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The 2021 AGO X RBC Artists in Residence are coming together via Zoom to share insights about their respective practices and the art they created during their residencies.

composite image of artists Alvin Luon, Timothy Yanick Hunter, Nada El-Omari and Sonya Mwambu,

Formed in 2011, the AGO Artists-in-Residence Program has been helping foster and develop the careers of emerging Canadian artists for a decade. Prior to public health closures, the program was situated in the Anne Lind Artist-in-Residence Studio at the AGO, with its large glass front allowing visitors to see  each artist’s practice and process in real time.

For the first time, this year’s program will be conducted digitally. Our dynamic cohort of 2021 AGO X RBC Artists in Residence are preparing to unveil and discuss the work they’ve created in a live-streamed conversation. On Tuesday, October 7 at 4 pm via Zoom, AGO X RBC Artists in Residence Nada El-Omari and Sonya Mwambu, Timothy Yanick Hunter and Alvin Luong will come together for a conversation with Paola Poletto, AGO Director of Engagement and Learning, about their practices and the work they have created and developed during their respective digital residencies. Take a closer look at each artist below.

Timothy Yanick Hunter

Timothy Yanick Hunter, Before Leaving Everything, 2020. Video still. 00:18:48

Image credit: Timothy Yanick Hunter, Before Leaving Everything, 2020. Video. 00:18:48 (HH:MM:SS). Installation view at A Space Gallery (2020). Photography by Selina Whittaker. Images courtesy of A Space Gallery.

Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist and curator Timothy Yannick Hunter’s practice employs strategies of bricolage to examine Black and Afro-diasporic experiences and methods of decolonization. His work is primarily focused on the political, cultural and social richness of the Black Diaspora, and often delves into speculative narratives and the intersections of physical space, digital space and the intangible.

Hunter’s work made during his AGO residency extends his long-form project – True and Functional – a time-based, multi-site artwork exploring ideas around Pan-African thought and Black cultural output. It combines elements of sound, music, text, image and video. Hunter uses this work to examine practices of sampling and re-interpretation – what he feels are integral art practices developed throughout the contemporary African Diaspora.   

Nada El-Omari & Sonya Mwambu

Nada El-Omari & Sonya Mwambu

Courtesy of artists (Mwambu and El-Omari)

Nada El-Omari is a filmmaker and writer based in Toronto. Of Palestinian and Egyptian origin and raised in Montreal, her work, practice and research interests centre on the intergenerational transmissions of memories, displacement and the stories of belonging and identity through a poetic, hybrid lens. 

Sonya Mwambu is an experimental filmmaker and editor based in Toronto. Born in Kampala, they grew up in Canada and their work centres on the intersections of their identities through the exploration of race, language and the connections they find through their cultural identity and the experimentations of analog film.

During their residency, El-Omari and Mwambu collaborated to create +1-home, a digital platform which their practices as experimental filmmakers amalgamate in an interactive, non-linear installation. The work is largely inspired by the artists’ nostalgia and interpretation of the calling cards that were commonplace in their childhood homes.

Alvin Luong (梁超洪) 

Alvin Luong, Workers’ Dance (Young Workers, 2021), installation shot

Workers’ Dance (Young Workers, 2021), Alvin Luong. 2021. Video and photography installation. 32:37 (MM:SS) 1920x1080 looping videos, televisions, media players, and photographs on lightboxes. Variable dimensions.

Alvin Luong creates artwork based on stories of human migration, land and dialogues from the diasporic working class communities he lives and works with. These stories are combined with biography to produce artwork that reflects upon issues of historical development, political economy and social reproduction, and how these issues intimately affect the lives of people. 

Luong created Workers Dance (Young Workers, 2021) during his AGO residency. This set of photographs and videos depict individuals who had lost employment as a result of the pandemic. The photographs are headshots taken in the style of socialist realism, each of which correspond with a video of a body dancing to “hold music” from a government unemployment phone line. The result is a contemplation on the economic crisis of the pandemic and its effect on the working class.

Don’t miss the AGO X RBC Artists-in-Residence Conversation, live via Zoom Tuesday, October 7 at 4 pm. This is a free event. Register here.

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