Announcing the New Stewards of Gendai

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Announcing Marsya Maharani and Petrina Ng
as the new stewards of Gendai

Founded in 2000 as Gendai Gallery, Gendai is a Toronto-based art organization that supports contemporary practices—primarily by East Asian artists and artists of colour. Drawing from the organization’s history of experimentation with collective models and practice of reconfigurability, collaboration, and adaptability, Gendai’s latest iteration is an innovative venture in institutional succession-planning. At the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art, Gendai announced the forthcoming retirement of all of its active members and published a Request for Proposals inviting a new generation of cultural producers to redefine the organization’s future.

Independent curator Marsya Maharani and artist Petrina Ng were selected to head an exciting new chapter of Gendai based on their proposal to create a supportive network of local art collectives.

“Responding to recent labour-related issues in cultural institutions in Canada, and to the growth of responsive and inventive programming by artist collectives, we propose to build on Gendai’s history to form an intergenerational ecosystem that fosters intercollective resource-sharing and a collaborative approach to knowledge-production. Gendai will advance the needs of its collective partners as a central administrative body and a site of research and experimentation on alternative governance structures, rhizomatic institutional building, and responsive support models that are informed by collective values and enriched by a diversity of knowledges,” said Maharani and Ng in their proposal.

This proposal was chosen by the outgoing Gendai team because of its potential to strengthen the entire sector by encouraging intercollective collaboration. “We want to thank past and present Gendai collaborators and are excited for Maharani and Ng to continue Gendai’s mandate to support artists of colour and encourage experimental forms of collaboration.”

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“We are grateful to Gendai for paving the way, and trusting us to continue their 20-year legacy,” add Maharani and Ng. “As a long-term strategy, we want arts practitioners of colour to not only have meaningful representation in the larger cultural context, but also to shape it. We want to invest in our peers as the next generation of cultural leaders, and as radical thinkers and visionaries who offer new pathways towards more equitable futures.”

“In the next few months, Gendai will embark on a new research and development era. We will informally meet with GTA art collectives with majority BIPOC membership to gain a better understanding of the sector and to further formulate ideas for collaboration. We will also meet those who wish to support this vision as funders and institutional partners. We encourage those interested to send us an email to gendaicommons@gmail.com.”

BIOS
Marsya Maharani is an independent curator and researcher who works exclusively in collaboration with others, including as part of Younger Than Beyoncé Gallery and MICE Magazine. Informed by her position as an immigrant and settler, her projects explore experimentation in learning, working, and playing together that nourishes diverse ways of thinking. This is reflected in recent and ongoing collaborative projects that test models of profit-sharing (MOCA Goes Dark: Night Visions), resource-sharing (酬眾 fundingcrowd), and kitchen table knowledge-sharing (Souped Up). She is interested in the practice of collective care and radical friendship as grounds for institutional structure, work culture, and labour practices. She has worked institutionally at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College, and is on the board of SAVAC. She holds an MA from OCAD University and is currently a TAC Leaders Lab Fellow.

Petrina Ng is an artist and cultural organizer who is invested in collaborative practice. She is currently artist in residence at the Textile Museum of Canada. Her residency is culminating in March 2020 with a collaborative umbrella of programming that looks at colonial legacies abroad (in Hong Kong) and locally (within the Museum’s own spaces). Broadly, her research looks at diasporic loss and legacy, and the ways colonial histories continue to impact us in subtle or invisible ways. She has previously worked with and for many cultural institutions and continues to advocate for equity, representation, and accessibility within the sector. She is also co-founder of art book publishing house, Durable Good. She has studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and the University of Toronto.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Email us at gendaicommons@gmail.com.

Image 1: An evening work session in the Gendai Workstation’s backyard, 2012.
Image 2: Maharani and Ng moving the Gendai Library from Marilyn Jung’s home. The Gendai Library is designed by artist Adam Bobette and commissioned by Gendai. Photos by Marilyn Jung.