On November 28th, members of PIA enjoyed a curatorial tour, led by curator Candice Hopkins, presenting a group show with 15 participating artists and collectives. This tour took place at the Small Arms Inspection Building in Mississauga, and was a primary exhibition of the Toronto Biennial of Art.
A fitting and timely tour, members were excited to view the impressive film installation by Althea Thauberger and Kite, a project supported by Partners In Art. The project, titled Call to Arms, features video recordings of “band rehearsals” in advance of a live performance of four musical scores written by Kite. Using conch shells as instruments, the uniform-clad band rotated between marked positions on the floor, holding shells to their mouths like wind-instruments. Hopkins noted the repeated symbolism of the spiral, apparent in conch shells, as well as in many brass instruments, like the tuba and trumpet. She also pointed out that during the live performance the audience’s chairs were set up in a spiral shape, meandering in a circular motion around the band.
Hopkins shared with PIA that Thauberger and Kite took inspiration from Navy vernacular, as well as the Small Arms building itself that housed the project. Hopkins states that technically any Navy building is designated as a ‘ship’ as per Naval code. Because of this fictional designation, the collaborators began to think of their practice space (at the HMCS building, a land-based naval establishment ), as the belly of an imagined, water-bound ship. Thauberger and Kite wanted to capitalize on this military history by working with HMCS’ in-house marching band. The video presents two themes at odds with each other: the stern, uniform precision of a Navy march in contrast to the poetic, almost humorous gesture of trying to play a shell like a trumpet.
With an overarching theme of ‘The Shoreline Dilemma,’ main exhibitions in the Toronto Biennial of Art are located along or near Lake Ontario. The curatorial thread that runs through all artworks is a question of how “industrial production and economic growth” has altered the shoreline since its been habitable almost 12,000 years ago. With this question in mind TBA curators focused on practices by Indigenous artists, as a marker of the first human life to live on this land. PIA members also enjoyed a tour of the Isuma 112-minute video which presented a reenactment of “a day in the life” in 1961, in North Baffin Island. Partners in Art is a proud sponsor of Isuma, Canada’s first Inuit (75 percent) production company. Isuma represented Canada at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the first presentation of art by Inuit in the Canada Pavilion.
On December 12th, PIA hosted its annual December Luncheon celebrating another year of successful events and projects. One of our most well-attended events of the year saw members served seasonal cocktails and a well-curated lunch at the eclectic Fifth Social Club. PIA Presidents presented an extensive summary of the year to date, as well as outgoing Operations Manager Kerryn Graham was gifted a beautiful piece of art by Toronto-based artist Micah Lexier and thanked by the membership. Presidents thanked committees and committee chairs for their hardwork throughout the year, and wished everyone a happy holiday.