In 2021, Portraits of Resilience invited artists of all ages – from three to ninety-nine - to help us picture and reflect on our collective resilience.

It is a triumphant act to be resilient in the midst of a pandemic, social and political upheaval, and economic and financial uncertainty. The purpose of this initiative was to showcase artwork from the community, for the community, and to share how we’ve been resilient together over the pandemic experience.

We received over 3,000 submissions from people in Toronto, across Canada and around the world, including Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Turkey, demonstrating our widespread desire to understand these times through art.

An archive of emotion and resilience, the exhibition includes photographs, paintings, textile artwork, illustrations, collages and sculptures, all expressing themes of solitude, pride, dystopia, community, nature and creative release.

This spring, the Portraits of Resilience Project will be highlighted in the AGO exhibition, I AM HERE: Home Movies and Everyday Masterpieces. As part of the exhibition, curators have assembled a digital tribute to the Portraits of Resilience Project, presenting a slide show of images featured in the online gallery.


Portraits Terms and Conditions

Read the Terms and Conditions

The Submitter's relationship with the AGO as created by this Call for Submissions is that of an independent contractor for the purposes of the Income Tax Act (Canada) and any similar provincial taxing legislation. It is intended that the Submitter shall have general control and direction over the manner in which its services are to be provided to the AGO under this Call for Submissions. Nothing contained in this Call for Submissions shall be regarded or construed as creating any relationship (whether by way of employer/employee, agency, joint venture, association, or partnership) between the parties other than as an independent Submitter as set forth herein.

The Submitter acknowledges that it is providing the Deliverables to the AGO on a non-exclusive basis. The AGO reserves the right to engage with other parties for the same or similar goods and services as those provided by the Submitter and reserves the right to obtain the same or similar goods and services internally.
This Call for Submissions (including related addenda), constitutes the entire Agreement between the parties with regard to the provision of Deliverables and supersedes any prior understanding or agreement – collateral, oral or otherwise – with respect to the provision of the Deliverables, existing between the parties at the date of execution of the Call for Submissions.
The AGO shall not be responsible for reimbursing any expenses not expressly agreed to in this Call for Submissions.
This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario and the federal laws of Canada applicable therein and each party irrevocably attorns to the jurisdiction of the court system of the Province of Ontario.
The Submitter agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the AGO and its directors, officers, trustees, employees, agents, and volunteers (collectively, “the AGO”) from and against all claims, demands, losses, damages, expenses, liabilities, actions, suits or proceedings (including all costs, collection expenses and legal fees) (collectively, “Losses”), in any way based upon, occasioned by, or attributable to anything done or omitted to be done by the Submitter in the course of performance of the Submitter’s obligations under, or otherwise in connection with, this Call for Submissions. The obligations contained in this paragraph shall survive the expiration or termination of this Call for Submissions. Notwithstanding anything else in the Call for Submissions, any express or implied reference to the AGO providing an indemnity or any other form of indebtedness or contingent liability that would directly or indirectly increase the indebtedness or contingent liabilities of Ontario, whether at the time of execution of the Call for Submissions or at any time during the Term, shall be void and of no legal effect.
Neither party shall be liable for any consequential, indirect, incidental or special damages (meaning damages requiring special knowledge by one party of the other’s special circumstances) suffered by the other party with respect to any claims arising out of or in connection with this Call for Submissions. The Submitter agrees that the AGO shall not be liable for any property damage or loss, bodily injury (including death), or personal injury to the Submitter, or for any proceeding by any third party against the Submitter, arising out of the work done by the Submitter except as may arise from the gross negligence or willful misconduct of the AGO or its personnel or representatives. The covenants and agreements contained in this clause shall survive the termination of this Call for Submissions.
Neither party shall be liable for damages caused by delay or failure to perform its obligations under the Call for Submissions through an event of force majeure, or natural disasters, acts of terrorism, acts of prohibition of any government authority, fire, strikes, civil commotion, sickness or injury, or any other cause whatsoever beyond the control or either party. If a party seeks to excuse itself from its obligations under this Call for Submissions due to a force majeure event, that party shall immediately notify the other party. Such occurrence shall excuse non-performance and shall justify an immediate termination of this Call for Submissions, unless the Call for Submissions is otherwise amended in writing.
If a third party claims that a deliverable which the Submitter provided to the AGO infringes that party's patent or copyright, the Submitter will defend the AGO against that claim at the Submitter's expense and pay all costs, damages, and attorney's fees that a court finally awards.
The Submitter permits the AGO to photograph/film the artist/performance during the event, and reproduce the images with appropriate credit to the artist/performer for administrative, archival, press, and promotional purposes. This may include social media, the AGO website, as well as print and electronic museum publications. Such images taken, and copyright therein, shall be property of the AGO. The Submitter or representative warrants that they are authorized to give their consent to such photography and reproduction.
This Agreement expires on December 31, 2022 unless otherwise extended.


Portraits FAQs

How are we exhibiting this project at the AGO?

This spring, the AGO’s 2021 Portraits of Resilience Project will be highlighted in the AGO exhibition, I AM HERE: Home Movies and Everyday Masterpieces. Featuring home movies from the Prelinger Archives, alongside celebrated artworks by the likes of David Hockney, Patti Smith, Claes Oldenburg, Annie Pootoogook, Arthur Jafa and Mary Pratt, as well as snapshots, photo albums, grocery lists and social media, the exhibition brings together a broad range of personal records from different times and places to explore the shared human impulse to document life as it happens. As part of the exhibition, curators have decided to include a digital tribute to the Portraits of Resilience Project. This tribute takes the form of a slideshow of all the images from the online gallery and a list of names of everyone who participated. Due to the overwhelming response, the slide show has a run time of more than five hours, with each artwork image being shown for 10 seconds.

What was submitted?

As part of the Portraits of Resilience Project, artists of all ages and skill levels were invited to submit a digital image of a painting, photograph, sculpture, collage, print, mixed media or other materials.

The images currently live as part of an online gallery and will be shown, as a slideshow, along with a list of participants, in the exhibition I AM HERE. This exhibition will run from April 13 to August 14, 2022.

The online gallery will remain active indefinitely.

Who submitted their artwork?

Portraits of Resilience Project brought together more than 3000 makers of all ages, from across Canada and around the world. A list of the artists can be found on a panel text inside the exhibition.

I submitted my artwork to the Portraits of Resilience Project. How can I see my artwork?

A formal invitation, with details about how to redeem your two complimentary tickets, will come via email in mid-March.

How was the artwork selected?

The AGO Education and Programming Curatorial team reviewed and selected images, based on the theme of resilience and our code of conduct, to be exhibited in the online gallery and in I AM HERE. The order of the images is random.

How do I find my artwork once I am inside the exhibition?

The exhibition is on Level 5 of the AGO’s Contemporary Tower. The digital tribute is a slideshow composed of submitted images playing on a wall mounted screen. The run time of the video is approximately 5 hours, after which it loops again. Panel text adjacent to the screen lists the names of all those whose work is featured. The slideshow cannot be paused but there will be a QR code included in the installation that will link to the online exhibition, where participants can find their work and visitors can see the wealth of submissions.

How long will my artwork appear on the AGO Portraits of Resilience Site?

At this time, the online gallery will end as of June 29th, 2023. Your artwork will be on view from April 13, 2022 until August 14, 2022.

Can I mail my artwork to you?

No. We were only able to accept digital images during the Portraits of Resilience call out and we are no longer accepting artwork submissions at this time.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the process of adapting to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.

What is a portrait? Does it have to be a picture of someone?

No. A portrait can be any artistic representation of a person or experience captured in painting, photography, sculpture, collage, print, mixed media or other materials. The intent is to display a likeness, personality, or even a mood.

How were artists selected for the online exhibition?

Artists submitted their artwork via the website, the AGO Education and Programming team reviewed and selected images to be exhibited in the online gallery.

How will you select what artwork is presented at the AGO?

The AGO Education and Programming team will make a selection of works for online presentation based on the theme of resilience and our code of conduct. Participating artists whose work will be selected for an onsite presentation will be notified.

How long will my work appear on the AGO site?

At this time, the online gallery will end as of June 29th, 2023.

Will the AGO be acquiring these works?

No. Makers retain ownership of their artworks.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have any questions, email us at [email protected], or call us at 416 979 6648, Monday to Friday (9 am – 5 pm), and Saturday and Sunday (10 am – 3 pm).

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