CAFKA.21: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost


Image: Laura Watson (2021)

CAFKA Announces 2021 Biennial Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost
Summer 2021

Participating Artists:
Hiba Abdallah (Toronto)
Rouzbeh Akhbari & Sahar Te (Toronto)
Khadija Baker (Montreal)
Karina Bergmans (Ottawa)
Shary Boyle (Toronto)
Critical Media Lab – Marcel O’Gorman and Jennifer Clary-Lemon (Kitchener)
Ernest Daetwyler (Waterloo Region)
Raven Davis (Halifax/Toronto)
Chun Hua Catherine Dong (Montreal)
Aaron T. Francis (Kitchener)
Daniel Griffin Hunt (Toronto)
Shawn Johnston / Land Back Camp (Kitchener)
Longernin Collective (Waterloo)
Caroline St-Laurent And Liliane Moussa (Montreal)
Jane Tingley (Kitchener/Toronto)
Laura Watson (Sackville)

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, CAFKA is pleased to announce the CAFKA.21 biennial, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost. In line with ever evolving public health directives, the biennial will take place as a series of activations throughout the course of the summer, bringing contemporary art to primarily outdoor public spaces across Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

CAFKA.21’s theme, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, is an invitation to reflect on our everyday practices, our values, and our hopes – particularly as we navigate a global pandemic and rethink our place in the world, and in our communities. The theme likewise asks us to reflect on the things that could, and perhaps should, be left behind. The biennial addresses pressing social questions and illustrates how we can collectively and creatively overcome the challenges and entangled issues laid bare throughout the course of the pandemic. CAFKA.21 artists, organizers, volunteers and supporters have worked tirelessly to produce innovative embodied experiences that transcend the confines of our screens and can be accessed in a safe, socially distanced manner in addition to hybrid virtual encounters. This year’s biennial program maps the places where we can connect with art: outdoors, in parks, along urban walkways, and on public transit lines, among others. In response to our current collective reality, we encourage audiences to live in the moment and to treasure the memories we make as we move through these extraordinary times. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost features over 15 artist projects commissioned and presented by CAFKA as well as our curatorial partners, including performance, photographic and sculptural installations as well as interactive media.

CAFKA would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of its curatorial partners: Cambridge Art Galleries/ Idea Exchange, Cambridge Sculpture Garden, City of Kitchener, Critical Media Lab, Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Longernin Collective and University of Waterloo Art Gallery.

As CAFKA celebrates its 20th anniversary as the longest running public art forum in Ontario, we intend to highlight legacy installations from past biennials and special projects that are still publicly accessible throughout the region alongside this year’s program. CAFKA’s mandate has always focussed on bringing thought-provoking artistic interventions to the spaces people frequent in the region, and this year is no different.


Shary Boyle, White Elephant (2021). Aluminum, polystyrene, porcelain, underglaze, synthetic hair, epoxy, textiles, motor, electronics. 244 cm x 152 x 212 cm. Commissioned by Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area (CAFKA). Photo: John Jones 2021

Installations and themes explored throughout the biennial will be activated by a robust series of public programs including commissioned performances, screenings and artist talks as well as through the CAFKA Summer Reading Series – White Elephant Edition beginning June 8th. Drawing from artist Shary Boyle’s commissioned work, White Elephant (2020), CAFKA’s program committee has designed a series of book clubs, discussion groups, and public lectures that seek to interrogate racism and white supremacy, drive community dialogue on issues of social justice, and facilitate working strategies to actively dismantle ongoing systems of oppression. CAFKA invites active participation in these programs of learning and unlearning, and is encouraged by the possibility of transcending geographic boundaries through international dialogue with participants.

Please consult individual artist and program pages on the CAFKA.21 website for additional information and accurate dates as programming necessarily shifts in line with public health regulations.

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Established in 2001, CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area) is a non-profit, artist-run organization that presents a free biennial exhibition of contemporary art in public spaces of the City of Kitchener and across the surrounding regions. CAFKA commissions contemporary artists from Ontario, across Canada and abroad, to develop new temporary art projects that respond to the specific features of the local urban landscape and culture. The CAFKA biennial brings to the KW region installations, performances, projections, and interventions involving collaborations with concurrent music and cultural festivals and Regional art institutions. During non-biennial seasons, CAFKA presents special projects, workshops, videos, public lectures, and other ancillary programs and events.

The CAFKA biennial is created to take the experience of contemporary art out of the gallery, to present it as a critical and integral part of community life, and to make that experience accessible to everyone in the Region. The exhibition is curated to engage public discourse around issues of public and private space, bringing groundbreaking artists from around the world to contribute to the discussion.

CAFKA acknowledges that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The Region of Waterloo is situated on Block 2 of the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.



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