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Technology takes art beyond the AGO’s walls

April 27th, 2018


A black rendering of a frog on a white background by Anishnaabe artist Nyle Miigizi Johnston.

Image by Nyle Miigizi Johnston.

You’ve heard of an artist-in-residence. How about artist in tele-presence?

On Wednesday May 9, the AGO debuts an exhibition with a reach far beyond Toronto’s boundaries. Presented in partnership with TakingITGlobal’s Connected North Program, Connecting With Our First Family features 27 large scale line drawings created by contemporary Anishinaabe artist Nyle Miigizi Johnston in the AGO’s Community Gallery. And thanks to technology, the exhibition will be shown to students hundreds of kilometres away from the AGO.

Over the next six months, together with the artist, the AGO will guide students in remote communities on virtual field trips to the exhibition, using telepresence technology. Similar to a video conference, telepresence technology enables students in rural and remote parts of Ontario to see, hear and engage with artists and artwork in real time.

A black rendering of a frog on a white background by Anishnaabe artist Nyle Miigizi Johnston.

Image by Nyle Miigizi Johnston.

“The visual stories expressed through the images on display reflect my understanding of Anishinaabe teachings that have been passed down through many generations. Our stories resonate with people across different cultures and they carry universal messages of love, kindness, fairness and care for Mother Earth,” said Miigizi Johnston. “We each have a responsibility to share our gift of being a Story Teller.”

Connecting With Our First Family is the first exhibition to be mounted specifically for the purpose of hosting virtual tours, and is part of TakingITGlobal’s outreach program to revitalize Indigenous languages.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to work with Nyle Miigizi Johnston and to bring these stories into classrooms that are hundreds of kilometres away from the AGO,” said Audrey Hudson, Assistant Manager, School and Teacher Programs, AGO. “The program offers new learning experiences for students and teachers, while helping to strengthen relationships between communities across Ontario. We are proud to be a part of this amazing initiative.”

Connecting With Our First Family will be shown in the Community Gallery in the Weston Family Learning Centre, which is free to the public. Visitors are invited to attend the exhibition’s public opening on May 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

The AGO and TakingITGlobal acknowledge the support of the Government of Ontario for providing seed funding for the co-development of this distance learning program.

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