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Art

The Don River Valley Park Art Program – launching in July 2017 – is a curated series of temporary public artworks taking place along the Don River. Local, national and international artists are invited to create site-specific projects that speak to the many histories and present-day realities of the Don Valley and its surrounding communities – looking at the land from ecological, cultural, industrial and Indigenous perspectives and more.  

The Art Program offers many points of engagement, with projects taking shape as sculptural installations, murals, billboards and performance, including dance and sound, as well as an active public program of talks, walks and research workshops lead by artists. Each project will have its own timeline, with some lasting many years and others for just one day.

The Art Program is set to become a new hub for art in Toronto, where visitors can return time and again to find new commissions and events unfolding where art meets the natural environment. The commissioned projects will foreground education and access; link art, place and audience; and foster awareness and stewardship for the Valley.

Curator: Kari Cwynar

Project Manager: Liz Lecky

Advisory Committee: Michelle Koerner (chair), Rui Amaral, Rebecca Carbin, Catherine Dean, An Te Liu, Barbara Macdonald, Marianne McKenna, Alissa North, Elisa Nuyten, Frances Price, Laura Rapp, Kitty Scott, Brenda Webster, Robin Young

“When considering bringing art into our natural spaces we should remember that the life and landscape of Toronto's wilds have inspired the imaginations of such renowned artists as Doris McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Atom Egoyan, Larry Richards, and Ernest Hemingway.”

Art to see in the DRVP

Upcoming projects:

STAGING (2017) - undressed, Maria Hassabi — July 2017

Dancers lying on the ground together as part of Maria Hassabi's art performance entitled STAGING.
Maria Hassabi, STAGING, 2017. Installation view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. February 8-19, 2017. Performers: Hristoula Harakas, Oisín Monaghan. Courtesy the artist; Koenig & Clinton, New York; The Breeder, Athens. Photo: Thomas Poravas.

On July 7 and 8, the Don River Valley Park Art Program presents STAGING - undressed, a new live installation work by acclaimed New York-based artist Maria Hassabi.

Featuring a team of seven dancers, including Hassabi, STAGING - undressed is presented as a living sculpture with no beginning or end, using time as a technique and as a subject. STAGING focuses on the contours of stillness or slowness, while addressing the ways in which the spectacle of performance is presented within exhibitions, and in relation to architectural environments and public space. In its “undressed” iteration for Evergreen, out-of-doors and away from its institutional and architectural setting, the work invites the context of public space to influence the sculptural form and become its new stage.

Hassabi’s work often encourages new relationships to the transitory spaces we tend to move through without notice. In Toronto, STAGING - undressed will unfold over several hours along the Lower Don River, as visitors come and go, or stumble upon an unexpected performance. The framework of STAGING - undressed is thus widened to include mannerisms of viewers or passersby, creating the potential for any action in the public space to be seen as choreography.

STAGING is a co-production of Evergreen/Don River Valley Park (Toronto, Canada), Aarhus 2017 (Aarhus, Denmark), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, US), and documenta 14 (Kassel, Germany).

View all event details. 

About Maria Hassabi

Maria Hassabi (b. 1973, Cyprus) is an artist and choreographer. Over the years she has developed a distinct choreographic practice that triangulates an ever evolving relationship between the body, the still image, and the sculptural object. Her performances and installations have been presented internationally in theaters, museums, galleries, and public spaces.

They have been included in festivals, venues, and exhibitions including: documenta14, Kassel (2017); Stegi OCC, Athens (2017); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017); Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels (2017, 2014);  Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); The Kitchen, New York (2016, 2013, 2011, 2006); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015); ArtSonje, Seoul (2015); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2014); steirischer herbst, Graz (2014); The 55th Venice Biennale, Venice (2013); Performa, New York (2013, 2009); Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva, Switzerland (2012); Performance Space 122, New York (2009, 2007); amongst others.

Hassabi has been awarded: a 2016 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production for her work PLASTIC; the 2015 Herb Alpert Award; the 2012 President’s Award for Performing Arts from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship; and a 2009 Grants to Artists Award from Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Hassabi holds a BFA from California Institute of the Arts. She is based in New York.

Monsters for Beauty, Permanence and Individuality, Duane Linklater — Fall 2017

Rendering of possible Linklater sculpture
Duane Linklater, photograph by Tanya Lukin Linklater.

Artist Duane Linklater will initiate the Don River Valley Park Art Program through a striking installation of cast cement gargoyles on the Lower Don Trail. The sculptures are casts from gargoyles adorning prominent buildings in downtown Toronto.

Linklater’s project stems from an interest in the structural changes made to the Lower Don River as it became an industrial hub in colonial Toronto.

The artist asks the viewer to look closely at the trajectory of Toronto’s history and the changes made to the natural environment with the development of cities in settler societies. 

The gargoyle as an icon communicates power and authority; it is a protector of a certain kind of colonial space.

Sample examples of gargoyles that live on prominent Toronto buildings.
Examples of gargoyles that live on prominent Toronto buildings.

Linklater proposes to re-deploy or re-purpose the figure of the gargoyle in relation to the Don River.

Linklater’s gargoyle sculptures focus attention on the Lower Don’s role in Toronto’s industrialization, while sparking a larger conversation regarding ongoing Indigenous and colonial occupation of the city.

About Duane Linklater

Born in Moose Factory, Ont. in 1976. Lives and works in North Bay, Ont.

Duane Linklater is Omaskêko Cree from Moose Cree First Nation. Working in performance, installation, film and other media, Duane Linklater addresses issues of cultural loss and recovery as well as authenticity, appropriation and authorship. He often collaborates with others, reconsidering oral traditions where the transmission of knowledge, stories or histories is essential to future generations. His research on the land and language of Newfoundland’s extinct Beothuck people forms one project, while the film Modest Livelihood—part of dOCUMENTA (13)—shows Linklater and Brian Jungen on a hunting trip, referencing First Nations’ rights to fish and hunt.

Linklater received a Bachelor of Native Studies and a BFA from the University of Alberta. He completed his MFA in film and video at Bard College in 2012, where his thesis exhibition involved planting 12 Home Depot blueberry bushes on the lawn outside Bard’s Centre for Curatorial Studies. Linklater’s work has been exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery, New York’s Family Business Gallery and the Power Plant. He is the winner of the 2013 Sobey Art Award.