From the Vault: Dissections and Public Programming Favourites

Date and time
Tuesday, April 14, 2020

From the Vault: Dissections and Public Programming Favourites

The PHI Foundation presents a selection of its favourite content from its archives.

Selection by Tanha Gomes, educator and project manager at the PHI Foundation.

Through exhibitions and public programming, the PHI Foundation promotes appreciation and critical engagement with contemporary art. At the Education department, we wish to complement the experience of artworks by inviting challenging and relevant guests who propose an innovative look at our programming. This small selection is meant to give a taste of the variety of public programming held at the PHI Foundation by hosting conversations around contemporary art.

With every exhibition, the Education team presents Dissections, an event that brings together an interdisciplinary panel of speakers to discuss the art works from diverse points of view. Dissections proposes an innovative format that responds to concepts, themes and exhibition design. In Dissections: Yinka Shonibare MBE, artist Paul Maheke, art historian Charmaine Nelson and activist Laurence Parent discuss issues around slavery in Canada, mobility activism and intersectionality. Dissections: Bharti Kher brought together Jacqueline Miller, biologist and mammalogy technician at the Royal Ontario Museum, writer Molly A.K. Shinhat and artist Yen-Chao Lin. The guests responded to works in Kher’s Points de depart, points qui lient through storytelling and performance. 

Dancing the Museum, a talk by Thomas F. DeFrantz was presented in partnership with SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, Duke University, University of Toronto, and Concordia University. In this conference, DeFrantz, chair of African and African American Studies and professor of Dance and Theater Studies at Duke University, explores how dance in museums has changed over the years and some of the implications for dancers, choreographers, curators and the audience. As DeFrantz beautifully puts it: “we [the dancers] change the possibilities of space and architecture, energy and time by leaping, twisting, standing, wondering and challenging the quiet hush that typically pervades these hallways of state-sponsored culture.”

Finally, The Gift – a lecture and conversation with Lewis Hyde and Robin McKenna, is an exchange around Hyde’s seminal book The Gift and McKenna’s powerful documentary that was inspired by it. This talk reminds us of the power of art and creativity, and the role of artists in helping us imagine a different future for ourselves. “A gift is something that can’t be measured,” McKenna says. “What art gives us is intangible; it’s a catalyst for transformation.”

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