SAVAC’s 25th Anniversary Year

2022 - 2023

For SAVAC’s 25th year we’ve come together, hosted and generated several momentous events, both online and in-person to think through our extensive past and imagine new futures. Take a look at what we’ve been up to below!

Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, Collection
A panel discussion
Saturday 25 February 2023, 12:00pm-4:00pm EST
Virtual Event – Zoom

Featuring: Rachel Kalpana James, Shelly Bahl, Haema Sivanesan, Sharlene Bamboat, Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq

Liquid water evaporates into vapour, condenses to form clouds, and precipitates back to earth to be collected in our water bodies. Water moves from one reservoir to another, from river to ocean, from the ocean to the atmosphere. This endless cycle is an apt metaphor for the programming practices of curators of colour who work in various spheres with hopes of affecting lasting change in other parts of the arts ecosystem.

As Vijay Prashad noted, “Multiculturalism emerged as the liberal doctrine designed to undercut the radicalism of anti-racism. Instead of anti-racism, we are fed a diet of cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity. The history of oppression and the fact of exploitation are shunted aside in favour of a celebration of difference and of the experiences of individuals who can narrate their ethnicity for the consumption of others.”

For decades, staff at SAVAC have been working under these conditions to intervene and transform the art world to create a more hospitable climate for artists of colour. Join our past artistic directors Rachel Kalpana James, Shelly Bahl, Haema Sivanesan, Sharlene Bamboat, Nahed Mansour and Toleen Touq to learn how they adapted their practices to resist the demands of the status quo while building on the achievements of their creative contemporaries and elders. These practitioners will share their perspectives on the needs of diasporic artists, the ways in which diversity, equity, and inclusion policies have affected programming over the course of the last 30 years, and how lessons from the past can help sustain the work still to be done.

25th Anniversary Party
18 June 2022, 2pm – late
Christie Pits Park

You’re invited to our 25th-anniversary party! On June 18th, we invite you to eat, drink, and dream of new possibilities with us. Follow the sounds of raucous children, poet-mystics, serious gourmands, discerning queer aunties, armchair Marxists and stars in the making to the pavilion at Christie Pits. We will be celebrating from 2pm to late. 

For a quarter-century, we as a community have sustained spaces of play, experimentation, difficult questions, and unexpected connections despite the obstacles that this world constantly throws in our way. We persist in pushing the envelope on limiting diversity mandates and symbolic gestures of inclusion. As we do this, let’s always remember to take time to enjoy each other’s company, and bask in each other’s brilliance. Let this summer be one of connectionwith friends and accomplices, old and new. We’ve missed you!

Sunil Gupta — PRACTICE: Photography, Politics, Queer, Black, Curating, Community, Activism

It’s our 25th year! And we’re kicking things off with a very special AGM. We’re so pleased to present Sunil Gupta — PRACTICE: Photography, Politics, Queer, Black, Curating, Community, Activism. Sunil will be taking us through some of the motivations and aesthetic choices behind his practice, and speak to the many significant moments throughout his notable career. Please join us Thursday 24 February 2022 at 12pm for this anticipated artist talk and AGM. You will also get the chance to meet staff, board members and learn more about what we are planning for 2022. Every year the board is elected at the Annual General Meeting, which is open to all SAVAC members.

Sunil Gupta is a British/Canadian citizen, (b. New Delhi 1953) MA (RCA) PhD (Westminster) lives in London and has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. A retrospective was shown at The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2020/21) and has moved to Ryerson Image Center, Toronto. He is a Professorial Fellow at UCA, Farnham. His latest book is “London 1982” Stanley Barker 2021 and his current exhibitions include; “Every Moment Counts: AIDS and its Feelings” the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway. His work is in many private and public collections including; Tokyo Museum of Photography, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Tate and the Museum of Modern Art. His work is represented by Hales Gallery (New York, London), Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto) and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi).

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