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Gardiner Museum commissions new public artwork honouring Indigenous presence on Turtle Island

2 years ago

Coming in 2021 as part of the ArtworxTO Year of Public Art

Toronto—The Gardiner Museum is commissioning a new permanent public artwork to honour the ongoing Indigenous presence on Turtle Island. As part of the ArtworxTO Year of Public Art, the Museum has released a Call for Expressions of Interest shaped by an Advisory Group chaired by Gardiner Board Member Kent Monkman and comprised of local Indigenous community members. The application process is open to Indigenous artists (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis).

As a ceramics museum, the Gardiner celebrates the material of the earth itself, making it a fitting location for a physical embodiment of Indigenous presence on the land. On the traditional territory of the Anishnaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Petun, the Wendat, and the treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the project may also honour the connections among the many Indigenous communities that this land has supported from time immemorial.

In keeping with the Gardiner’s mission of building community with clay, the commissioned artwork will be clay-based or involve a ceramic component. It will be installed on the Gardiner’s outdoor plaza in the high traffic area of Queen’s Park, guaranteeing free public access.

Following the open call and a long-list review, the Advisory Group will ask three artists to submit full proposals. The finalists will be announced in December 2020, and a selection will be made by February. The artwork will be installed and unveiled in fall 2021.

This new public commission will join the two public sculptures currently installed on the plaza—Untitled (head) by Jun Kaneko and Cracked Wheat by Shary Boyle—as well as a third sculpture by Toronto-based artist An Te Liu, coming in spring 2021.

The project is funded by a grant from ArtworxTO Year of Public Art, as well as a financial contribution from the Gardiner.

Read the full application


Andre Morriseau, Communications Manager, Ontario Native Women’s Association
Kerry Swanson, Managing Director, Indigenous Screen Office
Catherine Tammaro, Chair of the Indigenous Arts Committee; Board of Directors, Toronto Arts Council
Mary Anne Barkhouse, Artist
Jason Ryle, Independent Arts Consultant
Kent Monkman, Artist
Duke Redbird, Elder, Saugeen First Nation
Sequoia Miller, Chief Curator, Gardiner Museum


The Gardiner Museum brings together people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared values of creativity, wonder, and community that clay and ceramic traditions inspire.

The Gardiner Museum’s collection of ceramics comprises approximately 4,000 objects, and focuses on specific areas which have been collected in depth. These include a world-renowned collection of European porcelain, with particular strengths in Meissen, Vienna, and Hausmaler decorated porcelain, as well as a comprehensive collection of figures inspired by the commedia dell’arte. It holds the preeminent collection of Italian Renaissance maiolica in Canada, and a superb collection of English tin-glazed pottery. The Gardiner preserves highly significant collections of ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese blue and white porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary Canadian ceramics. It also houses a research library and archives, clay studios, award-winning Shop, and a restaurant.

The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the world’s most notable specialty museums. For more information, please visit: gardinermuseum.com.


Media Contact:
Rachel Weiner
Senior Manager, Marketing
Gardiner Museum

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