Art Exhibition: Messmates

Adelaide at Peter by Brandon Prince
Monday, October 21, 2019 - 6:00pm to Friday, November 1, 2019 - 9:30pm

OCAD University’s Faculty of Art is hosting a group exhibition focusing on climate justice, opening October 21, and culminating in a panel titled “Creative action during climate crisis,” on November 1. The submission-based exhibition, co-curated by Michelle Beck and Dana Snow, focuses on the idea of a multispecies interconnectivity that makes every organism necessary to one another in their surrounding environs. Messmates are companions – in Latin “cum panis” – who share bread and rely on each other for survival. 

The exhibition serves as an entry point to thinking about how we engage with the land and the land’s resources: How do we make room for a relationship with land other than one of ownership? How do we navigate our own complicity in colonial and capitalist environmental destruction? What does it mean to push through collective grief for the land and to strategize?

Messmates is not an end point, but a call to action. The exhibition encourages the audience to ask each other to do more: to advocate for changes in policy; to use our bodies and our art to protest; to listen and learn from one another; and to value collaboration, interconnection and care in a radical sense.

Featured artists include:

Annie Chen, Athena Katerina, Beehive Collective, Chief Lady Bird, Brandon Prince, Carolina Uscategui, Chelsea Smith, Ghazal Vakilzadeh, Gina D'Aloisio, Huaijun Wen, Patrick Stochmal, Sandra Dammizio, Sean Sandusky, Skylar Cheung, Tamar Bresge, Zishou Li

Exhibition dates:

October 21 to November 1, 2019

Ada Slaight Gallery, OCAD University

100 McCaul St.

Closing Reception: November 1, 2019, 5:30 to 7 p.m.


Panel: Creative Action during Climate Crisis  - November 1, 2019   

Moderated by Joce Two Crows Tremblay

OCAD University

100 McCaul St.

Room 190, Auditorium



Maya Menezes (The Leap and Noone is Illegal)

Andrea Bastien (Indigenous Climate Action)

Daniel Sarah Karasik (Artists for Climate & Migrant Justice and Indigenous Sovereignty)

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. − Messmates artist talk and reception
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. − Creative Action during Climate Crisis panel
8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. − Panel reception



Thank you to OCAD U’s Office of the President, Alumni Relations and Faculty of Art for their support. Thank you to Ryerson Unifor Chair, Social Justice and Democracy and Ryerson Student Union.

Coordination by b.h. Yael and Victoria Ho

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University Ada Slaight Gallery 100 McCaul St.
416 977-6000

Messmates: Call for Artists Submissions

Monday, October 7, 2019 - 1:00pm



"Messmates stands as an idea of a multispecies interconnectivity that makes every organism necessary to one another in their surrounding environs. Messmates are companions – in Latin “cum panis” – who share bread and rely on each other for survival. In the spirit of caring for our messmates, this exhibition is interested in empowering climate justice through an ethical, political, communal and spiritual approach to human relationships with the earth, and all forms of organic life. It seeks to qualify climate crises through: story and ceremony, land-based and transgenerational knowledge, and embodied and observational understandings of climate and its effects on natural systems.

How might communities care for each other through the intersections of climate justice? What could a world look like that puts empathy, altruism, and cooperation first, rather than share-holders’ wealth and resulting environmental exploitation? What can humanity learn about the need for alliance and harmony within our environments from listening to histories and experiences of adaptation and survival? How can artists help enact, disrupt and infiltrate policy-making surrounding climate change? How might these interventions work to implement long-term change?

Co-curators Michelle Beck and Dana Snow are seeking submissions from artists focused on climate justice, which can manifest as: imagined futures, stories concerning the earth and the tracks we leave on her, and concepts and strategies that help activate and mobilize communities.

Messmates: Call for Artists Submissions poster with details and a photo of clouds