236 Pender St East,
Colin Campbell, production still from the video Shango Botanica, 1977. Courtesy of Vtape, Toronto.
Until 28 January 2023
07 September–26 November 2022
T. +1 604.683.7395
15 June–03 August, 2019
Curated by: Sally Frater
Sandra Brewster: Token|Contemporary Ongoing
Sandra Brewster in conversation with Sally Frater
Saturday June 15, 2PM
Toronto-based artist Sandra Brewster presents an iteration of her project Token|Contemporary Ongoing. During a six-month residency at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Brewster was struck by the care and detailed cataloguing processes involved in the maintenance of the AGO collection. Motivated by a desire to bestow a similar level of attentiveness to “non-Western” objects, Brewster reached out to friends and colleagues of the Caribbean diaspora to learn about the value that they assigned to objects from their personal collections that spoke to their cultural backgrounds, and to document the stories associated with particular belongings.
For the exhibition at Or Gallery, Brewster presents images of these items both as photographs and as gel transfers mounted directly onto the gallery walls. These images are accompanied by audio recordings of their owners’ stories and several examples of the actual objects themselves.
The term token, as it is used in the exhibition title, is multivalent. It alludes to the ability of particular objects to become a “visible or tangible representation of a feeling”: a memento, keepsake, reminder, emblem, etc. For a generation of Caribbean folk (including Brewster’s Guyanese parents) who left their homes overseas in the 1960s to purse a “better life” in Canada, objects from “home” become an anchor to a time and place. The continued stewardship of these objects by their current owners provides a way of extending temporal pasts and locations into a present space and moment.
The Or Gallery acknowledges its presence on unceded xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.
Sandra Brewster is a Canadian artist and holds a Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. Her work explores themes of identity, representation and memory. She was the recipient of the 2018 Artist Prize from Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and her solo exhibition It’s all a blur… received the Gattuso Prize at CONTACT Photography Festival (2017). Her work has been featured in recent group exhibitions at Aljira Contemporary Art Centre, New Jersey (2016); Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s (2016); and Allegheny Art Galleries, Meadville, Pennsylvania (2015). Brewster recently received a resident fellowship at the Instituto Sacatar, Brazil (2017). She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects, Toronto.
Sally Frater is an independent curator and writer who holds an MA (with Merit) in Contemporary Art from The University of Manchester/Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She has curated exhibitions for the Ulrich Museum of Art, the McColl Center for Art and Innovation, the Pollock Gallery, Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto, among others. Her writing has appeared in journals and catalogues including for the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Border Crossings magazine, C Magazine, Fuse, Blackflash Magazine, and Canadian Art. A former Core Critical Studies Fellow at the Glassell School at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, she was also a past artist-in-residence at Project Row Houses in Houston.