Fragments of Epic Memory brings sights, sounds and moves of the Caribbean to the AGO beginning September 1

Towering sculpture by British Trinidadian artist Zak Ové brings Carnival to Walker Court; steel pan and DJ sets happening every Saturday beginning September 4

TORONTO — An immersive journey into the complex history, beauty and landscape of the Caribbean, the AGO’s new major exhibition Fragments of Epic Memory invites visitors to explore the region and its artistic imagination this fall through a dynamic line-up of talks, events and performances. The exhibition opens to AGO Members on Sept. 1, 2021 and to Annual Passholders and single ticket visitors on Sept. 4.

Two new artworks, commissioned by the AGO, are a highlight of the exhibition. Standing 5 metres tall, Moko Jumbie is a new sculpture by British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové (b. 1966). Inspired by aspects of African masquerade and Trinidadian Carnival, it features a masked figure adorned in antique glass beads, cowbells and gold Air Jordan sneakers, standing atop towering stilts. Moko Jumbie goes on display in Walker Court, the AGO’s central atrium, on Aug. 31, 2021. A guardian who travelled to the region to protect enslaved peoples from evil, the figure of Moko Jumbie blends African diasporic mythologies: in Central Africa, ‘Moko’ refers to a healer, while ‘Jumbie’ is a Caribbean term for spirits. Since the early 1900s, it has been a key figure at Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and across the Caribbean.

Also making its debut is Toronto-based artist Sandra Brewster’s moving portrait of her mother, a large-scale photo transfer on wood entitled Feeding Trafalgar Square (2021). The latest in a series of photographic tributes to her Guyanese-born parents, Brewster’s blue tinged image bridges past and present, turning a joyful moment into a moving meditation on what it means to be displaced.

Curated by the AGO’s Julie Crooks, Fragments of Epic Memory is the first exhibition to be organized by the AGO’s new Department of Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora. Admission is free for all visitors 25 and under, AGO Members and holders of the $35 Annual Pass. Single tickets, which include access to the AGO Collection, are $25 per person. To experience both Andy Warhol and Fragments of Epic Memory, it is recommended that visitors purchase a $35 Annual Pass.

Fragments of Epic Memory talks and performances are supported by Lead Sponsor TD Bank Group, through the TD Ready Commitment. "At TD, we believe artists have the capacity to be agents of education and expand contemporary dialogues around diaspora, race, gender, and identity," says Naki Osutei, Associate Vice President of Social Impact Canada, at TD Bank Group. “We are thrilled to see the complex histories of the Caribbean and its Diaspora brought to the forefront in Fragments of Epic Memory. Through the TD Ready Commitment, TD is proud to support the AGO and sponsor arts and culture events, initiatives and organizations across North America that promote inclusive representation and diverse voices."

The AGO takes safety seriously and strictly adheres to all public health regulations. Visitors are encouraged to visit and review the reopening web page for more information and helpful FAQs, and to self-assess before visiting the Gallery.

Programming highlights for Fragments of Epic Memory are below. For more information about these and other online events, visit ago.ca/events.

Sonic Saturdays

  • Beginning on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 4 and continuing weekly through Nov. 27, visitors to the Gallery will be serenaded by the sounds of the Caribbean.
     

For Youth

  • Born in Jamaica, Dancehall is a uniquely Caribbean genre of music and movement. This fall, Fabiola “MustBeFABY” Dieuve leads a free series of weekly Dancehall workshops for youth. Beginning Sept. 16 at 4:30 p.m., these free Zoom sessions continue weekly until Nov. 4. In each hour long class, Dieuve leads participants through a lecture on the history of the form, a body warm-up, techniques, movement and choreography as well as stretching and meditation. To register and for more details, visit ago.ca/events/beginner-dance-hall-workshops

Talks

  • Curators, artists and musicians come together this fall to explore topics related to Fragments of Epic Memory through a series of free talks.  Be sure to check www.ago.ca/events regularly for updates.

Families

  • The AGO’s monthly series of downloadable colouring cards, each one a line drawing inspired by an artwork in the AGO Collection, resumes this August with a new DIY masterpiece inspired by an exquisite photograph of the Gros Pitons, St. Lucia, taken around 1900 from the recently acquired Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs. To download this and other colouring cards in the series, visit ago.ca/learn/learning-resources/everyone.

Teachers

Shop & Dine

  • In celebration of Fragments of Epic Memory, AGO Bistro invites visitors to try their new Caribbean-inspired rum punch, perfect for sipping and for sharing. Look for it on menus beginning mid-September and stop by the AGO Bistro patio, open Tuesday – Sunday as of 11 a.m. at the corner of Dundas St. West and McCaul Streets. For full menus, details on hours and capacity limits for the patio, visit ago.ca/dine/ago-bistro.
     
  • shopAGO invites visitors to take home a souvenir of the exhibition with YAWDI’s Jerk Marinade, a quintessential Jamaican culinary classic; eeBoo’s Celebration, a 1000-piece puzzle of a colourful painting by Mexican artist Ana Leovy; and The Caribbean: Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism, an in-depth book about the region from a pan-Caribbean perspective by Franklin W. Knight. For more details about these and other related products, visit shop.ago.ca/store or explore shopAGO in person. Physical distancing and capacity measures are in place inside the shop.

Acknowledgments

The AGO is grateful to the following support of Education & Programming:

Talks and Performances generously supported by:
Lead Sponsor: TD Bank Group, through the TD Ready Commitment

Youth Programs generously supported by:
The Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation

Accessibility Programs generously supported by:
Greenrock Charitable Trust

Colouring Cards are generously supported by:
Lead Sponsor: Upper Canada College
Generous Support: The Mariano Elia Foundation

Additional assistance from:
Matthew Teitelbaum Fund for Community Access Initiatives

Family Programs generously supported by:
Janis Rotman

School and Teacher Programs are generously supported by:
The Weston Family Teacher Training Fund established by the Weston Family Foundation

Education programs at the AGO are supported by endowment funds from the Arthur Lismer Group, The Learning Circle, and the Learning Fund.

Fragments of Epic Memory is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Lead Sponsor:                        TD Bank Group, through the TD Ready Commitment

Supporting Sponsor:               Panasonic

Contributing Sponsor:             KPMG

Generous Support:                 Phil Lind & Ellen Roland
                                           Volunteers of the AGO
                                           Women’s Art Initiative

Generous Assistance:            Cindy & Shon Barnett
                                           David W. Binet
                                           Dr. Carlyle Farrell
                                           Friends of Global Africa & the Diaspora
                                           The Michael Young Family Foundation

Contemporary programming at the AGO generously supported by the Canada Council of the Arts. 

@AGOToronto | #CaribbeanArtAGO  

ABOUT THE MONTGOMERY COLLECTION OF CARIBBEAN PHOTOGRAPHS AT THE AGO

The Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs was in part donated by Patrick Montgomery, and in part purchased by the AGO with funds from Dr. Liza & Dr. Frederick Murrell, Bruce Croxon & Debra Thier, Wes Hall & Kingsdale Advisors, Cindy & Shon Barnett, Donette Chin-Loy Chang, Kamala-Jean Gopie, Phil Lind & Ellen Roland, Martin Doc McKinney, Francilla Charles, Ray & Georgina Williams, Thaine & Bianca Carter, Charmaine Crooks, Nathaniel Crooks, Andrew Garrett & Dr. Belinda Longe, Neil L. Le Grand, Michael Lewis, Dr. Kenneth Montague & Sarah Aranha, Lenny & Julia Mortimore, and the Ferrotype Collective, 2019.

ABOUT THE AGO
Located in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, attracting approximately one million visitors annually. The AGO Collection of more than 120,000 works of art ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists and European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, including solo exhibitions and acquisitions by diverse and underrepresented artists from around the world. In 2019, the AGO launched a bold new initiative designed to make the museum even more welcoming and accessible with the introduction of free admission for anyone 25 years and under and a $35 annual pass. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.

The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO Members, donors and private-sector partners.

-30-

For media inquiries, please contact:

Wendy So; Communications Officer
Wendy.So@ago.ca

Andrea-Jo Wilson; Manager, Public Relations
Andrea-Jo.Wilson@ago.ca

Be the first to find out about AGO exhibitions and events, get the behind-the-scenes scoop and book tickets before it’s too late.
You can unsubscribe at any time.