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Toronto Now Series Explores Modern Treasures of South Asian Neighbourhoods

(TORONTO - January 31, 2011) The sixth installment of the Art Gallery of Ontario's ongoing Toronto Now series will feature an exhibition by local artist Sameer Farooq and international artist Mirjam Linschooten. Organized in collaboration with SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre), the AGO presents The Museum of Found Objects: Toronto (Maharaja and --), on view from February 5 to April 3, 2011.  

The Museum of Found Objects: Toronto (Maharaja and --) features an archive of everyday objects from Toronto's South Asian neighborhoods.   Using traditional museum tactics such as collecting, preparing, interpreting and displaying, Farooq and Linschooten have created what appears to be a typical museum installation.  On closer inspection, it is apparent that their museum cases contain objects from active South Asian neighbourhoods in Brampton, Mississauga, Scarborough and Milton.  As a result, the process of making art and displaying art becomes unexpectedly merged.

Coinciding with Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts, The Museum of Found Objects: Toronto creates an opportunity for visitors to make a clever comparison between the value of historic and present-day objects.  The Maharaja exhibition celebrates the historic pride of Indian culture and the splendours of India's great Kings.  The Museum of Found Objects considers the importance of everyday objects, creating a museum of the present that reflects the on the experience of South Asians living in Toronto.

"We are thrilled to be working with SAVAC and the artists to present The Museum of Found Objects: Toronto," says Michelle Jacques, AGO acting curator of Canadian art.  "This project is a fascinating example of how contemporary artists challenge and expand art history and museum practices. Farooq and Linschooten were inspired by the Maharaja exhibition, but their project also celebrates a living community and an ongoing culture."

A reception to celebrate the opening of The Museum of Found Objects: Toronto (Maharaja and --) will take place in the Young Gallery on Saturday, February 5 from 6 to 9 pm. The Young Gallery is located next to FRANK, the AGO's signature restaurant. 

For an interactive look at the museum's collection as it grows, please visit http://www.themuseumoffoundobjects.com/.

The Museum of Found Objects was first developed in Istanbul, as a commission from the Turkish Ministry of Culture during the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture.

The AGO's Toronto Now series launched in March 2010 with an aim to feature emerging and established local artists on an ever-changing basis, with new installations rotating every two months and always on view for free. Artists previously featured include Dean Baldwin, Will Munro, and Allyson Mitchell, among others. The next installation, launching April 2011, will feature works by multi-media artist Jon Sasaki.

Toronto Now is generously supported by The Contemporary Circle. Contemporary programming at the AGO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

ABOUT SAMEER FAROOQ and MIRJAM LINSCHOOTEN

Sameer Farooq (Canada) and Mirjam Linschooten (France) collaborate on projects. Their work often (but not always) touches upon subjects of archiving, embedded power, the gap between language and object, advanced faking, site-specific reactions, sam-pling, continual reconsideration, paranoid hoarding, ordering, important choices, insider vs. outsider perspectives, the present and the future, class, the surface, type treatments, organization according to unidentifiable systems (and, surrealist montage procedures), reproduction and representation, the construction of meaning, the wunderkammer, newspapers, facts, ways of disseminating data into the world, fiction and non-fiction, discourse and power, digital and actual ready-mades, traces, the public, signs and the symbolic order, and rewriting the present, and their work always aims to challenge hegemony and masculinist domination!

ABOUT SAVAC

Since 1993, SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) has been dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary visual art by South Asian artists. SAVAC presents innovative programming, which critically explores issues and ideas shaping South Asian identities and experiences. SAVAC operates without a gallery space, but collaborates with various organizations locally, nationally and internationally, to produce exhibitions, screenings, online projects and artistic interventions.

ABOUT THE AGO

With a permanent collection of more than 79,450 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery's façade; and the feature staircase, spiraling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic new African art gallery; from the cutting-edge works in the contemporary tower to Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.

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For AGO information contact:

Sean O'Neill, 416-979-6660 ext. 403, sean_oneill@ago.net
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416-979-6660 ext. 454, antonietta_mirabelli@ago.net

For SAVAC information contact:

Srimoyee Mitra, Programming Co-ordinator, 416-542-1661, srimoyee@savac.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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