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I continue to shape

black and white portrait of two women split down the middle and connected into one

Works by:

Maria Thereza Alves, Cathy Busby, Justine A. Chambers with Deanna Bowen + Ame Henderson + Jessica Karuhanga, Nicholas Galanin, Lisa Myers, Mickalene Thomas, Joseph Tisiga, and Charlene Vickers with an additional collaboration with Maria Hupfield

multicoloured text with "WE CALL" bolded in black
oil on canvas painting with a man wearing a feather headdress on the left, and a man wearing a crown sitting in-front of a tent on the right.
black and white photo of trees with markers and a piece of wood on the top left corner

I continue to shape

September 5 – December 8, 2018

Curated by cheyanne turions

University of Toronto Art Centre

History, like all stories, is told slant, subject to distortion by those with the power to represent it. In the telling, certain characters are foregrounded and certain power dynamics are obscured, leaving certain other characters—their perspectives and experiences—cast out of this immortal glow. And yet, it seems that aesthetic practices bear a specific capacity to transform the sediment of history into something moving once again, to puncture what seems solid, to redirect the light.

The capacity for artworks to provoke this kind of shift is often tied to their ability to conjure visceral and intuitive responses that percolate through the viewer, from a change in mood or disposition, to an evolving understanding of the relation between actors, objects and society. Philosopher and artist David Garneau has coined the term “extra-rational aesthetic action” to describe the possibilities that reside in encounter with works of this sort. Drawing upon Garneau’s study, the Art Museum’s new exhibition considers how the extra-rational capacities of art can support interruptions of history such that new kinds of stories become possible to tell.

The title of the exhibition, I continue to shape, references an observation of participating artist Nicholas Galanin’s, that contemporary Indigenous cultures, like all other cultures, exist on a continuum of change based on engagements with others and in dialogue with land. The “I” of I continue to shape is both the artist’s subjectivity bearing upon the world, as much as it is the “I” of the viewer, coming to terms with how else to understand their role in upholding or dismantling the structures we have inherited, and how they are capable of shaping personal and cultural relationships.

I continue to shape looks to the practices of artists as a means of working toward futures otherwise. By challenging colonial habits and tending to the labour that such re-orientation implies, these artists envision expanded aesthetic and political narratives, alternative forms of community building and belonging, and propose survival strategies up to the tasks at hand in shaping a world more tender, more just and more unsettled than the world we have now.

Additional Exhibition Resources

Exhibition Brochure
Educator’s Guide
Exhibition Documentation

Opening Reception

Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 6-8pm
With performance by Charlene Vickers, 7pm
Hart House Quad

Activation: for all of us

A choreographic score with furniture/objects by Justine Chambers
Saturday, September 8, 2018, 2pm
Featuring Justine Chambers
University of Toronto Art Centre


Saturday, September 8, 2018, 3pm
Featuring Justine Chambers, cheyanne turions and Charlene Vickers
University of Toronto Art Centre

Activation: for all of us

Featuring Jessica Karuhanga
Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 6pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Curatorial Tour

With cheyanne turions
Saturday, October 20, 2018, 2pm
University of Toronto Art Centre


With Maria Thereza Alves and Lisa Myers
Monday, October 22, 2018, 6:30pm
Alvez and Myers will lead this participatory workshop that will draw upon shared concerns in their practices such as the importance of conviviality and convening as research methodologies, and a belief in the capacity of art to tend to diverse cultural narratives and practices. Capacity is limited. Registration is required.

Activation: for all of us

Featuring Deanna Bowen
Friday, October 26, 2018, 2pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Activation: for all of us

Featuring Ame Henderson
Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 6pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

WE CALL: Discussion and Project Space

Hold your next class discussion within the context of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) at our current exhibition.

Drop-In Tours

Every Friday, 2pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.

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