2020 Winter Programming: Division of Labour | interlude | Artist Material Fund

The Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) proudly announces its winter programming Division of Labour, interlude, and the Artist Material Fund opening Friday January 17 from 7 – 10pm.


Shellie Zhang, $24.76, 2019, Courtesy of the artist

Division of Labour is an exhibition bringing together artists who address issues of class, race, and labour as they relate to cultural waste. On view from January 10 to March 29, 2020, the exhibition includes the works of nine artists who utilize recycled material to illustrate the power and potential of reused matter for artistic production. The exhibition and ancillary programming are designed to educate about the scarcity of resources, labour rights, and the lack of living wages in the arts.

Featured artists include ro Barragan (Buenos Aires), Patrick Cruz (Toronto), Atom Cianfarani (Montreal), Nicolas Fleming (Toronto), Marlene Jess (Vancouver), Lisa Meecham (Burlington), Joaquin Wall (Buenos Aires), Allyson Vieira (New York), and Shellie Zhang (Toronto).

We are living in a time of increasing economic uncertainty, wage gaps, and class divides. Barter economy systems, critical discourse about consumption, and circuits of solidarity exchange are more present than ever in the daily working lives of artists and cultural producers. Division of Labour uses this moment to consider the true cost of artists’ labour and economic parity through their recovery of and access to excess material. The exhibition is not simply a display of objects constructed from trash, but works to support the building of new networks, resources, and methods for the sustainability of artists’ work. It goes beyond accessing free material to open dialogue about the systemic issues inherent in class dynamics, underemployment, and labour exploitation that plague the cultural industry.


anique jordan, These Times, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

Curated by safia siad, interlude brings together works from jamilah malika abu-bakare, anique Jordan, pamila matharu, adee Roberson, and alize zorlutuna that meditate on the concept of rest and the necessary spaces carved out for pause and preservation. when moving through grief, capitalism, intergenerational trauma, and daily existence, how can we support each other in re-shaping our time? how can we remember our dreams? thinking around a yearning for deep reflection and ease, the exhibition brings these breathing spaces into focus.


Artist Material Fund. Photo credit: Alexandria Nelson

It’s important to put talk into action! The Artist Material Fund is a service to relocate material and diminish waste produced in the art industry, while providing resources to artists for production. The Artist Material Fund actively cultivates an environment that supports and promotes the sharing of under-used goods to realize their full potential value and the building of more efficient studios. Materials collected from cultural institutions in the GTHA are available for free to artists and individuals in the community. It is a simple model of saving material from the landfill and filling an artist’s studio with possibilities. Throughout the exhibition come by and help yourself to free materials such as building supplies, paint, equipment, fabric, and more.

Marlene Jess Performance
Moving Slush, Hamilton/Burlington
Saturday January 11, 2020
Leaving Centre[3], 173 James Street North, Hamilton @ 9:00 am
Arriving at AGB, 1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington @ 1:00 pm
Participate in a silent walk from Hamilton to Burlington with Vancouver-based artist Marlene Jess as she transports remnants and debris from a performance work at the Centre[3] to the AGB. While moving material from one place to the next, Jess asks us to meditate on trade and transportation routes in the GTHA as they pertain to the shifting economic tides of industrial and cultural production.

Friday, January 17, 7 – 10 pm
Join us for the opening night of the winter exhibitions with activities, food, and music! This is a full fair of free offerings including a performance by Atom Cianfarani featuring their Operate With Less (OWL) handmade styrofoam shredding machine, a newly commissioned dance/aerobic work by Joaquin Wall, a sonic intervention by Adee Roberson, zine-making with Tara Bursey, hands-on learning with BurlingtonGreen, upcycling plastic toys with Tiny Toy Company, and bumping beats of DJ Smooth Transitions and DJ Donna Lovejoy.

Artists Tour
Saturday, January 18, 1 – 2:30 pm
Led by Senior Curator, Suzanne Carte
Artists from Division of Labour Joaquin Wall, Shellie Zhang, Lisa Meecham, Nicolas Fleming, and Atom Cianfarani walk through the exhibition and discuss their work.

Repair Café
Saturday, January 18, February 15, and March 21, 12 – 3 pm
Repair Café is a grassroot, volunteer-run organization that holds monthly gatherings in the GTHA where “fixers” help visitors learn how to repair items for free. It aims to build a more sustainable society, counter the “throw-away” mindset, and to place value on people who have repair skills and organizations that collaborate and innovate for the common good.

Division of Labour is generously supported by our Title Exhibition Sponsor RBC Wealth Management and our Activation Sponsor Durward Jones Barkwell & Company LLP. We acknowledge the contribution of the Ontario Arts Council. The Artist Material Fund is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Community partners include BurlingtonGreen, Centre[3], and Workers Arts & Heritage Centre.

The Art Gallery of Burlington is a public art gallery, community art centre, and studio where creators, cultures, and communities converge. It is home to the world’s largest collection of contemporary Canadian ceramics, as well as seven art and craft guilds. The AGB is proud to acknowledge that the land where it is located is part of the ancient Dish With One Spoon Treaty and also the Brant Tract Purchase, Treaty No. 3 3/4 of 1795, and it is grateful to the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Six Nations of the Grand River for sharing this territory.

Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Road
Burlington, ON L7S 1A9
(905) 632-7796

ABG is accessible.

Media contact: Laura Buisman, Marketing Coordinator, 905-632-7796, ext. 304 or laura@agb.life