The Hart House Centennial Commission
September 5–October 27, 2018
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
For its centennial celebrations in 2019, Hart House is commissioning a major, permanent artwork by an Indigenous artist to transform its historic Great Hall. One step towards redressing settler colonial narratives, this permanent commission seeks to acknowledge the history, narratives and people who came before us; to honour the land upon which we live and work today; and to imagine other possible futures for current and future generations, from an Indigenous perspective.
With guidance and input from Indigenous voices and other members of the University community, a jury of Indigenous artists and curators has selected a short list of artists from across Canada to submit proposals for the reimagining of the monumental northern wall in the Great Hall. Encouraging an open and imaginative approach to the site, the invited artists have been asked to take into consideration the histories of place, settler and Indigenous relations, present-day realities, and/or the potential for social and cultural change. Above all, the artists have been invited to exceed the centenary aspect of commemoration and to re-imagine Hart House as a place where the ever-present vestiges of its colonial past are disrupted and as a place where everyone will find welcome and unique ways to connect with each other and with the broader world.
In October this year, following a review process involving input from Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, and select stakeholders of Hart House, the jury will choose a finalist from the proposals presented in this exhibition. Overseen and implemented by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, of which Hart House is a founding member, the completed work will be unveiled on November 12, 2019 during a gala celebration to mark Hart House’s 100th Anniversary.
Proposals by: Rebecca Belmore and Osvaldo Yero (RBOY inc.), Hannah Claus, Faye Heavyshield, Ursula Johnson in collaboration with Maria Hupfield, Amy Malbeuf, Nadia Myre, Tannis Nielsen, Shelley Niro, Travis Shilling
About Hart House: On November 11, 2019, Hart House will reach a historic milestone with the 100th anniversary of Vincent Massey’s extraordinary gift of the building to the students of the University of Toronto. More than just a physical space, Hart House continues to play a pivotal role as a diverse and inclusive gathering place that fosters the enhancement of the student experience, on all three campuses, through the provision of opportunities to engage with wellness, arts, and dialogue with a focus on preparing students for their futures as citizens of the world.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 6-8pm
Hart House Quad
We gratefully acknowledge the operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. Additional Centennial Commission individual support has been provided by Edward G. Thompson.