Desmond A. Miller: Aesthetics of the Archives

2019-2020 John Willard Fibre Arts Resident


Desmond A. Miller, 33, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. Cotton synthetic blend.

Desmond A. Miller
Aesthetics of the Archives

March 7 – April 26, 2020
Reception: Saturday March 14, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Artist’s opening remarks: 2:30 pm
Community Gallery, Art Gallery of Burlington

Aesthetics of the Archives explores the Caribbean and European ancestry of Canadian Artist and Researcher Desmond A. Miller. Through a focus on his paternal family’s location within the Black Diaspora, Miller draws on personal, family and institutional archives to create representations of family elders. In Aesthetics of the Archives, he uses poetry, photography and textiles to disrupt linear ideas of time, trouble fixed notions of archives and invite pathways for being in good relation with the other-than-human world.

Reading Aesthetics of the Archives
Saturday, March 28, 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Join writer Whitney French and Artist/Researcher Desmond A. Miller for a facilitated group discussion of themes explored in Aesthetics of the Archives. Engage with fellow participants in conversation about topics such as family ancestry, self-discovery and connecting with the wider field of other-than-human relations in the world.

Death, Dying and the Ancestors
Saturday, April 11, 2:30 – 3:30 pm
Join Death Doula Consultant Danielle F. Lobo and Artist/Researcher Desmond A. Miller for a facilitated group discussion on a wide range of topics related to death. Let’s normalize conversations about dying and the ancestors and consider how preparing for end of life may support us to live more fully.

The John Willard Fibre Arts Residency

This year marked the fifth anniversary of the John Willard Fibre Arts Residency. The program celebrates the remarkable life and art of John Willard and continues the legacy of his career as a fibre artist and teacher. The Residency Fund enables artists access to the Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) textile studios, which include Rug Hooking, Handweaving and Spinning, and Fibre Arts, to develop a new body of work for a solo exhibition at the AGB.

This past fall the AGB welcomed Desmond A. Miller (Toronto, ON) to learn from and work with the guild artists as he researched, skill shared, and extended his practice to reach new communities. Miller, MEd, is an artist and researcher who works with stories; his work explores themes of family ancestry, balancing the masculine and feminine, practical animism, and the spaces in between. Miller’s practice employs textiles, poetry, photography and group facilitation. He is currently employed by Ryerson University as the Community Research Coordinator (Toronto) for the community-based research program weSpeak: Heterosexual Black Men Building Resilience to HIV in Ontario. Miller lives in Toronto, Canada, traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee. Learn more at

Still on view at the Art Gallery of Burlington:


Shellie Zhang, $24.76, 2019, Courtesy of the artist

Division of Labour is an exhibition bringing together artists who address issues of class, race, and labour as they relate to cultural waste. On view from January 10 to March 29, 2020, the exhibition includes the works of nine artists who utilize recycled material to illustrate the power and potential of reused matter for artistic production. The exhibition and ancillary programming are designed to educate about the scarcity of resources, labour rights, and the lack of living wages in the arts.

Featured artists include ro Barragan (Buenos Aires), Patrick Cruz (Toronto), Atom Cianfarani (Montreal), Nicolas Fleming (Toronto), Marlene Jess (Vancouver), Lisa Meecham (Burlington), Joaquin Wall (Buenos Aires), Allyson Vieira (New York), and Shellie Zhang (Toronto).

The Artist Material Fund is a service to relocate material and diminish waste produced in the art industry, while providing resources to artists for production. The Artist Material Fund actively cultivates an environment that supports and promotes the sharing of under-used goods to realize their full potential value and the building of more efficient studios. Materials collected from cultural institutions in the GTHA are available for free to artists and individuals in the community. It is a simple model of saving material from the landfill and filling an artist’s studio with possibilities. Throughout the exhibition come by and help yourself to free materials such as building supplies, paint, equipment, fabric, and more.

Division of Labour is generously supported by our Title Exhibition Sponsor RBC Wealth Management and our Activation Sponsor Durward Jones Barkwell & Company LLP. We acknowledge the contribution of the Ontario Arts Council. The Artist Material Fund is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Community partners include BurlingtonGreen, Centre[3], and Workers Arts & Heritage Centre.

Desmond A Miller would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Council.

The Art Gallery of Burlington is a public art gallery, community art centre, and studio where creators, cultures, and communities converge. It is home to the world’s largest collection of contemporary Canadian ceramics, as well as seven art and craft guilds. The AGB is proud to acknowledge that the land where it is located is part of the ancient Dish With One Spoon Treaty and also the Brant Tract Purchase, Treaty No. 3 3/4 of 1795, and it is grateful to the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Six Nations of the Grand River for sharing this territory.

Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Road
Burlington, ON L7S 1A9
(905) 632-7796
The ABG is accessible.

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