Lisa Hirmer

Lisa Hirmer: In Case of Emergency

JUNE 28 – AUGUST 26, 2018

Curated by Kendra Ainsworth

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 28, 6 – 9 PM

Chief Stacey LaForme will open the exhibition with a prayer and a poem honouring our waterways at 6:45 PM, followed by a performance by percussionist and composer Germaine Liu at 7 PM.

Emergencies, as they are commonly understood, are sudden, turbulent events that interrupt the routines of everyday life: floods, fires, storms, earthquakes—urgent situations demanding quick action against threats to safety and property. However, there are other types of emergency; situations that arrive gradually and escalate slowly, or those that are quiet and visible only to those suffering their effects. In any case, an emergency (as the word itself tells us) involves an “emergence” of something disruptive and alarming that changes our accustomed reality and the terms of our survival. 

Prompted by Mississauga’s own brush with emergency — more than 200,000 people were rapidly evacuated away from a chemical spill after the Mississauga Train Derailment of 1979 and disaster was narrowly but effectively avoided — In Case of Emergency looks at the idea of emergency and our relationship to it as future event. Planning for emergency events is an important, practical action but it is also an exercise in imagination; it requires dreaming up unknown possibilities and then acting on those speculative scenarios.  How does the process of preparing for emergencies act in the present? How can it bring people together or push them apart? How can an imagined future event realign current priorities, reconsider our relationships to people and place, or attune us to the emergencies we are already amidst?

As human activity increasingly interrupts the planet’s systems, we can expect to encounter increasingly more emergencies. How do we plan for these looming possibilities?



Passion! Protest! Posters! | Sunday, July 1, 12 – 6 PM

Join us for a poster making workshop on Princess Royal Drive between the Civic Centre and Living Arts Centre as part of the City of Mississauga’ Canada Day programming! In this artist led workshop participants will make posters to create awareness and spark activism around important issues in their community. Presented in conjunction with the Art Gallery of Mississauga’s exhibition In Case of Emergency and in partnership with Mississauga Celebration Square.


Shelter in Place: Film Screening and “Sleepover” | Thursday, July 19, 6 – 10 PM

Bring your slippers, pillows and blankets to the AGM for a screening of the documentary This Changes Everything and share your thoughts on climate change.


Urban Gardening and Food Security Workshop | Sunday, July 15, 1 – 3 PM

Join the AGM for a hands-on workshop lead by Ecosource. Participants will learn about how to start an urban garden, the importance of food security and sustainability, and will get to transplant and take home their own seedling while starting a garden in the gallery! Eventbrite registration required.


Artist Talk | Friday, July 20, 6 PM

Join artist Lisa Hirmer for a discussion on her practice and the exhibition.


Mending the Past | Thursday, August 2, 6 – 8 PM

Textile artist Carolanne Graham leads a workshop on visible mending. Bring that favourite pair of jeans that have a hole in them, learn how to beautifully repair them, and join a conversation on sustainability, recycling, and the value of essential skills like sewing!


Image above:  Lisa Hirmer, Last Supper in the Seed Vault, 2018, photograph. Image courtesy of the artist.


The Art Gallery of Mississauga gratefully acknowledges the support of Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and Ecosource..