Neighbourhood Art Tour with Anique J. Jordan

 

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 4:00am

On September 8, graduate students from the Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design  and Criticism and Curatorial Practice programs joined artist Anique J. Jordan for a unique neighbourhood tour that highlighted the hidden history of a construction site close to OCAD University.

The tour started behind City Hall on Chestnut Street where the new provincial courthouse building is planned for construction. Anique shared with the group that this site has a deep history that is obscured by the large, grey, hoarding that now traces the perimeter of the lot. Upon beginning construction, the development company discovered thousands of cultural artifacts from the site’s history as the location of a British Methodist Episcopal church, rooted in one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the city called The Ward. Originally built in 1845, the church was a crucial site for Toronto’s black community playing an important role as a spiritual, community, and cultural centre.

Now the site is surrounded by imposing hoarding that demands to ‘post no bills’; it offers no narrative or suggestion of the site as one of historical civic significance. Anique is particularly interested in what she perceives as an erasure of the histories of the black and immigrant communities that previously thrived in that neighbourhood. With no signage, no commemoration, and no invitation for conversation, the current construction site illuminates a complicated relationship between historical preservation and the high-speed drive for new development in Toronto.

From this former church site Anique led the tour group to the Art Gallery of Ontario’s exhibition The Idea of North, where works by contemporary artists are exhibited alongside paintings by the iconic Canadian artist Lawren Harris. Anique’s works in the exhibition speak directly to the history of the black community within The Ward that Harris also used as a subject in many of his early paintings. Her works, that directly reference the Chestnut Street site, create a contemporary history that speaks back to the historical narratives that are currently being built over, in an attempt to recreate a more accurate and honest conversation about the history of our city and its citizens.

This artist tour was organized by Dr. Andrea Fatona, the Graduate Program Director for the Criticism and Curatorial Practice program. It was part of Graduate Studies Orientation week where all new students were welcomed to OCAD U - and its surrounding neighbourhood!

For more on Anique’s work in The Idea of North exhibition, see her interview: http://artmatters.ca/wp/2016/08/an-interview-with-toronto-artist-anique-jordan-lawren-harris-toronto-and-a-complicated-history/

For more on Anique’s work: https://aniquejjordan.com/

For more on the British Methodist Episcopal church construction site: https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/02/15/torontos-black-history-unearthed-in-excavation-of-landmark-church.html

For more on OCAD University graduate programs: http://www.ocadu.ca/academics/graduate-studies.htm

 

Images courtesy of Karina Iskandarsjah www.karinais.com

Portrait of Peter Milligan
Philanthropist, lawyer, advocate for Canadian contemporary artists and friend of OCAD U Peter Milligan passed away at age 69. Milligan and his wife Dorene MacAulay Milligan, an OCAD U alumna, were tremendous supporters of the university since 2003.
l-r: Dr. Sara Diamond, Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Dr. Marie Wilson,MPP Chris Glover and Dr. Bob Phillips
Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University, welcomed Dr. Marie Wilson as the first keynote speaker in the 2018-2019 President’s Speaker Series. An award-winning journalist and Commissioner of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), Dr. Wilson discussed the lessons learned from the TRC and how Canadians can chart a way forward in the context of reconciliation.
President Sara Diamond, left, and Dr. Alia Weston (photo courtesy: Toronto Star)
OCAD U is conducting research tied to Sidewalk Labs’ proposal for a “smart city” that would be built on a 12-acre site known as Quayside. In mid-September, ten research grants were made available to faculty members at post-secondary institutions and three of these grants were awarded to OCAD U researchers. The initiative is funded by Sidewalk Labs, Waterfront Toronto and the Toronto Foundation.
Pitch competition winner, Abid Virani, receives prize cheque from Cassels Brock’s Aly Somani. Photo courtesy, Valerie Poon.
OCAD University’s newest entrepreneurs from the Imagination Catalyst squared off at the Cassels Brock Pitch Competition on September 27, competing for $5000 in start-up funding.  Abid Virani, co-founder & COO of Fable Tech Labs, took the top prize, out-pitching their colleagues from OCAD U’s business incubator. 
Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School with participants. Photo by Martin Iskander.
OCAD U’s Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, formerly Delaney Chair, along with The Inuit Art Quarterly/Inuit Art Foundation (IAF), hosted a meet-and-greet with partners of the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project.
Couzyn van Heuvelen, Duke Redbird, Sara Diamond, Jaime Watt and Gabriel Rojas Ruska
OCAD University’s historic George Reid House has officially re-opened following a dynamic renovation of the building, including the addition of Indigenous artwork created by Inuk artist Couzyn van Heuvelen.
Opening reception: Imago Mundi — Great and North. Photo: Henry Chan.
More than 300 people attended the opening night of Onsite Gallery’s latest exhibition, Imago Mundi – Great and North. Presented for the first time in Canada, the exhibition includes more than 700 works by artists, writers, designers and architects from across Canada.
King George School
OCAD University is exploring offering classes at a new Hamilton-based community and culture hub. At a recent Hamilton City Council meeting, councillors unanimously approved Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green’s motion to transform the former King George School into a community hub. 
construction hoarding with 'post no bills' warning
Anique standing in front of her artwork on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 4:00am

On September 8, graduate students from the Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design  and Criticism and Curatorial Practice programs joined artist Anique J. Jordan for a unique neighbourhood tour that highlighted the hidden history of a construction site close to OCAD University.

The tour started behind City Hall on Chestnut Street where the new provincial courthouse building is planned for construction. Anique shared with the group that this site has a deep history that is obscured by the large, grey, hoarding that now traces the perimeter of the lot. Upon beginning construction, the development company discovered thousands of cultural artifacts from the site’s history as the location of a British Methodist Episcopal church, rooted in one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the city called The Ward. Originally built in 1845, the church was a crucial site for Toronto’s black community playing an important role as a spiritual, community, and cultural centre.

Now the site is surrounded by imposing hoarding that demands to ‘post no bills’; it offers no narrative or suggestion of the site as one of historical civic significance. Anique is particularly interested in what she perceives as an erasure of the histories of the black and immigrant communities that previously thrived in that neighbourhood. With no signage, no commemoration, and no invitation for conversation, the current construction site illuminates a complicated relationship between historical preservation and the high-speed drive for new development in Toronto.

From this former church site Anique led the tour group to the Art Gallery of Ontario’s exhibition The Idea of North, where works by contemporary artists are exhibited alongside paintings by the iconic Canadian artist Lawren Harris. Anique’s works in the exhibition speak directly to the history of the black community within The Ward that Harris also used as a subject in many of his early paintings. Her works, that directly reference the Chestnut Street site, create a contemporary history that speaks back to the historical narratives that are currently being built over, in an attempt to recreate a more accurate and honest conversation about the history of our city and its citizens.

This artist tour was organized by Dr. Andrea Fatona, the Graduate Program Director for the Criticism and Curatorial Practice program. It was part of Graduate Studies Orientation week where all new students were welcomed to OCAD U - and its surrounding neighbourhood!

For more on Anique’s work in The Idea of North exhibition, see her interview: http://artmatters.ca/wp/2016/08/an-interview-with-toronto-artist-anique-jordan-lawren-harris-toronto-and-a-complicated-history/

For more on Anique’s work: https://aniquejjordan.com/

For more on the British Methodist Episcopal church construction site: https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/02/15/torontos-black-history-unearthed-in-excavation-of-landmark-church.html

For more on OCAD University graduate programs: http://www.ocadu.ca/academics/graduate-studies.htm

 

Images courtesy of Karina Iskandarsjah www.karinais.com