September 9 – October 26, 2008

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, Canada, is physically located in a city whose population, in large part, points to other countries and cultures to describe itself.  The soil beneath its structure is receptive to roots of multifarious origins. In Dyed Roots: the new emergence of culture, the intermingling of cultures is considered as a natural consequence of immigration and travel. The show’s title refers to intrinsic qualities that persist in spite of external influence and efforts made to conceal them. Dyed Roots: the new emergence of culture explores the ways in which a sense of identity can be cultivated and influenced.

Reconsidering colonial conquests and the construction of cultural products, the artists in the exhibition call into question notions of integrity and authenticity. Here, any shared understanding of what is fake and what is real is disrupted. Powerful symbols holding the pride of nations and cultures are disturbed and reclaimed.  In some cases, rather than commenting on authenticity, a deeper history is traced and excavated through the use of materials. Attention is drawn to the interdependent relationship of tourism, culture, and trade, as well as the evolving significance of cultural artefacts through consumerism (souvenirs).

In the midst of the exhibition stands a pristine, white room – save for its smashed wall. This blow makes tangible the vehemence that is sometimes required to bring about change as one idea meets forcefully against another. It allows for exchange, acting as a window between Dyed Roots: the new emergence of culture and the two consecutive projects which the room will house.

From September 9 – 21, designer Rashmi Varma will have free reign to creatively inhabit the 12 x 12 foot room. During this time she will embroider a dress that encompasses both her body and the inner architecture of the space. From Thursday to Sunday, between 1 and 5 pm, guests of the artist and members of the general public will be invited to embroider the dress with her.

From September 26 – October 26 an exhibition curated by Kenneth Montague (Wedge Curatorial Projects) will be on view. Entitled head room, this exhibition will be unveiled on September 26th, from 7 to 10 pm. Exploring African identity, this curatorial project will introduce another dimension of cultural reckoning.

In keeping with the theme of the exhibition, the curator, Camilla Singh, will be displaced from her regular office environment and will carry out her daily responsibilities from within an enclosure in the gallery.  Her working space will be shared with plants, flowers and birds for the duration of the exhibition.

Rina Banerjee (U.S.A./India)
Victor Bergen Henegouwen (The Netherlands)
Emelie Chhangur (1st generation Canadian: England/Guyana)
Brendan Fernandes (India/Kenya/Canada/U.S.A.)
Reeta Saeed (Canada/Pakistan)

Curated by Camilla Singh

Opening Reception

Thursday September 11, 8 – 10 pm


September 9 – 21: Rashmi Varma, performance-based installation

September 26 – October 26: an exhibition curated by Kenneth Montague (Wedge Curatorial Projects)