores a sense of balance within the landscape discipline and structure discipline of architecture and is surprised by how each element can influence the other. This installation comprises a rectangular modular structure that sets to be the framework for the plant composition. As the plants are being given away to the audience throughout the day, the rectangular form reveals itself in different conditions, responding to the fourth-dimensional aspect of time in architecture.”

Real Indian by Kora Empey
Location: George Chuvalo Community Centre (50 Sousa Mendes St.)
Dates: October 1 to 29, 2021

Real Indian was created in response to the 2019 amendments made to the Indian Act which sought to remove sex-based inequalities that disadvantaged Indigenous women. These revisions granted me and my sister, along with thousands of other Canadians, their certificate of Indian status and at age 20 I became a “real Indian” in the eyes of the government.”

Beach Beneath the Pavement by Displaced Collective

  • East York’s Ravine (89 Coxwell Blvd.)
  • Unison Gender Clinic (Oakwood and Vaughan)
  • Christie Pits Park
  • The Village (Wellesley and Church Streets)

Dates: October 1 to 29, 2021

Beach Beneath the Pavement, is a binaural sonic walk that explores an imagined Toronto through the lens of 5 QTBIPOC individuals— project creators, Kasra Goodarznezhad, Tahreem Alvi, and Taymah Armatrading and invited community artists Marie Sotto and Siobhan Johnson. Each artist was invited to share a story, building a network of voices that have been systemically obfuscated within the city’s landscape.”

Simular by Nick Alexander and Priya Bandodkar
Location: 82 Bond St.
Dates: October 20 to 22 and October 27 to 29, 2021

“The courtyard of Mackenzie House in downtown Toronto will seem to be deconstructed, with familiar features repurposed into a wheeling starscape around the participants. Colonial-era stonework will serve as a projection surface for a digitally-reconstructed hyperreal kinetic rendition of the space, surrounding the guests.”

Kolab Project is a cannabis brand, wholly owned by Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX – XLY) (“Auxly”), that aims to connect with cannabis enthusiasts who have an appreciation for the positive impact that art, culture, and design have on humanity. In April, 2020, Auxly and OCAD U announced a partnership to enhance the community experience, foster faculty innovation and enrich academic programming at OCAD U – Emerge: A Public Art Walkdown is a realization of this partnership.

More information about the artists and their work can be found on the Kolab Project website.