Frameworks for Gathering and Other Prototypes at Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Agnes on Retreat!

Agnes is now “on retreat,” which is what we are calling the period between January and June 2023. As we plan for our move off-site and the construction of Agnes Reimagined to begin, we take stock, pack and digitize our 17,000-object collection, and concentrate on developing our integrated and entangled approach to programming and practices of in-reach. We put the institution itself into residence as we research, reflect, and reassemble. And while our galleries are closed, we certainly won’t be absent!

Our retreat sees us renovate our “MacBrownLab” (an experimental arts ecosystem in a defunct Kingston community centre), launch Open Secret, a collection of film screenings, artist conversations and workshops with artists Parastoo Anoushahpour, Kriss Li, Sharlene Bamboat, and Sofía Gallisá Muriente, produce the first Canadian Assembly of Zina Saro-Wiwa’s Illicit Gin Institute; host a spoken word workshop series with Billie the Kid; and prototype and welcome the commoning practices that guide our closure by turning our current facility over to art-making initiatives and family-friendly studio programs.

Here are some highlights:

Open Secret: Screenings + Workshops
January–April 2023
Free screenings take place at The Screening Room, 120 Princess Street, Kingston. Workshops hosted at Agnes Workshop registration limited to students.

Open Secret features artists Parastoo Anoushahpour (19 + 20 January), Kriss Li (9 + 10 February), Sharlene Bamboat (9 + 10 March) and Sofía Gallisá Muriente (6 + 7 April). The series of screenings and workshops take its departure from Fred Moten’s words that “poetry investigates new ways for people to get together and do stuff in the open, in secret,” and evokes cinema’s capacity to condition spaces for gathering. The double maneuver of opacity and transparency inherent in cinema’s making sets the precedent for this sort of investigation embedded in collaboration.

Curated by Nasrin Himada

Partners: The Screening Room; OPIRG Kingston; REELOUT: Kingston’s Queer Film + Video Festival; Department of Film + Media, Queen’s.

LOOKING AHEAD: Zina Saro-Wiwa: The Illicit Gin Institute and Kingston resonances

In the Kingston chapter of Zina Saro-Wiwa’s Illicit Gin Institute, we think about Black histories as illicit to a city imagined as white through a commissioned Assembly and Podcast. We consider fermentation as a process of agitation, ebullition and preservation as we undergo an intense period of research, following lines of connection between illicit alcohol production, saloons, transportation, and freedom with a particular Kingston family at its core, the Minks, who were Black entrepreneurs in Kingston in the 1800s. The Assembly on March 31 takes place at, and in collaboration with, Hotel Wolfe Island.

A film screening on 14 March of Worrying the Mask: The Politics of Authenticity and Contemporaneity in the Worlds of African Art (2020) and talk with Zina Saro-Wiwa is presented in partnership with The Isabel Centre for the Performing Arts.

Curated by Emelie Chhangur, Qanita Lilla and Sebastian De Line

Generously funded by the Chancellor Dunning Trust Visitorship, Queen’s University.

Ongoing Programs

From the Hearth: Introduction to poetry and spoken word with Billie the Kid
February–April 2023
From the Hearth is a drop-in workshop series led by K’ai Taile Dené and Nehiyaw community activist and Kingston-based spoken word poet and story-teller Billie the Kid. Facilitated by Qanita Lilla.

Art Hive @Agnes
Thursdays, 2 February–9 March, 4–6 pm
A hands-on studio-based art and wellness workshop facilitated by Art Therapist Harper Johnston. No experience necessary. Curated by Charlotte Gagnier.

Creation Station (for families)
Sundays, 19 February, 19 March, 23 April and 21 May, 2–3:30 pm
Free studio program designed to give families an exploratory artmaking experience led by art educators. Facilitated by Charlotte Gagnier.

Travelling and Off-Site Exhibitions

Where Were You in ’92?
An iteration of Agnes’s fall exhibition Where Were You in ’92? by Pamila Matharu travels to OPTICA, A Centre for Contemporary Art, Montréal 21 January–18 March 2023

Hilos Conductores
SUR Gallery, Toronto
2 February–1 April 2023
Co-presented by Agnes, Sur, and Textile Museum of Canada, Hilos Conductores brings together arpilleras created during the Chilean dictatorship with recent work of textile artists and collectives to follow threads linking our lives and futures across the Americas. Curated by Nathalia Santos Ocasio.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre logo

Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Situated within territories of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat, Agnes is a curatorially-driven and research-intensive professional art centre proudly serving a dual mandate as a leading, internationally recognized public art gallery and as an active pedagogical resource at Queen’s. By commissioning, researching, collecting and stewarding works of art and by exhibiting and interpreting visual culture through an intersectional lens, Agnes creates opportunities for participation and exchange across communities, cultures, histories and geographies.

Agnes is committed to anti-racism. We work to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that centre the artistic expression and lived experience of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Agnes promotes 2SLGBTQIAP+ positive spaces.

36 University Avenue
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @aeartcentre
Agnes is an accessible venue.

AGNES THANKS Queen’s University, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, City of Kingston Arts Fund, Kingston Arts Council, and through generous contributions by foundations, corporate partners, donors and members.

1. Agnes on Retreat! Façade signage by Mark Birksted, Watermark by Vince Perez. Photo: Mark Birksted
2. (left to right, top to bottom): Portrait of Parastoo Anoushahpour. Courtesy of artist; Portrait of Kriss Li. Courtesy of artist; Portrait of Sharlene Bamboat. Photo: Yuula Benivolski; Portrait of Sofía Gallisá Muriente. Photo: Alberto Santiago
3. Henry Henderson, Kingston, ON, about 1875, albumen print. McCord Stewart Museum. Gift of Dr Francis McLennan