2021: What does an art centre centre?


Agnes is a portal where we see across all directions and temporalities at once.

This year, constellations of exhibitions rotate, relate and proliferate on a space-time continuum.

No longer tethered to galleries defined by time periods and curatorial modalities that categorize and separate, Agnes is set free.

Join in our ex-centric trajectory toward new museological futurities.

Reopening 7 August 2021

7 August 2021–30 January 2022

In this realm of energy and spirit, interrelationships between all entities are of paramount importance, and space is a more important referent than time.
– Leroy Little Bear

Lii Zoot Tayr is the third in a series of exhibitions organized by Amy Malbeuf and Jessie Ray Short that explores the work of Métis artists. In this iteration, the artists—Malbeuf, Suzanne Morrissette, Tannis Nielsen, Tiffany Shaw-Collinge, and Short—ground themselves within and move beyond the earth and solar system to ruminate on outer, inner and deep space. With a particular focus on the ethereality of science and technology, the artists examine their relationships to unseen forces and concepts of spirit and in/visibility. The resulting artworks are charged with ancestral and personal dreams, memories, and stories that push and pull on the limitations of human perceptions and raise questions about how knowledge comes into being.

Curated by Amy Malbeuf and Jessie Ray Short

Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts: Creating, Knowing and Sharing: the Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples Program. Research was undertaken with residency and development support from the AGYU, Toronto (2018–2019). Jessie Ray Short would like to acknowledge support received for the development of this project from Calgary Arts Development.


7 August 2021–30 January 2022

Traditional masks from West Africa were used in masquerade rituals. These community-based, collective events take place outside and throb with other-worldly energy.
– Qanita Lilla

With Opened Mouths is an exhibition of traditional West African masks, face coverings, hoods, helmets and crests of the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection. Remixed with contemporary works by Oluseye and staged along-side Agnes’s 2021 acquisition of Zina Saro-Wiwa’s path-breaking Worrying the Mask: The Politics of Authenticity and Contemporaneity in the Worlds of African Art (2020), With Opened Mouths interrogates the authority of the museum and its outmoded colonial practices by creating vital and embodied ways of working with/in collections. The exhibition space is poetic and sensory, one that enables fluid and opaque dialogues between West African masks, contemporary art pieces, visitors and the other exhibitions at Agnes.

Curated by Dr Qanita Lilla, Associate Curator, Arts of Africa

Supported by the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Fund.

In this six-part podcast series, conversations between curator Qanita Lilla, artists, curators and spoken word poets speak truth to power, deepening kinships across Agnes’s year-long program. The podcast series features original music by Jameel3DN, produced by Elroy “EC3” Cox III and commissioned by Agnes, 2021.

Produced in partnership with CFRC 101.9fm and supported by the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Fund and the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

7 August 2021–7 November 2021

An outgrowth of the Dark Matter Playgroup micro-residency beginning in 2020, Superradiance is a group exhibition featuring new work by Andy Berg, GHY Cheung, Bicky Marquez, Chrissy Poitras, Noah Scheinman and Kyle Topping. Affiliated with Drift: Art and Dark Matter, the micro-residency takes up a conceptual notion of dark matter as an invisible and undetectable “mattering” that might pull together Playgroup participants. Superradiance is a refraction of this group’s shared and ongoing trajectory.

Curated by Michelle Bunton, Curatorial Assistant–Artist Residencies and Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art

Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts; City of Kingston Arts Fund, Kingston Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

7 August 2021–30 January 2022

Humour Me traces the development of caricature, across cultures and centuries, as a tool in dismantling power structures. While recognizing that caricature could be harmful in the reinforcement of stereotypes, this exhibition focusses on caricature that turns hierarchy on its head. The show draws from Agnes’s Canadian and European collections and highlights works from William Hogarth, Honoré Daumier and Elmer Boyd Smith. It also features self-reflective caricatures by Emily Carr, Pablo Picasso and John Young Johnstone.

Curated by Dr Maxime Valsamas, Curatorial Assistant, European Art

Supported by the Bader Legacy Fund at Queen’s University.

Continuing Exhibitions

To 15 August 2021

To 22 August 2021

To 6 September 2021


Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory, Agnes is a curatorially-driven and research-intensive professional art centre that proudly serves a dual mandate as a leading, internationally recognized public art gallery and as an active pedagogical resource at Queen’s University. By commissioning, researching, collecting and preserving works of art and by exhibiting and interpreting visual culture through an intersectional lens, Agnes creates opportunities for participation and exchange across communities, cultures, histories and geographies.

Agnes is committed to anti-racism. We work to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that support and centre the artistic expression and lived experience of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.

36 University Avenue
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
Facebook: @aeartcentre
Twitter: @aeartcentre
Instagram: @aeartcentre

Agnes is an accessible venue, details can be found here.

AGNES THANKS Queen’s University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, the City of Kingston Arts Fund, Kingston Arts Council, and through generous contributions by foundations, corporate partners, donors and members.

1) Tannis Nielsen, Creation (detail). Work in progress. Courtesy of the artist;
2) Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Dr Qanita Lilla;
3) Oluseye, Eminado series #200, 2019 and 2020, found rubber and object assemblage. Photo: Courtesy of Patel Brown Gallery and the Artist

For further information, contact Kate YĂĽksel, Communications Coordinator at kate.yuksel@queensu.ca.