Tanenbaum Lecture with Syrus Marcus Ware


Syrus Marcus Ware photographed by Jalani Morgan.

Syrus Marcus Ware: Art, Activism, and Futurity

Tanenbaum Lecture
Ryerson University, School of Image Arts
122 Bond Street, room IMA-307, third floor
Wednesday, November 27, 7 pm

For two decades, Toronto-based artist and activist Syrus Marcus Ware has explored the themes of justice and climate change through his practice spanning painting, installation, performance, and video. In this talk, Ware discusses his hopes for the future of activism and how artistic practice can help us understand an uncertain world.

Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Ware uses drawing, painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture, and he’s shown widely in galleries and festivals across Canada. He is part of the Performance Disability Art Collective and a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. He has won several recognitions including the TD Diversity Award 2017, “Best Queer Activist” NOW Magazine 2005, and the Steinert and Ferreiro Award 2012.

Please arrive early to ensure seating.

The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Lecture Series is co-presented biannually by the Ryerson Image Centre and the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University.

Please contact us if we can make any accommodations to ensure your inclusion in this event.


Syrus Marcus Ware: Ancestors, Can You Read Us? (Dispatches From The Future) (installation view), 2019 © Larissa Issler, Ryerson Image Centre


The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture
Drawn from the extraordinary holdings of The Walther Collection, The Way She Looks revisits the history of African photographic portraiture through the perspectives of women, both as sitters and photographers. Spanning the beginnings of colonial photography on the continent to the present day, the exhibition features contemporary works by female artists, including Yto Barrada, Jodi Bieber, Lebohang Kganye, Zanele Muholi, Grace Ndiritu, and Nontsikelelo “Lolo” Veleko alongside 1950s studio portraits by such important historical figures as Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta, and nineteenth-century prints, cartes de visite, postcards, and albums.

Syrus Marcus Ware: Ancestors, Can You Read Us? (Dispatches From The Future)
Toronto-based artist Syrus Marcus Ware imagines a world where racialized people have survived the “Black death spectacle” writ large on the nightly news; survived the catastrophic impact of the Anthropocene; and survived the crushing effects of white supremacy. Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art and the RIC, the artist draws on the shared language of speculative fiction and political activism to transform the Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall into a portal through which the next generation of racialized activists communicate with us, their ancestors, and offer us insights into the future.

Grayson James: After Alexandria
In After Alexandria, Grayson James presents the printed book as a starting point for an aesthetics of collaboration. Using a variety of books and images as source material for exchange, the installation is an ongoing interactive space about reading, annotating, and responding to others. The artist will be on site on select Saturdays to lead readings and open discussion with visitors on a range of themes. More details can be found at ryersonimagecentre.ca.


Wednesday, December 4, 6 pm
Special exhibition tour of The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture with Gaëlle Morel and Kenneth Montague

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould Street) unless otherwise noted.

Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Free exhibition tours daily at 2:30pm

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Media Contact
Kristen Dobbin, Ryerson Image Centre, kristendobbin@ryerson.ca / T+416 979 5000 x7032