Art at The Bentway

The Bentway is a unique urban platform for the presentation of public art, commissioning and hosting an ever-changing array of visual and performing art projects. Art at The Bentway is guided by our programming objectives and principles, which prioritize innovative artwork that is accessible, connected, generative, and participatory.

It’s All Right Now

Exhibition runs May 22-June 22, 2020

It’s All Right Now is a public art project and a collective movement that confronts and captures our varied perspectives, experiences and understandings of life in COVID-19.

When entire communities, cities, or nations are tested, specific symbols and slogans tend to emerge as points of connection or collective rallying cries. The repeated chorus that “we’re all in this together” offers comfort in unity, but doesn’t necessarily reflect the spectrum of experiences, sentiments, and thoughts that we each hold.

Twenty Toronto-based artists were commissioned to respond to a simple inquiry: “What words are you living by?” The artists each created powerful textual responses in their own visual styles that, together, speak to the diversity and multiplicities of this complex moment: hopeful, fearful, forward-looking, introspective, joyful, even rousing.

It’s All Right Now manifests first on generously-donated digital billboards across the city (including along the Gardiner Expressway and at Yonge-Dundas Square). Sites that had, in “the before”, been platforms for consumer marketing, and just weeks ago used to share mass directives on public health safety and social distancing guidelines, are re-tuned for a newly honest and artist-driven dialogue.

In the month of June, this will project will continue to roll out on Toronto’s streets, walls, civic landmarks, and digital public spaces, and along the Waterfront and The Bentway itself; claiming the city itself as a canvas and reaffirming the importance of the public realm. (Find and see this project in person!)

To explore the artworks and contribute to the time capsule, visit www.itsallrightnow.ca.

Upcoming Projects

Coming 2021
Double Dribble by Esmaa Mohamoud

Double Dribble will transform The Bentway into a surreal playground that encourages visitors to create their own idea of play. The installation is comprised dozens of basketball nets of varying sizes and heights and courtlines running dysfunctionally throughout the site. The exhibition will interact with The Bentway’s environment to create endless opportunities and public experiences that are accessible and participatory.

“In creating Double Dribble, I really wanted to challenge and disrupt the rules of play and who gets to play. I often feel like spaces aren’t accessible to a variety of people for many reasons. I hope Double Dribble is a site of accessibility, and moreover, a space for the reinvention of play.” – Esmaa Mohamoud

Mohamoud is an African-Canadian sculptor/installation artist working in Toronto. Her sculptures and installations focus on the navigation of Black bodies in contemporary spaces. Engaged in the politics surrounding Black male bodies in particular, her work investigates the (in)tangibility of Blackness through the exploration of athletics—specifically, the sport of basketball. Through the presentation of the conceptual artwork, Mohamoud aims to re-examine our contemporary understanding of Blackness by challenging ones relationship to blackness as a colour and shade, and Blackness as a societal or cultural construction of a group of people. Mohamoud holds a BFA from Western University (2014) and an MFA from OCAD University (2016). Mohamoud is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects.

Double Dribble is part of The Bentway’s Spring/Summer 2020 season of programming, informed by the theme Playing in Public. This season will explore the history of play, its role in shaping decisions about city fabric, and its application in non-traditional public spaces.

Double Dribble will run through The Bentway’s Spring/Summer 2020 Season.

Ongoing Projects