Alves’s sculpture traces the former curving path of the Don River, straightened in the 1880s to open and speed up the flow of polluted waters as part of the City of Toronto’s Don River Improvement Plan. Phantom Pain makes visible the complicated and often buried histories of Toronto’s watersheds, both natural and built. Yet, in spite of the radical changes to the river, the water still makes its way to the lake.

Co-commissioned by Evergreen’s Don River Valley Art Program and the Toronto Biennial of Art, and a partnership with the City of Toronto and Toronto Region Conservation Authority. Garrison Creek, a related project by Alves, is on view at 259 Lake Shore Blvd E.

Learn more about Maria Thereza Alves’ practice by listening to the Short Format series on the Toronto Biennial of Art Podcast. Interviewed by Aliya Pabani, episode 2 with Alves is is available HERE.


Maria Thereza Alves (born in São Paulo, Brazil; lives in Naples, Italy and Berlin, Germany) has participated in exhibitions including: Manifesta 12, Palermo, 2018; Sharjah Biennial 13, 2016–18; 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, 2016; and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, 2012. She is the recipient of The New School’s 2016–18 Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics. Alves co-founded the Partido Verde of São Paulo in Brazil. As a member of the International Indian Treaty Council, Alves made an official presentation of human rights abuses of the Indigenous population of Brazil at the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva. She is a participant in the Biennale of Sydney, 2020.


  • Accessibility

    Riverdale Park West

    Outdoor venue. Limited accessibility due to grass and stairs.

  • Getting There

    Riverdale Park West

    By Public Transportation:

    By Bus: Riverdale Park West is a short walk from the Gerrard St. E/River Street TTC stop serviced by the 506 Carlton Streetcar, running both east and west along Carlton Street.

    By Subway: Castle Frank is the closest subway station to Riverdale Park West, with connections via TTC bus/streetcar available to complete the trip.

    By Car: Take the Don Valley Parkway to the Bayview/Bloor exit, following the signs for Bayview Ave. southbound. The park is accessible via Bayview Ave, River St, and parking can be found along Carlton St.