Toronto Biennial of Art highlights this week: Performance by Laura Ortman | Storytelling: Lost Rivers | Art Educator Exchange with PA System


The inaugural edition of the Toronto Biennial of Art is approaching the halfway point, and in addition to more than 100+ artworks at 15+ locations, there are still several unique programs and events scheduled for the coming weeks. Between October 25 and 31, Biennial patrons can enjoy performances, walks, talks, screenings, an Art Educator Exchange and more!

This week, and throughout the Biennial, patrons will be treated to an amazing line-up of Storytellers, including: Fan Wu, Nadijah Robinson and Rebecca Flemister, plus, additional Storytelling options for group visits have been added.

For a complete overview of exhibiting artists, locations, and hours, plus, a comprehensive list of Programs and Events, please visit our website.

This week’s highlights include:

Artist Talk with Lisa Reihana and Julie Nagam
Program: Currents
Date: Fri, Oct 25
Time: 6-7pm
Location: Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

In conversation with curator Julie Nagam, artist Lisa Reihana speaks to her installation, In Pursuit of Venus, on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario and its sister project, House of Death, featured at 259 Lake Shore Blvd E.


Image (L): Laura Ortman. Photo by Marne Lucas. Courtesy the artist. Image (R): Lou Sheppard, Silent Spring: Sackville/Siknikt, 2019, graphic score for a community choral performance. Courtesy the artist.

Isonomia in Toronto

Performance by Laura Ortman
Program: Currents
Date: Fri, Oct 25
Time: 7-9pm
Location: 259 Lake Shore Blvd E.

Apache violinist Laura Ortman presents her performance: ROCKS. From the rosined-out beast of her tough stained violin emerges deranged crumpled wings twirling in starlight and oil slickness and shininess; bearing heavy use of amplification and effects, she also incorporates over-rosining to add smoke, dust, wind and slow-motion grittiness in her scored / improvised compositions for amplified violin, Apache violin, whistles, tree branches, slides, megaphone, guitar picks, bells and tuning fork.

Talk by Lou Sheppard
Program: Currents
Date: Sat, Oct 26
Time: 2-4pm
Location: Small Arms Inspection Building

In Lou Sheppard’s program, “Wintersong – Atlantic Flyway,” participants will learn to sing simple melodies based on the songs of birds that are migrating south from the Toronto area. Using rounds and harmonies we will create a choral soundscape- sounding the songs that will be missing over the winter, sending the birds on their way and calling them back in the spring. All are welcome regardless of prior choral or singing experience. Prior to the workshop Sheppard will give a brief talk about their work.

Antarctica: Live Performance
Artist: Syrus Marcus Ware
Program: Currents
Fridays from 6:15-6:45pm
Saturdays from 2-2:30pm and 3:15-3:45pm
Location: 259 Lake Shore Blvd E

Live theatrical performances take place every week as part of Antarctica, an installation that draws on the shared language of speculative fiction and political activism where the next generation of racialized activists offers insights into a future radically altered by climate change.

The Drowned World
Guest Curated by Charles Stankievech
Date and Time: Saturdays from 11am–4pm
Location: Ontario Place Cinesphere

During the Biennial, the Cinesphere becomes a world within a world, merging film and sound art with scent and changing atmospheric conditions. From cosmological origin stories, to a future in which civilization is extinct, The Drowned World contrasts deep time with the decline of global ecologies. The project’s title refers to J.G. Ballard’s 1962 archaeopsychic cli-fi novel in which the ice caps have melted and submerged the world, forcing the migration of a dwindling and devolving human species into the Canadian Arctic.


The Toronto Purchase Boundary, 1805, map, source unknown. Courtesy Toronto Public Library.

Storytelling: Lost Rivers Walk
Program: Storytelling
Date: Sun, Oct 27
Time: 2–4pm
Location: Small Arms Inspection Building

John Wilson of the Lost Rivers initiative guides a walk entitled Walk the treaty boundary of the “Toronto Purchase” through Marie Curtis Park to the mouth of Etobicoke Creek, on the border between Toronto (Etobicoke) and Mississauga. This river mouth was one of two points along Etobicoke Creek, used to survey the western line of the Toronto Purchase, the treaty between Indigenous Mississaugas of the Credit and the British Crown that permitted European settlement. This line still forms much of the boundary between York and Peel Regions. The walk traces this liminal landscape, following waterways once used as transportation routes by Indigenous peoples, to consider hidden narratives of alienation, accommodation, and resilience.

Event Note: This event starts at the Small Arms Inspection Building and ends at Marie Curtis Park.

Art Educator Exchange with PA System
Program: Tools for Learning
Date: Thurs, Oct 31
Time: 4–6pm
Location: 259 Lake Shore Blvd. E

Launching a series of Art Educator Exchanges, this first fall session brings art educators together with art collective PA System who collaborate with youth in Kinngait in the ongoing collective project Embassy of Imagination. Through discussion around the group’s installation in the Biennial, the session traces collaborative learning methodologies as the collective shifts between urban and remote contexts. Participants are invited to engage directly with PA System’s exercises and processes to interrogate the role of collective artistic approaches in place-making, challenging expectations of youth-engaged art.

About the Toronto Biennial of Art
The Toronto Biennial of Art (the Biennial/TBA) 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 of our time. In an effort to make contemporary art available to everyone, the Biennial’s free, citywide programming aims to inspire people, bridge communities, and contribute to global conversations from a variety of perspectives.

For more information, visit:, @torontobiennial, and #TObiennial19 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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;