Art Gallery of Burlington Winter 2022 Exhibitions and Programs

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Erdem Taşdelen, The Characters: Act I (installation view), The Bows (formerly Untitled Art Society), presented in partnership with EMMEDIA, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and The Bows. Photo: Katy Whitt.

An exercise in dramaturgy and dystopian reflection, The Characters: Act III by Erdem Taşdelen is the final act of a three-part audio installation taking center stage at the AGB when we emerge from the provincial closure. Based on the narratives of 30 stock characters and performed by voice actors from scripts developed by the artist, these fictional characters are recognizable archetypes representing a specific set of behaviours or thoughts. Their defining traits are borrowed from the work of Theophrastus, a Greek author of the 4th century BCE, who produced the first known set of character sketches in history, describing types of people such as “The Pennypincher,” “The Faultfinder,” and “The Grouch.” Peculiarly, all these 30 types, together titled The Characters, depict negative traits. Some scholars have speculated that a supplementary volume comprising positive types must also have existed, or at least been planned. In the absence of these, however, Taşdelen’s reading takes on a comical and poignant quality through its rather bleak representation of human nature. Curated by Natasha Chaykowski, the first two acts of The Characters were presented in Calgary, Alberta at The Bows (formerly Untitled Art Society) in partnership with EMMEDIA (2019) and in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at AKA Artist-Run (2020).

In the Lakeshore Gallery, the houselights illuminate the macrocosm of the universe with Joanna Strong’s galaxy of paintings. In a world filled with wonder, Constellations explores how we find patterns of meaning in the randomness of experience and the potency of objects as artifacts and repositories for stories.

Vita Plume takes the spotlight in the Perry Gallery with Recognition, a series of new works informed by her research on the beginnings of the AGB. Waiting in the wings since 2019, it is the final exhibition of the John Willard Fibre Artist-In-Residency program. Recognition explores themes of identity, labour, and craft, through a series of digital weavings honouring the people who dreamed of, realized, and continue to serve the studios as a site of creative learning for makers.

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Keet Geniza, LGBTQ+ Comic Club, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

The Characters is supported by a chorus of youth-led programs exploring narrative construction and character development. The AGB Digital steps into the limelight with two new programs in partnership with Reach Out Centre for Kids ROCK Hub, Our Community Cares and Positive Space Network (PSN).

ROCK Community Cookbook is a three-week program led by London UK-based designer Osman Bari guiding youth through the process of designing, writing, and illustrating a collaborative cookbook inspired by family history and cultural traditions shaped by shared experiences of food. These cookbooks will be Risograph printed by Toronto print studio Vide Press, and sold to raise funds for both ROCK and AGB programming following the program. Osman Bari is a graphic designer and writer. As a Pakistani-born immigrant and settler, he is passionate about design’s role in the creation and expression of cultural identity, particularly through language and storytelling. He holds a Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the University of Waterloo and started Chutney Magazine, a publication of stories of culture and identity, told by marginalized and misrepresented voices, in 2019. He is currently pursuing an MA in Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins in London.

LGBTQ+ Comic Club is a five-week program led by emerging comic artist Keet Geniza inviting participants to explore autobiography, gender identity, and narrative through the creation of their own comic zine. Keet will lead youth through an investigation of how the combined magic of words and images can empower and tell stories and mentor them through the creation of their own comics anthology that will be published at the end of the program. Keet Geniza is an illustrator and comic artist. Born and raised in Manila, they moved to Toronto in 2006 and have since made zines and comics to document their struggles as a queer immigrant person of colour. They recently illustrated the book Kimiko Does Cancer, a graphic memoir by Kimiko Tobimatsu, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. Find their art on their blog makeshiftlove.com and their Instagram @makeshiftlove.

These programs are delivered to community members through our collaborating service organizations. Please visit our partnering organizations’ websites to learn more about them and the communities they serve.


The AGB is supported by the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Educational outreach programming is presented in partnership with Reach Out Centre for Kids ROCK Hub, Our Community Cares, and Positive Space Network (PSN), Burlington and is generously supported by the Halton Region Investment Fund. Erdem Taşdelen would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

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