UNMASKED | Satellite Exhibition at the Mississauga Central Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

ELLA COOPER, JAMES MICHAEL YEBOAH, JEFF BIERK & TAU LEWIS

 

November 7, 2017 – January 15, 2018

 

 

The contemporary artists presented within this exhibition have responded to selected works held within the AGM’s Permanent Collection, and work to reclaim agency over their representations. They aim to expand upon and subvert a dialogue that was so rigidly enforced and perpetuated by problematic historical images, aesthetics and politics.

 

For over a century people of colour, and the cultural objects they have created, have been positioned as a tool by western artists to convey a  more “simple” and “pure” culture. These peoples and their aesthetics have been romanticized and even fetishized in an attempt to indicate an idealized independence from the problems that plagued “civilized societies” — while their own cultures were being annihilated under European colonialism.

 

The aesthetic of art produced within colonized nations has been and continues to be appropriated and misrepresented to further these ideas — bringing great wealth and status to artists and institutions who did so, while the works of Black artists have historically been plundered and relegated to the vitrines of natural history museums. Even in Canada, the history of collections and collecting practices is fraught with violence and erasure.

 

This exhibition aims to bring to light the fact that not only do these attitudes still persist, they are maintained literally and symbolically within galleries and museums. The AGM commits to unmasking these harmful and persistent ideologies, and to highlighting alternative voices in order to actively decolonize the Permanent Art Collection.