Evergreen presents new performance on Don River as part of Don River Valley Park Art Program

Toronto artists Life of a Craphead to float replica statue of King Edward VII along Lower Don – four presentations on Sundays, October 29 to November 19, 2017

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Starting on Sunday, October 29, 2017, Toronto’s Don River becomes the stage for a new performance by Toronto-based artists Life of a Craphead, as part of Evergreen’s recently launched Don River Valley Park Art Program. During the performance, entitled King Edward VII Equestrian Statue Floating Down the Don River, artist-duo Life of a Craphead (Amy Lam and Jon McCurley) will send a life-size replica statue of King Edward VII down the lower section of the Don River between Riverdale Park and the Queen Street bridge. This is the artists’ first major public art project and the latest to be unveiled as part of a series of temporary commissioned artworks created specifically for the site by local, Canadian and international artists.

“Public art plays a critical role in creating vibrant, flourishing cities,” said Geoff Cape, Evergreen CEO. “This new performance, and others to come as part of the Don River Valley Park Art Program, will continue to spark important conversations about our surroundings and urban landscape.”

King Edward VII Equestrian Statue Floating Down the Don River is inspired by the history of the bronze equestrian statue of King Edward VII that presently sits in Queen’s Park in Toronto. Originally erected in India in 1922 to commemorate the British King’s reign as Emperor of India, the statue was boxed up after India’s independence. It was later brought to Toronto by a prominent resident and art collector, who allegedly desired a good equestrian statue for the city. In the performance, the artists create the illusion that the monument has been “dumped” in the Don River. With both humour and a sharp critical eye, the project aims to address the ways in which public art and monuments come to shape civic identity. They are often preserved in perpetuity – even when the stories meant to be celebrated change.

Four performances will take place on Sundays, October 29, November 5, 12 and 19, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The public can view the work from designated areas along the Lower Don. (See route map and check What's On Calendar for more details.) This project was made possible with the support of the Toronto Arts Council.

This performance follows the launch last month of Evergreen’s new public art program, co-presented the City of Toronto and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Curated for Evergreen by Toronto’s Kari Cwynar, each artwork explores the histories and decisions that continue to shape the city’s public space and public art. The commissioned artworks, ranging from sculptural installations, murals and billboards to dance and sound performance, respond to the Don Valley’s ecological, cultural, industrial and Indigenous histories and future. Each project will have its own timeline, with some lasting many years and others for one day.

The first installation, Monsters for Beauty, Permanence and Individuality by acclaimed Omaskêko Cree artist Duane Linklater, is a series of striking concrete gargoyle sculptures currently on display in a meadow along the Lower Don Trail just north of the Bloor Viaduct. The 14 cast replicas of gargoyles adorning prominent buildings in downtown Toronto focus attention of the Lower Don’s role in Toronto’s industrialization, while sparking a larger conversation regarding ongoing Indigenous and colonial occupation of the city. Several more projects will be presented later in 2018 and in future years.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS: Life of a Craphead is the collaboration of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley since 2006. Their work spans performance art, film and curation. Performance projects include The Life of a Craphead Fifty Year Retrospective, 2006-2056 (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2013), a fake career retrospective of all the work they will ever make; Double Double Land Land (Gallery TPW, Toronto, 2009), a play interrupted by a staged wedding; and Free Lunch (2007), a public, anonymously-advertised free lunch serving everything on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. Their first feature film Bugs (72 min., 2016) has screened in Canada and the U.S., including at Night Gallery, Los Angeles; The Western Front, Vancouver; Parsons School for Design, NYC; The Khyber Centre for the Arts, Halifax; and S1, Portland, among others. Life of a Craphead also ran and hosted the popular performance art show and online broadcast Doored (2012-2017), which featured work by over 100 artists. Between 2006-2009, Life of a Craphead performed at live comedy shows including at Laugh Sabbath (Toronto) and UCB Theatre (L.A. & NYC).

ABOUT THE DON RIVER VALLEY ART PROGRAM: The Don River Valley Park Art Program, presented by Evergreen in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, is a series of new temporary sculptural installations, murals, billboards and performance, including dance and sound, along the Don River, created specifically for this site by local, Canadian and international artists. The Don River Valley Park, a 200-hectare greenspace spanning Pottery Road to Corktown Common, aims to build connections to and from neighbourhoods, engage Torontonians and visitors in cultural activities and enhance the environment of one of the world’s largest ravine systems. For more information visit: https://donrivervalleypark.ca/