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The Drawing Room

A visual dialogue between five North American visual artists, whose work questions how art can be employed as a testament to love, resilience, resistance, and belonging.

Supported by
FREE EVENT
June 8 –July 2, 2019

The Artport Gallery is open 12:00pm - 6:00pm for the entire duration of the festival. 

Step into The Drawing Room, and join in the conversation of five North American visual artists whose use of drawing and portraiture raises questions of race, identity, and community.

In 2018, artist Syrus Marcus Ware was invited to participate in Luminato’s production of Out the Window, a theatrical forum that explored the aftermath of a fatal police brutality lawsuit. During each performance, Ware would conduct a live drawing exercise depicting the site where the murder occurred and portraits of other individuals who had been subjected to violence at the hands of the police.

The Drawing Room continues the valuable dialogues started in Out the Window; artworks from Ware will be featured alongside work from Nathaniel Donnett, Shelley Niro, and Robert Pruitt. The tandem showcase, PROPS, of assemblage sculptures by Lesley Loksi Chan addresses themes of self-representation and issues of privacy. Together, the artworks create a visual conversation surrounding resilience, resistance, and belonging. 
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Reviews

“[Ware's] art challenges systemic oppression.”
– CBC News
“Niro's work centres powerfully not only around brutal histories and colonial ills, but ways to transmute ingrained trauma from past horror to peaceful future.”
– Toronto Star

Photos

Artists

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Syrus Marcus Ware
Syrus Marcus Ware
Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, a visual artist, community activist, researcher, youth-advocate and educator. For 12 years, he was the Coordinator of the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Program. Syrus is currently a facilitator/designer for the Cultural Leaders Lab (Toronto Arts Council & The Banff Centre). He is the inaugural artist-in-residence for Daniels Spectrum (2016/2017). Syrus is also a core-team member of Black Lives Matter Toronto.

As a visual artist, Syrus works within the mediums of painting, installation and performance to challenge systemic oppression.  Syrus’ work explores the spaces between and around identities; acting as provocations to our understandings of gender, sexuality and race.   His work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Windsor, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), Gladstone Hotel, ASpace Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, SPIN Gallery and other galleries across Canada.
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Robert Pruitt
Robert Pruitt
Robert Pruitt’s practice moves through a range of mediums, including Sculpture, Animation and Photography, but is primarily centred on large-scale figurative drawings. The subject of his work is the black body and identity. Through his drawing process, the figures in his work become profiles rooted in a fictional ethnography. I project onto these bodies a juxtaposing series of experiences and adornment materials, denoting a diverse and radical past, present and future. 

Using references to Hip hop, Science and Sci-Fi, technology, comic books, Black political struggles and traditional cultures I am able to create a loose narrative that has become the core ideology of my practice. This narrative attempts to string together the breadth of the black experience and Diaspora to create a sense of commonality and humanity that I find lacking in many forms of black representation. 
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Nathaniel Donnett
Nathaniel Donnett
Nathaniel Donnett lives and works in Houston, Texas and received his BA in Fine Arts at Texas Southern University. Donnett is the founder of the website blog "Not That But This." Donnett is a recipient of a 2017/2011 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant, 2015 Houston Downtown Vehicular Wayfinding Signs Project public art commission. Donnett has also received a 2014 Harpo Foundation Grant, 2015/2011 Idea Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, and a 2010 Artadia Award. Selected exhibitions were at The Ulrich Museum, Wichita, KS, The McColl Center, Charlotte, NC, The American Museum, Washington, DC, The Kemper Contemporary Arts Museum, Kansas City, MO, The Theresa Hotel, Harlem, NY, Harvey B Gantt Art Center for African American Arts and Culture, Charlotte, NC, The Community Artist's Collective, The Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury CT, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX, The University Museum, Houston, TX, and The New Museum, New York, NY.
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Lesley Loksi Chan
Lesley Loksi Chan
Lesley Loksi Chan was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She works in the fields of video, installation and performance with a focus on representations of the personal. Her independent and collaborative works have been supported by the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts and her films have been screened internationally.