Toronto’s latest gallery, Withrow Common, opened with a splash with its inaugural art exhibition: about Canada’s relationship with its Indigenous Peoples.
Looking Forward, Looking Back: A Visual Exploration of Canada’s Relationship with its Indigenous People had its grand opening on Feb. 10.
The art exhibit features the historical and current relationship between the Canadian government and the Indigenous community.
The Canadian National Exhibit Association created Withrow Common gallery as a non-profit community multi-purpose event and gallery space located on Prince’s Blvd.
“As we build, we’re going to make sure that this space is free and available or at low-cost,” said Alicia, the gallery manager.
Alicia says that the organization is doing its best to make sure the gallery is accessible to the community.
The venue opens with the “Looking Back” segment, examining Canada’s relationship with the Indigenous community over the past 150 years through the lens of the 29 Prime Ministers of Canada.
The exhibition continues with “Looking Forward,” the Indigenous community’s response to the past through multimedia art pieces focusing on the themes of resilience, family, unity and community.
“For someone who’s new to Canada, I’ve learned a lot. It’s a very educational exhibition, and it’s a brave subject,” said Stefan, a gallery attendant, who moved to Canada two months ago from Germany, and has worked at Withrow Common since it opened.
Unfortunately, the show did not get the turnout they had hoped for. “As a new venue, it’s been hard to get [people] out there,” says Alicia. Stefan hopes the next exhibition will draw more visitors as spring weather arrives.
Featured Indigenous artists include Christian Morrisseau, Kris Nahrgang, Cecil Youngfox, Carl Beam, Shirley Cheechoo, and Irene Avaalaauiaq Tiktaalaaq.
Some of the artwork can be purchased from the gallery. The show’s last day is April 7 from 1-5 p.m.
The next exhibition at Withrow Common is True North – X, part of the Scotiabank Contact photo festival, running from May 3 to 31. The opening reception is