In response to various objects in Luis Jacob’s installation The View From Here, Bonnie Devine introduces a surveyor’s transit from her project Circles and Lines: Michi Saagiig, 2018. View-finding instruments have been used since antiquity to mark out, allot, and regulate land, including the land of the Mississauga Nation that was transferred to the British in the Toronto Purchase of 1787, and the Toronto Indenture of 1805. Bringing Jacob’s sculpture The Riddle, 2018, into conversation with the transit, Devine engages visitors in a discussion around cartography, ownership and the weaponization of the Colonial gaze.
Adopting maps, printed street-views, books, and the city’s landscape, artist Luis Jacob’s installation explores many of Toronto’s conflicting narratives. As a central dynamic of the project, situated at Union Station and 259 Lake Shore Blvd E, Jacob has invited a series of guest artists, researchers, and thinkers who, from their own research and practices, extend the context of his presented materials. From mapping forms of social storytelling, to understanding cultural belongings as repositories of relations, and working with printed matter as sites of neighbourhood organizing—each offering reveals another View from Here.
Image credit: The View from Here with Bonnie Devine, 2019. Photo: Yuula Benivolski.
Bonnie Devine is an installation artist, video maker, curator, writer, and educator. Using cross-disciplinary iterations of written, visual, and performative practice, Devine explores issues of land, environment, treaty, history, and narrative. Though formally educated in Fine Art at the Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCAD U) and York University in Toronto, Devine’s most enduring learning came from her grandparents, who were Anishinaabe trappers on the Canadian Shield in northern Ontario. Recent public acknowledgements of Devine’s practice include a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2021, and an Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award and OCAD U’s Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity in 2019. Her installation, video, and curatorial projects have been shown in solo and group exhibitions and film festivals across Canada and in the USA, South America, Europe, Russia, and China, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Berlin International Film Festival, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and Today Art Museum in Beijing. An Associate Professor Emerita and the Founding Chair of the Indigenous Visual Culture program at OCAD U, Devine sits on several cultural boards and councils in the United States and Canada. She is based in Toronto.
Luis Jacob is a Peruvian-born, Toronto-based artist, whose work destabilizes viewing conventions and invites collisions of meaning. He studied semiotics and philosophy at the University of Toronto. Since participating in documenta 12 in 2007, he has achieved an international reputation with exhibitions at the Corner at Whitman-Walker, Washington, D.C. (2021); Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, and Toronto Biennial of Art (2019); La Biennale de Montréal (2016); Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2015); Taipei Biennial (2012); Generali Foundation, Vienna (2011); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); Kunstverein in Hamburg and Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (2008). In 2015, he co-curated the conference This is Paradise: Art and Artists in Toronto with Barbara Fischer, in collaboration with Kitty Scott. In 2016, he curated the exhibition Form Follows Fiction: Art and Artists at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, with a catalogue co-published with Black Dog Press in 2020.