Carnival Portal

Carnival Portal, Anthony Gebrehiwot, 2022

ArtworxTO Pop Up Hub | Yorkdale

June 22 – September 4, 2022
Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto

Artwork by Candice Dixon, Jenny Baboolal, Fiona Compton, Vince Fraser and Quentin VerCetty

Curated by Dwayne Dixon for ArtworxTO – Toronto’s Year of Public Art.

About the Exhibit:
ArtworxTO Pop Up hub Carnival Portal exhibits a series of alternate stories of Caribbean Carnival as you travel through time and space. From its oppressive origins to its infectious expression of love and unity, visitors will experience a sensation that is, quite frankly, otherworldly. This exhibition will expand your understanding and appreciation of Caribbean Carnival culture and its ancestral journey through the lens of future generations.

Carnival became Caribana in Toronto as a one-time celebration of the Canadian Centennial in 1967 and continues today as the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, where twelve organized groups of parade participants, known as ‘Mas bands, portray a theme that is primarily reflected in its costumes. Carnival Portal welcomes you to explore the unity of this culture through the intersection of oppression, emancipation, and celebration, as you travel through time and space in the Carnival Arts.

Candice Dixon, Crown Jewels: Bloodline King, 2019, mixed media Carnival headpiece. Photo by Samuel Engelking.

The exhibition is divided into two rooms; one displaying costumes, headpieces and photography, and the other featuring augmented and virtual reality experiences. In the first room, explore the future of Carnival costume-making through the work of Candice Dixon; take in the stunning Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago through the photography of Jenny Baboolal; learn about Caribbean culture and history through the video work of Fiona Compton; and take in the Afrofuturist artwork of Quentin VerCetty.

In the second room, put on an Oculus headset and drop into a 360-degree video capture of the 2019 Toronto Carnival: jump inside a King costume; keep up with a Carnival band moving on the road; and join the crowd of spectators watching the bands go past. Once you jump out of Carnival 2019, prepare to get transported into Carnival’s future with Vince Fraser’s futuristic take on the evolution of Carnival costumes. Using augmented reality laid over archival Carnival photographs, Vince Fraser’s Portal works will take you through a cosmic journey as he merges digital content with the physical realm, at the intersection of where the past meets the future.

Saturday Workshop Series
Complementing the exhibition, ArtworxTO has partnered with Art Starts to produce a series of workshops exploring different facets of Carnival, running every Saturday in July from 2:00 – 4:00pm. Workshops are free to attend but space is limited, so registration via Eventbrite is required.

July 2: Dance Soca with Zahra
July 9: Caribbean Cooking with Chef Kareema
July 16: Carnival Curious Poster Making with Ashley T.
July 23: Toronto Carnival Make-Up Tutorial with Asha

Calligraphy Backpiece, Candice Dixon, 2018

The exhibition is located in Centre Court of Yorkdale Shopping Centre, near Melanie Lyne. Mall directory screens can be used to locate the exhibition.

The exhibition is open Wednesday–Sunday, 11:00am–7:00pm.

About ArtworxTO
ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022 is a year-long celebration of Toronto’s exceptional public art collection and the creative community behind it. Working closely with artists and Toronto’s arts institutions, the City of Toronto is delivering major public art projects and commissions, citywide, from fall 2021 to fall 2022. Supporting local artists and new artworks that reflect Toronto’s diversity, ArtworxTO is creating more opportunities for Torontonians to engage with art in their everyday lives. This year, explore your city and discover creativity and community – everywhere. Visit for full details.

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