Gudskul: Knowledge Garden Festival

Presented by The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU)

October 22 – December 12, 2021
Daily festival events from October 22 to 30

Toronto-area collectives participating in the exhibition include Diasporic African Womyn Art collective (DAWA), Department of Public Memory, Jane Street Speaks, LAL and Unit 2, The Pavilion, Reuben ‘Beny’ Esguerra and New Tradition Music, the plumb, Sensorium: Centre for Digital Art & Technology (AMPD), and Younger Than Beyoncé, as well as artists Lisa Myers, Joel Ong, Golboo Amani with Golnesa Amani, and Barbara Balfour with Lauren Nurse and Shannon Gerard.


The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) is excited to host Gudksul: Knowledge Garden Festival, a dynamic event-based exhibition. Gudskul Art Collective and Ecosystem Studies (or Gudskul for short, pronounced “good school” in English) is a collective of collectives based in Jakarta, Indonesia, comprised of Grafis Huru Hara, ruangrupa, and Serrum. Since 2018, Gudskul, has focused on working with art collectives to study and teach collaborative and sustainable practices through experimental dialogue and experience-based learning.

Knowledge Garden Festival puts on display Gudskul’s playful and collaborative way of working, their process of engaging with creative communities across Toronto, and invites audiences to join-in through art-making activities, workshops, and social gatherings. A concentration of events will take place daily from October 22 to 30, 2021. The physical display of the Knowledge Garden Festival and its events will cumulatively emphasize sharing and the exchange of knowledge, resources, and artworks — making visible the principles for generating and sustaining collective existence. The notion of sustaining collective existence builds on Gudskul’s use of lumbung, an Indonesian word and concept, that translates in English to “rice barn,” and is described by Gudskul as “a collective pot or accumulation system used in rural areas of Indonesia, where crops produced by a community are stored as a future shared common resource and distributed according to jointly determined criteria.” The practice of lumbung has guided Gudskul’s engagement with Toronto art collectives as they produced and disseminated a workbook, Collective as School, to unveil the values, economic, and material circumstances under which each collective operates. The workbook was then augmented by online monthly meetings known as Majelis (an Indonesian term denoting a form of assembly) that acted as a forum for collectives across Toronto and in Jakarta to exchange knowledge and consider shareable and sustainable resources in the development and presentation of the exhibition.

AGYU has commissioned the Knowledge Garden Festival led by Gudskul and supported by Younger Than Beyoncé, who collectively liaised and hosted the majelis. The art collectives and individuals who collaboratively produced this exhibition include Diasporic African Womyn Art collective (DAWA), Department of Public Memory, Jane Street Speaks, LAL and Unit 2, The Pavilion, Reuben ‘Beny’ Esguerra and New Tradition Music, and the plumb; artists Golboo Amani, Barbara Balfour, Emelie Chhangur, Abidin Kusno, Lisa Myers, and Joel Ong; and various York University student groups and Organised Research Units such as the York Centre for Asian Research and Sensorium. Curatorial and artist collectives Teabase, Aisle 4, Gentrification Tax Action, and Sister Co-Resister participated in the workbook and preliminary meetings. Gudskul’s Knowledge Garden Festival is collectively curated by AGYU curatorial.

KNOWLEDGE GARDEN FESTIVAL Schedule of Activities available online at

GALLERY HOURS: The AGYU will be open 7 days a week from 12 to 5pm, with extended hours for special events.

All events are free, but due to Covid capacity restrictions all who attend must register to visit the exhibition or attend an event: AGYU visitors will be required to pre-screen before coming to campus or attending associated events. You will receive an online questionnaire that will have to be filled out the day of your visit.

We encourage students and community engagement.
To organize tours, please contact Fatma Yehia, assistant curator:
For press inquiries, please contact Felicia Mings, Curator:
For accessibility and accommodation assistance please email

We would like to give special thanks to the Toronto–based artist collectives and individual artists who have supported and participated in the Knowledge Garden Festival. This residency and exhibition would not be possible without the generosity of your time and spirit. Thank you: Aisle 4, YTB, DAWA, Department of Public Memory, GTA, Jane Street Speaks, LAL/Unit 2, The Pavilion, New Tradition Music Mobile Studio Project, the plumb, Sister Co-Resister, and Teabase and artists and curators Golboo Amani, Barbara Balfour, Suzanne Carte, Emelie Chhangur, Reuben ‘Beny’ Esguerra, Lisa Myers, Abidin Kusno, and Joel Ong.


York University acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been taken care of by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Huron-Wendat. It is now home to many Indigenous Peoples from numerous First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.

The Art Gallery of York University in an institutional member of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective / Collectif des commissaires autochtones (ICCA). This membership holds us accountable to implement recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We would like to use this opportunity to share resources and support Indigenous communities. Support can look like many things, including working within institutions to dismantle systemic racism and inequities, ending violence against Indigenous women and 2spirit individuals, and advocating for Indigenous rights to land, language, and culture. We perceive a land acknowledgement as a living document that is revisited frequently as we learn, grow, and develop our relations to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

AGYU promotes 2SLGBTQIAP+ positive spaces & experiences and works towards being barrier free.

The AGYU is committed to anti-racism. We work to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that support Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.

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