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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (6)     +     OPENINGS (2)     +     DEADLINES (8)     +     CLOSINGS (15)
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Heather Hart
Northern Oracle

January 25 – April 1, 2017
Doris McCarthy Gallery
University of Toronto Scarborough

Opening Reception | Wednesday, January 25, 5 - 8:30 pm
Artist talk by Heather Hart at 7 pm
Free shuttle bus departs OCAD U (100 McCaul St.) at 6 pm, and returns at 8:30 pm


Northern Oracle is an ambitious rooftop installation that emerges from the floor of the gallery, and is accompanied by a series of mixed media drawings. Through her work, Heather Hart considers Black histories, access to ownership, taking up physical space, and the significance of having a place to call home. Visitors will be able to access both the rooftop and its floor level attic, while further contemplating and enacting upon the corollary of these vantage points. The “Oracle”, located in the attic, is the heart of the work and is a site-specific shrine where visitors may leave behind offerings.

Northern Oracle will provide a performative area, a locale for demonstration of power, influence, and direction where the idiom, “shout it from the rooftop” will be made literal. Throughout the exhibition, the space will be activated by performances, lectures and workshops.

Please see the guidelines around interacting with Northern Oracle.

Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council, Equity and Diversity in the Arts (Department of Arts, Culture & Media, University of Toronto Scarborough) and U of T’s Affinity Partner Manulife.


Heather Hart is a visual artist who works in a variety of media including interactive and participatory installation, drawing, collage, and painting. Her work has been included in a variety of publications and exhibited worldwide including at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, PA), the Gantt Center (Charlotte, NC), The Brooklyn Museum and the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park. She studied at Princeton and received her MFA from Rutgers. Born in Seattle, Hart now lives and works in Brooklyn.



All programming is free and takes place at the Doris McCarthy Gallery unless otherwise noted.

Artist talk by Heather Hart
Thursday, January 26, 1 - 2 pm
Part of the Visiting Artist Speaker Series, co-presented by the DMG and Department of Arts, Culture & Media

CRITS & CHILL with guest artist Heather Hart
Thursday, January 26, 6:30 pm
Y+ Contemporary, 1345 Morningside Avenue, Unit 15

Heather Hart will participate in January’s session of this monthly critique night at Y+ contemporary, providing opportunity for emerging artists in the Scarborough community, and beyond, to meet with other artists, discuss work and receive feedback in a supportive environment.

Northern Oracle: Activation/Open Studio (or a ritual of nest and flight)
Durational performance by Gabrielle Civil
Thursday, February 2, 12 - 4 pm
Abridged performance & discussion with Tanya Mars, 7 - 8:30 pm
Free shuttle bus departs OCAD U (100 McCaul St) at 6 pm, returning at 8:30 pm

Black feminist performance artist Gabrielle Civil will activate Northern Oracle and showcase her own performative process. Inspired by black feminist legacies and the energy of Hart’s work, Civil will become a "northern oracle" herself in real time. Reading, chanting, meditating, writing, and shouting from the rooftop, she will welcome visitors into an evolving ritual of homecoming, nest and flight. Later, she will perform a short, crystallized version of this ritual followed by a discussion with acclaimed Canadian performance artist Tanya Mars.

Contemporary Art Bus Tour
Sunday, February 26, 12 - 5 pm

Tour begins at Koffler Gallery (180 Shaw Street) at 12 pm and then departs for Blackwood Gallery, Art Gallery of York University and Doris McCarthy Gallery. Guided tours will be offered at each venue. Free, seats limited. To reserve, contact or 416.287.7007.

Spoken Word Workshop & Showcase
Wednesday, March 1
Workshop 3:30 - 5 pm
Reception & performances 6 - 8 pm
Co-presented with RISE Edutainment & ARTSIDEOUT

Randell Adjei of RISE will facilitate a free workshop that will focus on storytelling, spoken word and hip hop. Participants will be encouraged to explore their personal stories to gain understanding and to find healing. Register at In the evening, we’re celebrating local arts talent with a public reception and series of performances, curated by RISE, to be presented on and around Heather Hart’s rooftop – all are welcome!

Black Canadian Literature and the Aesthetics of Spatial Justice
Lecture by Karina Vernon, Assistant Professor of English, University of Toronto Scarborough
Wednesday, March 8, 12 - 1 pm

Heather Hart’s Northern Oracle, with its evocation of the uncanny house that is not one, gives shape to the central preoccupation of black Canadian literature with the problem of spatial justice. Black writers turn time and again to the metaphor of the unsafe house to relate and rework the histories of slavery, colonialism, forced removal and erasure that have left black Canada spatially vulnerable. This talk offers a tour through some literary homes for blackness from Halifax to Winnipeg in order to trace a black Canadian aesthetics of spatial justice.

Rooftop Crochet Workshop & Reflection
Saturday, March 25, 1 - 4 pm

Join Acts of Kindness (AoK!) for a drop-in, family-friendly, all-skills-level crochet workshop/jam session on and around Heather Hart's rooftop. Come get crafty, learn the basics of crochet, reflect and practice mindfulness, and have fun! We'll be creating small crochet projects to leave behind as an offering that other gallery goers can take away and make meaning of. Free, all materials supplied.


Doris McCarthy Gallery
University of Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4

Tuesday to Friday, 11 am to 4 pm; Wednesday to 8 pm; Saturday, Noon to 5 pm.
Admission is free. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.

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