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AGO Youth Council Programming Focuses on Identity, Nationality and Community


(Toronto, July 31, 2008) Throughout 2008, the AGO Youth Council will showcase a lineup of innovative programming with three major projects that focus on identity, nationality and community.

First, the members of the Youth Council will explore issues of personal identity through a project with renowned local artist Dan Bergeron. Using photographs of the council members that showcase aspects of their individual identity, Bergeron will create large-scale portraits in his signature style and display them on portions of the construction hoarding surrounding the AGO. This project will be installed in August.



In November the AGO Youth Council will explore the issue of immigration and nationality through a multidisciplinary project currently titled No One Is Illegal. Working with guest artist Srimoyee Mitra and local community group No One Is Illegal – Toronto, members of the Youth Council will share their own thoughts and experiences of immigration through a new performance piece. No One Is Illegal will be performed in November, to coincide with the opening of the new AGO.



Finally, in December the council will launch the fourth issue of SeiZure zine. The theme of the issue is “belonging” and contributors will discuss the concepts of home and community. For this issue, the council has partnered with youth from Delisle Youth Services, who will take courses at the AGO’s Gallery School and develop content based on their experiences.



“We have had the chance to work with some amazing guest artists who have inspired the participants to reach new heights in their artmaking,” says Syrus Ware, program coordinator for Youth Programs at the AGO. “This year’s projects are extremely reflective, and show an understanding of the interconnectedness of human struggle and resistance.”



In addition to its own programming, the Youth Council has also partnered with several community organizations on Walls of Sorrow, Walls of Hope, an art installation comprising video, sculpture, dance, painting and audio elements to explore global poverty and human rights. The AGO donated space in its Gallery School for the creation of the piece and the Youth Council served as mentors for the project as well as participating as artists. Walls of Sorrow, Walls of Hope will be on display in the rotunda of Toronto City Hall from August 13 to 17.



For nearly 10 years, the AGO’s Youth Council has met weekly at the Gallery to design programming that is relevant and responds to the needs of youth in the Greater Toronto Area. Some past projects of the council include The Living Room Project, which won a 2005 Untitled Art Award; H.Y.P.E. I, II and III; Carbon Copy; Sew What?; and The Sound Art Project, part of Luminato 2008. Many of these projects have been documented online on Collection X at www.collectionx.museum.

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s Youth Council is a part of the AGO’s Teens Behind the Scenes. The Gallery is grateful to the Tippet Foundation for their generous support.

The new AGO opens November 14, 2008!
All Art Gallery of Ontario galleries are now closed until November 14, 2008 for the final phase of construction of the new Frank Gehry-designed AGO. AGO Gallery School classes, online shopping, Art Rental and Sales,Travel AGO and great benefits for members are still available during the closure.






Matthew Ross    7/31/2008


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