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Sir David Adjaye, Christi Belcourt, Junot Díaz and Paul Gross unite for AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall

Provocative speaker series returns for a timely discussion on Art and Nationhood, with moderator Matt Galloway and singer Tanya Tagaq

TORONTO: After a sold-out launch last fall, AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall returns to address Art and Nationhood through the eyes of four acclaimed artists. Architect Sir David Adjaye, visual artist Christi Belcourt, author Junot Díaz and filmmaker Paul Gross join moderator Matt Galloway, host of CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning, for an evening of inspired conversation on the nation-state and its impacts. The discussion will address current global politics and how art shapes our understanding of place, history and progress. The event, taking place on April 21, 2017 at 8 p.m., kicks off with a performance by JUNO Award-winning Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq and will be live-streamed at and broadcast nationally on CBC Radio One.

With the rapid rise of nationalist movements in the West following Brexit and the election of Donald Trump—and as we mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation—there is no better moment to ask, “What makes a nation?” Galloway will lead the artists in a discussion that begins with the ways each has approached this question in their practice before opening up the conversation to debate broader questions about today’s political moment, including issues of migration, colonialism, protest and how we might find connection across difference.

A landmark partnership between the Art Gallery of Ontario, Massey Hall, CBC and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Creative Minds is supported by Series Presenters Jonas and Lynda Prince, whose leadership inspired the development of the project. The semi-annual series aims to examine the present and imagine our futures through the eyes of some of the world’s most innovative and socially-engaged artists, while celebrating the vitally important role their work plays in shaping our lives.

Tickets for AGO Creative Minds at Massey Hall will be available through the Roy Thomson Hall box office, and range from $19.50 to $79.50. Tickets go on sale to members of AGO Curator’s Circle, AGO Next and Massey Hall Friends First on March 8 at 12 p.m.; to AGO Members on March 9 at 12 p.m.; and to the public on March 10 at 12 p.m. 

Creative Minds debuted in September 2016, with a sold-out crowd offering a standing ovation to speakers André Alexis, Rebecca Belmore, Deepa Mehta and Buffy Sainte-Marie after an engaging discussion on the theme of Art and Social Justice.

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Creative Minds is supported by Series Presenters Jonas and Lynda Prince.


About Sir David Adjaye OBE

Sir David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Now based in London, U.K., Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents. His influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. Since forming Adjaye Associates in 2000, he has won several prestigious commissions, including the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo (2005), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007), and the forthcoming new home of the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2009 a team led by Adjaye was selected to design the new $360 million Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington DC., which opened in September 2016 to universal praise. Adjaye frequently collaborates with contemporary artists on art and installation projects, including Chris Ofili and Olafur Eliasson. In 2015 a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of his work to date was held at Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Art Institute of Chicago.

About Christi Belcourt

Christi Belcourt is a Michif (Métis) visual artist and author whose ancestry originates from the Métis historic community of Manitou Sakhigan (Lac Ste. Anne) in Alberta, Canada. Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario, where in 2015 her painting The Wisdom of the Universe was voted by Gallery visitors to win the “People’s Choice” award. She is the co-founder of Walking with our Sisters, a touring memorial project that honours the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada and the United States. In 2015, her work gained international recognition when she collaborated with the fashion house Valentino to create a print based on her work Water Song. In 2016, Belcourt received a Governor General’s Innovation Award for the role of her work in raising awareness about Indigenous issues in Canada.

About Junot Diaz

Junot Díaz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has centred the American immigrant experience in his celebrated work. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Díaz is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the recipient of the Ella Baker Award from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, recognizing writers for work that advances social justice.

About Matt Galloway

Matt Galloway is the host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One, 99.1 FM, and the co-host of Podcast Playlist on CBC Radio One. He has anchored CBC Radio's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics live from Beijing, and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2012, he was given the Excellence In Community Service Award for addressing issues confronting diverse communities by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, and in 2013, received the Award for Diversity and Social Inclusion by the Tagore Anniversary Celebrations Committee of Toronto. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Toronto Life Magazine named him one of Toronto's Top 50 Most Influential people, and he also received the African Canadian Achievement Award for excellence in Media.

About Paul Gross

Paul Gross is one of Canada’s most popular actors on stage and screen, internationally known for his role as Constable Benton Fraser on the award-winning drama series Due South. Gross wrote, directed and starred in the films Hyena Road, Passchendaele and Men with Brooms, which was the highest-grossing English-language Canadian film of the previous 20 years. Passchendaele was the highest grossing Canadian film of 2008 and won five Genie Awards, including Best Picture. He has won multiple Gemini awards for his performances, including two for the critically acclaimed series Slings & Arrows. A recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and the Earle Grey Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Gross was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2013.

About Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq is a JUNO Award-winning Inuit throat singer whose blazing, political, galvanizing music has gained international acclaim. Her most recent album, Retribution, a portrait of a violent world in crisis, follows on the heels of her celebrated album Animism, which won the 2014 Polaris Prize. Hailed by Rolling Stone as “one of today's most electric, transfixing performers in any genre,” Tagaq has collaborated with Björk, the Kronos Quartet, Buffy Sainte-Marie and other artists across Canada and around the world. In 2016, she was named to the Order of Canada for her extraordinary contributions to Canadian culture.

About the Art Gallery of Ontario
With a collection of more than 95,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. 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.

About The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall
The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall is a not-for-profit charitable organization operating two of Canada’s premier concert halls. Showcasing the world’s greatest performers in all disciplines, the two halls are also prominent venues for diverse activities in the business and entertainment district of downtown Toronto. Managed by a professional management team with a volunteer Board of Governors, the Corporation’s mission is to provide a world-renowned environment to showcase international artists and entertainment; to provide public space for the cultural and corporate communities of the Greater Toronto Area; to support the development of Canadian talent; to increase and enhance its worldwide profile as a leader in the arts community through its professionalism and programming.

About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. We are Canada’s trusted source of news, information and Canadian entertainment. Deeply rooted in communities all across the country, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also provide international news and information from a uniquely Canadian perspective. In 2017, CBC/Radio-Canada will be at the heart of the celebrations and conversations with special 2017-themed multi-platform programming and events across Canada. 

À propos de CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada est le radiodiffuseur public national du Canada et l’une des plus grandes institutions culturelles du pays. Nous sommes la source de confiance des Canadiens pour l’information et les contenus de divertissement canadiens. Profondément enracinée dans les communautés de partout au pays, CBC/Radio-Canada offre une programmation diversifiée en français, en anglais et en huit langues autochtones. Nous présentons également un point de vue typiquement canadien sur l’information internationale. En 2017, CBC/Radio-Canada sera au cœur des célébrations et des conversations avec sa programmation spéciale multiplateforme sur le thème de 2017 et sa couverture des événements partout au Canada.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach. 


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Samantha Chater; Communications Officer
416-979-6660, ext. 504 | 

Carly Maga; Communications Officer
416-979-6660, ext. 403 |

Caitlin Coull; Associate Director, Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364 |

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