The Toronto Biennial of Art is a Registered Canadian Charity that offers thought-provoking and inspiring exhibitions, performances and programs – all free, open and accessible to all members of the public. The Biennial strengthens civic bonds, invests in the city and its artists, residents and communities, promotes accessibility, inclusivity and education, and allows creativity and innovation to flourish.
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For its second Limited Edition, the Toronto Biennial has commissioned Curtis Talwst Santiago to create a new multiple based on his trademark miniature jewelry box dioramas. During Summer 2019, artist and amateur entomologist Curtis Talwst Santiago travelled to the gold mines of Northern Québec to document the regional varietals of no-see-ums as part of a decade-long passion project on the biting insects of North America. While searching for the near-invisible mites Santiago caught sight of the rarely-seen Moose Goddess, the mythical creature who guards the forests and rivers near Val d’Or. Made of solid gold, the Moose Goddess is believed to have risen 2.5 billion years ago from the magma of Archean-age Abitibi volcanic belt, bringing with her the shimmering veins of silver, gold, copper and zinc which now adorn the earthen layers of the Cadillac Fault.
In his first-ever editioned miniature diorama, Santiago captures the elusive Moose Goddess amongst the brilliant bedrock and pastel skies of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.
The practice of Curtis Talwst Santiago (b. Edmonton, AB) is decentralized. Santiago studied as an apprentice of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Santiago has exhibited internationally at venues such as: The New Museum, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Pérez Art Museum Miami; and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah. The artist’s work was featured in the Biennale de Dakar and SITE Santa Fe, both 2018, and the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art. Santiago’s work is acquired internationally by private collectors and is part of the permanent collection of the RBC Art Collection and the Studio Museum in Harlem. In January 2020, Santiago will present his first major solo exhibition Can’t I Alter at the Drawing Centre (NYC).
Curtis Talwst Santiago, The Moose Goddess, 2019. Mahogany wood box, 14kt yellow gold, silver, watercolour and found materials. 2 x 2 ¼ x 1 ¾ in. Edition of 6 + 2 AP
Luis Jacob, The Riddle, 2018. Epoxy resin and marble dust. Edition of 25 + 5 AP
A limited number of the first Toronto Biennial Limited Edition are still available for sale. Commissioned in Fall 2018, the Limited Edition 001 is a sculpture by Luis Jacob which is part of his installation for the Toronto Biennial at Union Station and has become one of the beacons of the Toronto Biennial of Art; one of the signature works used extensively in the biennial’s marketing campaign, including the banners currently hanging on the facade of Toronto’s Union Station.
As Jacob explains: “The Toronto Biennial is an opportunity to look at the world of contemporary art from the vantage-point of this particular city. At every moment of our daily lives, we adopt frames to help us see the world. We frame others and are, in turn, framed by those around us. These frames of reference enable us to understand — but also to misunderstand —our place in this world. The power of the hand is real.”
Luis Jacob (born in Lima, Peru; lives in Toronto, ON, Canada) is an artist whose work destabilizes viewing conventions and invites collisions of meaning. He studied semiotics and philosophy at the University of Toronto. Since his participation in documenta 12, Kassel, 2007, he has achieved an international reputation with exhibitions at venues such as: La Biennale de Montréal, 2016; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York City, 2015; Taipei Biennial, 2012; Generali Foundation, Vienna, 2011; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, 2010; Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2008; and Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 2008.
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