Genealogies of Sustenance at the Gardiner Museum

Photo: Courtesy of Mallory Lowe Mpoka

Genealogies of Sustenance

January 19 – May 12, 2024
Gardiner Museum, Toronto

Free Opening Reception & Panel
Friday January 19, 6 – 8 pm
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Free Curator Tour
Saturday February 24, 3 – 4 pm
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Curated by Sarah Edo, Gardiner Museum Curatorial Resident, Genealogies of Sustenance explores experimental and traditional craft forms and techniques that meditate on themes of sustenance, ancestral and embodied memory, as well as plant life stories in regions across Africa and the Black diaspora. The exhibition brings together ceramic installations and film by Chiedza Pasipanodya, Mallory Lowe Mpoka, and Zainab Aliyu, artists whose visual and conceptual strategies sew together threads of hybridity, abundance, and transformative imagination.

The Gardiner Museum Curatorial Residency program supports the next generation of curators and promotes new approaches to the study and presentation of ceramics. The Curatorial Residency is made possible through the generous support of the Rebanks Family.

The exhibition is produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

For more information, visit

Photo: Courtesy of Chiedza Pasipanodya

About the Curator

Sarah Edo is an emerging curator, researcher, and cultural worker born and based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Her practice and research orbit themes of Black visual and material cultures and queer diasporic sensibilities. Edo holds a Masters in Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. She has curated exhibits and programs with BAND Gallery (2022), Images Film Festival (2023), and Whippersnapper Gallery (2023). Her art writing has been featured in Studio Magazine, BlackFlash Magazine, C Magazine, and 1919Mag. Edo recently joined the Toronto Biennial of Art team as a Curatorial Fellow, Programs.

About the Artists

Chiedza Pasipanodya is an artist, curator, and writer. Their research-based practice emerges from southern African ways of being, knowing, and aesthetics, and is informed by African pottery and social practice. They use clay as a tool for translation, recording, and remembering.

Pasipanodya completed a BFA (Hons) in Criticism and Curatorial Practices at OCAD University in 2019. They have exhibited at Art Gallery of Burlington, Nia Centre for the Arts, Xpace Cultural Centre, and Whippersnapper Gallery, among others, and curated exhibitions with the Art Gallery of Peterborough, Aspace Gallery, BAND Gallery, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, and Nuit Blanche. They were a Toronto Biennial of Art Curatorial Fellow (2022). They live and work in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Harare, Zimbabwe; and Toronto, Ontario. Pasipanodya is an MFA candidate in the Sculpture department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Class of 2025.

Mallory Lowe Mpoka is a Cameroonian Belgian artist who works between Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal) and Douala. Through her practice centered on photography, textiles, and ceramics, Mpoka addresses nuanced themes related to migration, hyper/(in)visibility, and memory. Moving across analog photography, handprinting techniques, and natural dying on textiles, she weaves together archival images, family photographs, and self-portraitures to create poetic compositions that marry personal experience and collective memory.

Mpoka was a Villa Lena Foundation artist-in-residence in 2021 and has been nominated as a finalist for the Access ART x Prize 2022-23 by Art x Lagos and Yinka Shonibare’s Foundation. She is also the winner of the Malick Sidibé Prize by the Bamako Encounters – African Biennale of Photography, and the winner of the Royal Bank of Canada Future Launch Scholarship 2023. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at Atiss Dakar Gallery, 1-54 NYC, Art Toronto, Next Contemporary, SAVVY Contemporary Berlin, and Centre Phi, among others.

Zainab “Zai” Aliyu is a Nigerian-American artist and cultural worker living in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn, NY). She draws upon her body as a corporeal archive and site of ancestral memory to craft counter-narratives through sculpture, video, installation, built virtual environments, printed matter, archives, and community-participatory (un)learning. Aliyu is currently a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation, design director for the African Film Festival at the Film at Lincoln Center in NYC, and a 2023-24 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow. Her work has been shown at Film at Lincoln Center (NYC), Museum of Modern Art Library (NYC), Miller ICA (Pittsburgh), the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (Hong Kong), Casa do Povo (São Paulo, Brazil), Aktuelle Architektur der Kulturimages (Murcia, Spain), and Pocoapoco (Oaxaca, Mexico), among others.

Photo: Courtesy of Zainab Aliyu

About the Gardiner Museum

The Gardiner Museum brings together people of all ages and communities through the shared values of creativity, wonder, and community that clay and ceramic traditions inspire.

We engage audiences with exhibitions, programs, and hands-on classes, while stewarding a significant permanent collection. We interpret historical ceramics to emphasize their relevance today, and champion emerging and established Canadian artists and their role in the broader world. We innovate through clay education, as we bring together the experience of making with a deeper understanding of the art of ceramics.

We believe in making, looking, and thinking through clay.

The Gardiner Museum has a collection of over 5,000 objects from the Ancient Americas, Europe, Japan and China, as well as contemporary works with an emphasis on leading Canadian artists. The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics and is one of the world’s most notable specialty museums.

For more information, please visit:


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