This summer, the AGO is marking the Canada 150 moment with Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood, an exhibition that questions the official narrative of Canadian history and imagines new futures through the eyes of artists. July’s First Thursday offers an early look at that exhibition, bringing together artists whose work invites us into a future that is complex, critical and celebratory. Bear Witness, founding member of the Indigenous DJ collective A Tribe Called Red, whose sounds and activism reverberate across nations and around the world, will headline with a DJ set at 10 pm.
The night will also feature performances by dance artist Esie Mensah and a showcase by the Indigenous comedy troupe Manifest Destiny’s Child. Stemming from Afro-fusion roots, Esie Mensah’s original choreography for Shades of Blackness tackles shadism at its roots. The work is an expression of difference, cultural visibility and representation. Manifest Destiny’s Child, a collective of Indigenous women comedians, express their lived experiences through provocative and hilarious comedy. And don’t miss Esmaa Mohamoud and Qendrim Hoti‘s performative extension of the installation One of the Boys that is part of the exhibition itself.
The AGO’s Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art Andrew Hunter and curatorial assistant Anique Jordan will offer their insights in pop-up talks. DJ Steph Honey will add sounds to Galleria Italia, and DJ Steph Honey will welcome you with beats to Walker Court. A special selection work from the AGO’s collection will be on view in our monthly Out of the Vaultsinstallation. And don’t miss ReBlink, a digital intervention by artist Alex Mayhew that remixes historical paintings with contemporary life, in addition to other surprises.
To get you in the mood for what’s sure to be a great night, Bear Witness has compiled a list of 14 of his favourite jams.
“This isn’t a playlist of my favourite songs. These are all songs that helped build Bear Witness from the boy you see in Jeff Thomas’s photographs (Editor’s note: like this one here, featured in Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries. Thomas’s work Imposition of Order, is also part of Every. Now. Then.) The first 4 songs are all from tapes my father, Jeff Thomas, sent me in the mail when I was a child. They always came opened and listened-to. They would have notes stuck to the cases saying things like ‘I really think you should be listing to this.’ Now, as a grown man, it seems like no mistake I spent the past 20 years of my life DJing.” – Bear Witness
The KLF – “Build a Fire”
Artist United Against Apartheid – “Let Me See Your ID w/ Gil Scott Heron”
Snap – “Believe The Hype”
Eric B. & Rakim – “My Melody”
Pharoah Sanders – “The Creator Has A Master Plan”
Fugees – “Vocab”
Prince Alla King Tubby Soul Syndicate – “Great Stone”
Harry Belafonte and The Muppets – “Earth Song”
Tom Waits – “Underground”
Johnny Cash – “Thirteen”
New Kingdom – “Animal”
Aphex Twin – “To Cure a Weakling Child”
Mad Professor & Lee Perry – “Writing On The Wall”
lion of judah – “emperor selassie I 97 (feat bounty hunter)”
This will be last First Thursday of the season, but we’ll be back with more in September! Stay tuned to AGOinsider for details later this summer about next season’s launch. And of course, for all the latest info on First Thursdays, follow #AGO1st on Twitter and Instagram.
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