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Division of Labour

January 30, 2019 - April 20, 2019

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January 30- April 20, 2019

Opening Reception: Friday February 8, 2019    7-9 pm

Artist Material Fund: April 10 – 20, during gallery hours

Curated by Suzanne Carte

Basil AlZeri (Toronto/Guelph), ro Barragán (Buenos Aires), Ghost of a Dream (Brooklyn), Rodrigo HGz (Glasgow), and Alejandro Tamayo (Hamilton).

Division of Labour is an exhibition set across two institutions in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA), one in Hamilton and the other in Burlington, which brings artists into dialogue on the subjects of class, race, and labour as they relate to cultural waste. Systems of barter economies, critical discourse about community action around consumption, and circuits of solidarity exchange are more present than ever in the daily working lives of artists and cultural producers. The exhibitions and ancillary programming serve as a pedagogical tool to educate on the scarcity of resources, labour rights, and living wages in the arts. Hearing from artists that politically utilize recycling efforts in their work, the exhibition illustrates the power and potential of reused matter for artistic production.

We are living in a time of increasing economic uncertainty, wage gaps, and class divides. Division of Labour uses this moment to consider the true cost of artist’ labour and economic parity through the recovery and access to excess material. The featured artists question who gets paid? How are they paid? How much are they paid? Where do our production materials come from, and by whose hands are they made, manufactured, or fashioned?

Division of Labour doesn’t simply display objects constructed from trash but operates to support building new networks of resources and methods for the sustainability of artists' work. It goes beyond giving artists free material, and providing decent artist fees, but serves to open up dialogue about the systemic issues inherent in class dynamics, under employment, and labour exploitation that plague our cultural industry.

The first exhibition features the work of Basil AlZeriro Barragán,Ghost of a Dream (The Collaborative Project of Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom), Rodrigo HGz, and Alejandro Tamayo held at the Workers Art and Heritage. The follow-up will build upon the conversations resulting from this exhibition and programming series and open at the Art Gallery of Burlington in 2019/20.

Welcome to the first edition.


About the Curator and Artists

Suzanne Carte is an award-winning curator and cultural producer living in Toronto, Canada. Within her independent practice, she has curated exhibitions in public spaces, artist-run centres, and commercial and public art galleries including You Cannot Kill What Is Already Dead, Video Rental Store, All Systems Go!, Under New Management, MOTEL and Man’s Ruin. Previously, she held positions as outreach programmer for the Blackwood Gallery and the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and as professional development and public program coordinator at the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. Her critical writing has been published recently in the AGO’s A.I.R. publication for Meera Margaret Singh as well as in Magenta Magazine, Art Writ, and Huffington Post. Suzanne holds an MA in Contemporary Art History from Sotheby’s Art Institute in New York and a BFA from the University of Windsor, and she is a member of the 2017 Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab.

Ghost of a Dream, the collaborative team of Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom, creates sculptures and installations that embody the essence of opulence while being constructed of materials that typically end up in the trash. The artists mine popular culture searching for discarded materials that people use trying to reach their goals. Whether it is a romance novel someone reads in order to enter a dream reality, a religious tract promising the glory of eternal life, or a lottery ticket that gives the possibility of a future full of rich decadence, they use these remnants to re-create peopleʼs dreams. Ghost of a Dream’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey, Galleri Christoffer Egelund in Copenhagen, Art First in Bologna, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rabis, among many others. They have been awarded a Pollock-Krasner, a NYFA, a Joan Mitchell and a Jorome Fondation Grant.

Rodrigo HGz creates installations, artist multiples and socially engaged projects. His installations explore non-dominant forms of cultural authenticity and co-instituting models through wall texts, video and photo-collage.  His civic engaged projects deal with estates of migrant knowledge, value creation and critical pedagogy.  His artist multiples are wearable pieces such as goggles and headpieces that propose an Indigenous Nahua aesthetic with emphasis on its diasporic expression. Rodrigo was born in the Anahuac (Mexico City) and raised near Cuicuilco, he is of Nahua descent and is currently making work in Canada, Italy and Scotland. He graduated in 2010 from the MFA program at York University in Canada. His installations, new-media work, wearable art pieces and performative projects have been presented internationally, including contributions to the Hemispheric Encuentro in Sao Paolo, Brazil the National Museum of Art, La Paz, Bolivia and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto. Rodrigo is committed to a critical, intellectual and collective artistic practice.

Basil AlZeri is a visual artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. AlZeri’s practice involves the intersection of art, education, and food, taking multiple forms, such as performance, interventions, gallery and public installation. AlZeri’s work examines the socio-political dynamics of the family and its intersection with cultural practices, drawing on the necessities of everyday life and the visibility of labour as sites of exploration. His work aims to facilitate a space for empathy through gestures of inclusivity and generosity.

Alejandro Tamayo  develops site-specific and site-responsive installations employing a variety of mediums, materials and forms. His work explores the multiple layers of interpretation that ordinary objects and materials elicit when translated into the spatial and temporal framework of an exhibition. Born in Colombia, Tamayo has lived between Colombia and Canada since 1999. Tamayo has an MFA from the National University of Colombia and a PhD in Visual Arts (in sculpture and installation) from York U. His has exhibited in Canada, Colombia, Spain, US, Mexico, Argentina, Finland and Czech Republic.

For more information, please see the Division of Labour Guidebook

WAHC acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts for its support of the Main Gallery exhibition program, and the Ontario Arts Council for its support of Division of Labour.

For more information, contact Hitoko Okada, Interim Program Coordinator at hitoko@wahc-museum.ca or (905) 522-3003 ex. 29

51 Stuart Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8L 1B5       905.522.3003       Public Hours: Click here