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AGO Youth Council Programming Focuses on Identity, Nationality and Community

(Toronto, July 31, 2008) Throughout 2008, the AGOYouth Council will showcase a lineup of innovative programming withthree major projects that focus on identity, nationality and community.

First, the members of the Youth Council will explore issues ofpersonal identity through a project with renowned local artist DanBergeron. Using photographs of the council members that showcaseaspects of their individual identity, Bergeron will create large-scaleportraits in his signature style and display them on portions of theconstruction hoarding surrounding the AGO. This project will beinstalled in August.

In November the AGO Youth Council will explore the issue ofimmigration and nationality through a multidisciplinary projectcurrently titled No One Is Illegal. Working with guest artistSrimoyee Mitra and local community group No One Is Illegal – Toronto,members of the Youth Council will share their own thoughts andexperiences of immigration through a new performance piece. No One Is Illegal will be performed in November, to coincide with the opening of the new AGO.

Finally, in December the council will launch the fourth issue of SeiZurezine. The theme of the issue is “belonging&lrquo; and contributorswill discuss the concepts of home and community. For this issue, thecouncil has partnered with youth from Delisle Youth Services, who willtake courses at the AGO’s Gallery School and develop content based ontheir experiences.

“We have had the chance to work with some amazing guest artists whohave inspired the participants to reach new heights in theirartmaking,&lrquo; says Syrus Ware, program coordinator for YouthPrograms at the AGO. “This year’s projects are extremely reflective,and show an understanding of the interconnectedness of human struggleand resistance.&lrquo;

In addition to its own programming, the Youth Council has also partnered with several community organizations on Walls of Sorrow, Walls of Hope,an art installation comprising video, sculpture, dance, painting andaudio elements to explore global poverty and human rights. The AGOdonated space in its Gallery School for the creation of the piece andthe Youth Council served as mentors for the project as well asparticipating as artists. Walls of Sorrow, Walls of Hope will be on display in the rotunda of Toronto City Hall from August 13 to 17.

For nearly 10 years, the AGO’s Youth Council has met weekly at theGallery to design programming that is relevant and responds to theneeds of youth in the Greater Toronto Area. Some past projects of thecouncil include The Living Room Project, which won a 2005 Untitled Art Award; H.Y.P.E. I, II and III; Carbon Copy; Sew What?; and The Sound Art Project, part of Luminato 2008.

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s Youth Council is a part of the AGO’s Teens Behind the Scenes. The Gallery is grateful to the Tippet Foundation for their generous support.

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For media information or visuals, please call:
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416 979 6660, ext. 454, Antonietta_Mirabelli@ago.net

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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