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The things they carried

Located at Yonge Dundas Square, Bay Street between Queen Street W. and Wellington Street, Line 3 Scarborough (Kennedy Station, Lawrence East Station, Ellesmere Station, Midland Station and Scarborough Centre Station), and Scarborough Civic Centre.

Curated by Tairone Bastien, this exhibition features eight projects.

Tairone Bastien

Curatorial Statement

The Things They Carried reflects on the immigrant stories of Toronto. Waves of new arrivals have helped shape and define the character of the city. Yet, recognizing the full breadth of their contributions is often subjective and flawed. Some stories are celebrated while others are obscured, dismissed or forgotten. The demolition of the Ward and its erasure, until recently, from the city’s imaginary, is symptomatic of this move to silence.

Immigrants no longer hold the city’s centre. Instead, they occupy its edges, in places like Scarborough, a heterogeneous neighbourhood bursting with intercultural dialogue and action. Here, stories of newcomers’ journeys remain ever-present and vital, encoded in traditions and myths and expressed through popular art forms like music, food and graffiti that occupy our city’s streets.

The exhibition invites viewers to explore the city, from the former site of the Ward in downtown Toronto, to Scarborough. Artists Brendan Fernandes, Ken Lum and eL Seed engage with and amplify the creative voices of immigrant communities, from food to music, performance to street-art, as they recall the journeys that brought many of us here and provoke consideration of the material and immaterial things we forgot or carried with us along the way. Thank you to Clayton Windatt.

— Tairone Bastien


Tairone Bastien is an independent curator working between Toronto and Dubai. Most recently, he directed programming for Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, establishing a wide-ranging program that supports artists and arts professionals in the MENASA region. Tairone has also been a curator for Performa in New York, organizing performances, radio broadcasts and site-specific installations for Performa 05, Performa 07 and Performa 09. He holds an MA from the Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

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