Teacher Resource EVERY. NOW. THEN: REFRAMING NATIONHOOD Until December 10, 2017 Engage students with an ambitious contemporary exhibition that critically explores three urgent questions through the eyes of some of the country’s best emerging and established artists: where has Canada come from, what it is now, and where is it going? In recognition of the ancestral lands on which the Art Gallery of Ontario operates, we would like to acknowledge that we are situated in traditional territories. The territories include the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca and most recently the Mississaugas of the Credit River. These are the original owners and custodians of the land which we stand and it is our hope that we as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can be present on this land in an honest, thoughtful and respectful manner in the art world and beyond.
CURRICULUM LINKS: Native Studies, Visual Arts, Social Studies, Canadian and World Studies, Language and English.
Camal Pirbhai and Camille Turner, Bell (Wanted Series), 2016 “These images are inspired by actual ads Canadian slave owners placed in newspapers about enslaved people who had escaped. We wanted to restore their humanity by viewing them as people performing freedom.” —Camille Turner and Camal Pirbhai
QUESTIONS • The artists used their imaginations to create portraits of these people in the present, not the past, and as free people, not as people who are enslaved. Why do you think the artists did this? Are the photographs empowering? Why or why not?
• Did you know that slavery is a part of Canadian history? What do you know about slavery in the American and/or Canadian context?
Camille Turner and Camal Pirbhai, Bell (Wanted Series), 2016. Digital photograph, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists. © Camille Turner and Camal Pirbhai. Photo: Christina Sideris.
Teacher Resource ...continued
Meryl McMaster, Edge of a Moment, 2017 QUESTIONS • Who do you think this person is? What are they wearing? Describe their clothing and patterns on the garments. What are they holding? Where are they located?
Meryl McMaster, Edge of a Moment, 2017. Inkjet print, 152.4 x 239.7 cm.
Courtesy of the artist and Katzman Contemporary. © Meryl McMaster
ACTIVITY The person in the landscape is the artist herself, Meryl McMaster. She created the props and garments, and her performance was photographed. The pattern on the garment is inspired by the tracks of a prairie chicken, which is extinct in Canada. The photograph was taken in southwestern Alberta; the area is known as Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Discuss the landscape and the significance.
Syrus Marcus Ware, Baby, Don’t Worry, You Know That We Got You, 2017 “These are portraits of local activists in the movement for Black lives…. They’re my people and I need them to survive. That’s why I’m drawing them.” —Syrus Marcus Ware QUESTIONS • What stands out to you and why? Do these drawings remind you of anyone? What do you think this person would say to us if they were present?
• The artist states that they need these individuals to survive. What do you think they mean? After discussing local heroes, what does a hero look like to you? Can you name a local hero in your community? ACTIVITY Write or draw a letter to someone who you need in order to survive. Tell them how much you appreciate them and say thank you.
Syrus Marcus Ware, Baby, Don’t Worry, You Know That We Got You, 2017. Graphite on paper, 365.9 x 609.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Syrus Marcus Ware
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