September 21 – December 1, 2019

Ancestors, Can You Read Us? (Dispatches from the Future) is half of a two-part installation at the Ryerson Image Centre and 259 Lake Shore Blvd E that draws on the shared language of speculative fiction and political activism. Ware transforms the Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall into an imagined time portal through which the next generation of racialized activists offers insights into a future radically altered by climate change.

Ancestors, Can You Read Us? (Dispatches from the Future) is co-commissioned by the RIC and the Toronto Biennial of Art. Antarctica, a related installation by Ware, is on view at 259 Lake Shore Blvd E.

Learn more about Syrus Marcus Ware’s practice by listening to the Short Format series on the Toronto Biennial of Art Podcast. Interviewed by Aliya Pabani, episode 3 with Ware is available HERE.


Syrus Marcus Ware (born in Montreal, QC, Canada; lives in Toronto, ON, Canada) is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator, and educator. He uses painting, installation, and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture, and has shown widely in galleries and festivals across Canada. He is part of the Performance Disability Art Collective and a core team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. He has won several recognitions including the TD Arts Diversity Award (2017), Steinert & Ferreiro Award (2012), and “Best Queer Activist” from NOW Magazine (2005).

Learn more about Syrus Marcus Ware’s practice by listening to episode 3 of the Toronto Biennial of Art Podcast “Short Format”, available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

Exhibition Site

Ryerson Image Centre

Ryerson University sits on the grounds of the original Toronto Normal School, the first teachers college in Ontario, founded by Egerton Ryerson in 1847. A colonial institution, it was developed out of the need for education in Upper Canada. Changing to meet shifting needs during the world wars, the Ryerson Institute of Technology was founded as a trade school in 1948, before becoming a university in 1993. The Ryerson Image Centre was founded in 2012; it included the building of three public gallery spaces, an extensive archive, and a research centre.

33 Gould St.
Toronto ON
M5B 1W1