Toronto Biennial of Art Announces 2019 Featured Artists


Dana Claxton, Headdress-Dana, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist.


The Toronto Biennial of Art announces the participation of 44 Canadian, Indigenous, and international artists, collaborators and collectives presenting work at its inaugural event from September 21 to December 1, 2019. Co-curated by Candice Hopkins and Tairone Bastien, the free, 72-day event will include 20 new commissions and more than 100 works installed across 10 sites on or near Toronto’s waterfront. Further participants will be announced in August, along with details regarding the Biennial’s extensive public programs and creative partnerships.

Toronto sits on the edge of Lake Ontario, which is part of the Great Lakes—one of the largest freshwater systems on earth. The vision for the city’s first Biennial has been shaped by the multi-layered history of Toronto’s ever-changing waterfront—a site of migration, colonization, and commerce that includes relics of heavy industry, dense condominium developments, active and decommissioned military sites, lost rivers, manufactured parks, and human-made spits.

Toronto’s inaugural Biennial engages with the waterfront’s different ecosystems—environmental, cultural, spiritual, infrastructural, economic—to explore the effects of connection and disjunction. The contingencies among people, nature, and economies inform the Biennial’s central question: “What does it mean to be in relation?” Relations, both human and non-human, can reaffirm communion and generate ecosystems, but also have the potential to breed anxieties, glitches, anomie, and alienation.

Artists have responded to this query with works that expand awareness and examine the past and the present to project alternative futures: sculptures formed by the shape of soundwaves; multi-channel videos that bridge Indigenous and migrant storytellers; an ice core archive; installations that address our unsettled landscape; a massive diorama made from the rubble of the city; a public apology for Indigenous genocide. The works in the Biennial represent many voices, a reflection of Toronto’s status as the most diverse city in the world where its inhabitants speak over 170 languages and dialects.

Programs recurring throughout the Biennial include The Drowned World, a film series presented by guest curator Charles Stankievech at the Ontario Place Cinesphere, and two dynamic structures by Adrian Blackwell that act as gathering places for performance and other programming at two different Biennial sites.


Adrian Blackwell, Isonomia in a Settler State (Harbour), 2019. Model and model image courtesy of the artist. Production assisted by Daniel Abad.

Confirmed Biennial participants:

  • Maria Thereza Alves in partnership with Evergreen
  • Abbas Akhavan
  • AA Bronson
  • Adrian Blackwell
  • Hera Büyüktaşçıyan
  • Judy Chicago
  • Dana Claxton
  • Moyra Davey
  • Shezad Dawood in partnership with Fogo Island Arts, MOCA Toronto, A Tale of A Tub (Rotterdam)
  • Naufus Ramírez Figueroa
  • Laurent Grasso
  • Embassy of Imagination + PA System
  • Ramin Haerizadeh + Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian
  • Luis Jacob
  • Jae Jarrell in partnership with the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU)
  • Jumblies Theatre & Arts with Ange Loft
  • Kapwani Kiwanga
  • Jumana Manna
  • Qavavau Manumie
  • Caroline Monnet
  • New Mineral Collective (Emilija Škarnulytė and Tanya Busse)
  • The New Red Order: Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil and Jackson Polys in partnership with Gallery TPW
  • Fernando Palma Rodríguez
  • Napachie Pootoogook
  • Elder Duke Redbird in partnership with Myseum, SummerWorks, and Young People’s Theatre (YPT)
  • Lisa Reihana
  • ReMatriate Collective
  • Abel Rodríguez
  • Wilson Rodríguez
  • Arin Rungjang in partnership with Harbourfront Centre
  • Susan Schuppli in partnership with Office for Contemporary Art Norway
  • Lou Sheppard in partnership with the City of Toronto
  • Nick Sikkuark
  • Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak
  • Curtis Talwst Santiago
  • Althea Thauberger and Suzanne Kite in partnership with the Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship HMCS York
  • Caecilia Tripp in partnership with the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU)
  • Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca
  • Hajra Waheed
  • Syrus Marcus Ware in partnership with the Ryerson Image Centre


About the Toronto Biennial of Art

Launching in fall 2019, the Toronto Biennial of Art is a new international contemporary visual arts event that is as culturally connected and diverse as Toronto itself. For 10 weeks every two years, the city will be transformed by exhibitions, talks, and performances that reflect the local context while engaging with the world’s most pressing issues. In an effort to make contemporary art available to everyone, the Biennial’s free, citywide programming aims to galvanize citizens, bridge communities, and contribute to global conversations from a variety of perspectives.

For more information or to register for accreditation, visit: Follow @torontobiennial and #TObiennial19 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Toronto Biennial of Art Team
Executive Director: Patrizia Libralato
Exhibitions: Susannah Rosenstock, Deputy Director & Director of Exhibitions; Candice Hopkins, Senior Curator; Tairone Bastien, Curator; Katie Lawson, Assistant Curator; Kelly Tsipni-Kolaza, Manager; Ben Renzella, Production
Programs: Ilana Shamoon, Deputy Director & Director of Programs; Clare Butcher, Curator; Myung-Sun Kim, Associate Curator; Chiedza Pasipanodya, Curatorial Assistant; Keiko Hart, Programming Coordinator
Editorial & Creative Content: Nicola Spunt, Director; Gill Harris, Manager
Marketing & Communications: Sue Holland, Director; Megan Irwin, Coordinator
Development: Sabrina Maher, Manager; Jill Thorp-Shepherd, Coordinator
Finance: Mark Hirowatari, Manager; Alessandra Montefiore, Office and Finance Coordinator

– 30 –

Media Contacts:
For additional information, Libby Mark or Heather Meltzer at Bow Bridge Communications, LLC, Toronto: +1 647-544-8441, New York City, +1 347-460-5566;