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Nine spectacular visual arts exhibitions set to open at Harbourfront Centre, June 27-September 13

TORONTO, Tuesday, June 16, 2009 — This summer, Harbourfront Centre is excited to showcase an array of visual arts exhibitions. Highlights include the unparalleled outdoor photo exhibition RESPECT: A Photo Odyssey Celebrating Canada's Boreal Forest; exhibitions that are part of World Routes 09 presented by RBC feature works by Canadian and international contemporary Aboriginal artists, along with the work of a Taiwanese artist; and new works by Craft Studio artists-in residence.

The public opening reception takes place on Friday, June 26, 6-10pm at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. Admission to the reception and the exhibitions is free. Exhibitions run from June 27-September 13. Exhibition hours for main gallery: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, noon-6pm; Friday and Saturday, noon-8pm; closed Monday except holiday Mondays, noon-6pm; Regular hours for the Craft Studio: Monday to Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm. For information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit harbourfrontcentre.com/visualarts/yorkquaycentre.cfm

Planet IndigenUs Exhibitions
Visual arts exhibitions form part of Harbourfront Centre’s Planet IndigenUs festival, August 14-16 and 21-23, which explores contemporary expressions of world indigenous cultures. Planet IndigenUs is co-produced with Woodland Cultural Centre, Brandford ON, and generously supported by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.

ALTERNATION: Terrance Houle, Hannah Claus, Tom Jones, Mark Igloliorte, George Littlechild, Jewel Shaw
Curator Ryan Rice has brought together artists from across Canada and the US to explore the day-to-day shifts in traditional and contemporary Indigenous cultures and societies in photography, video and mixed media installations. It is about reaction and distraction, oppression and sovereignty, and absence and presence. Each Indigenous artist represents their relationship to their nation, through alter-nations and sub-cultures that define their multi-centered selves as ever-changing sites to a global/local environment of expansion and contraction/integration and segregation, that is public and/or private. Issues of land, personality/identity, integrity, hybridity, erasure, preservation, community, peace and love are a continuum of tradition; a paradox between transitions and consistency are explored within the exhibition.

Shaping Stories: Michael D. Massie
This exhibition highlights the artist's work in stone and metal. Massie’s work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. In it, he investigates both traditional and contemporary themes. This fusion of ideas, techniques and traditions is a hallmark of Massie’s work. He has achieved renown for his innovative teapots that express his sublime skill at amalgamating powerful imagery and stories from his Inuit heritage with a contemporary European aesthetic. The tea ceremony, ritualized around the world and the teapot, an iconic form used by many craft artists is a signature image for Massie. His intimate portrayals of the teapot celebrate and pay homage to his grandmother. This exhibition is co-presented with Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver BC. This exhibition is curated by Melanie Egan.

Flight to the moon: Keesic Douglas
Douglas explores issues surrounding First Nations issues from an insider's perspective through his own Indigenous lens of being an Ojibway artist. Selections from Keesic Douglas’ still photography and video work The Vanishing Trace—winner of Best Short Documentary at the 2007 imagineNATIVE Film Festival, Toronto as well as Landscapes are installed within York Quay Centre and on its façade.

maang (message stick): r e a
r e a (Aboriginal, Australia) presents a three channel video with sound entitled, maang (message stick), 2007, as part of a larger body of work where the artist works exclusively within the parameters of Indigenous language as comment on loss of land and language, but also the possibility of renaissance, revitalization and regeneration of people, land, language and culture.

Communities II: Frank Shebageget
Communities II—the exhibition at Service Canada at Harbourfront Centre—is an ongoing art piece. A large tarpaper surface (9 x 16 feet) contains the written names of 688 Aboriginal, Inuit, and Metis reserves, communities and bands. The drawing is completed on tarpaper, because the current list is temporary, and will always need continuous updating.

TELUS TAIWANfest: A New Journey Exhibition
Mother Nature: Chen Shu-yen
Mother Nature is a fibre-based installation by Chen Shu-yen, using the indigenous techniques and materials of Taiwan. Chen also presents Soul House, a larger site specific work during Planet IndigenUs and TELUS TAIWANfest: A New Journey, which takes place August 28-30.

Craft Studio Exhibition
2 X 6: Lizz Aston, Deborah Freeman, Shuyu Lu, Adriana McNeely, Meredith Robb, Rachel Robichaud
Harbourfront Centre presents possibility. This exhibition introduces the work of recent additions to the Craft Artist-in-Residency programme. It showcases new work in metal, jewellery, glass and ceramics.

RESPECT: A Photo Odyssey Celebrating Canada's Boreal Forest
Harbourfront Centre is proud to present the remarkable outdoor photo exhibition RESPECT: A Photo Odyssey Celebrating Canada's Boreal Forest. More than 70 giant-sized aerial photographs of Canada’s boreal forest will occupy the grounds of Harbourfront Centre through October 12. The exhibition is open to the public seven days a week, 24 hours a day. This impressive exploration of one of Canada’s most important natural resources is presented in partnership with Montréal-based Boreal Communications and SAJO.

RESPECT is the result of a journey that began in 2006 to document and capture the quintessence of Canada’s boreal forest in order to raise awareness for the preservation of our natural environment, and promote the boreal region as one of the Earth’s most crucial resources. Outstanding works from a team of nine renowned photographers demonstrate the complexity and beauty of the boreal region. The exhibition at Harbourfront Centre features exclusive, never-before-seen photographs of the Far North of Ontario taken between October, 2008 and June, 2009.

RESPECT is curated by Louise Larivière. Prominent photojournalists Allen McInnis, Kazuyoshi Ehara, Jim Ross, John Woods, Todd Korol, Dan Riedlhuber, Jeff Bassett, Chris Young and Andy Clark are the lens through which the public will see the boreal region of Canada. For information and bios about the team and the story behind RESPECT, visit harbourfrontcentre.com and www.borealcommunications.com. RESPECT is generously supported by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Natural Resources Canada.

People We Met Along the Way:
a photo essay on the boreal forest of Canada and those who live there
Part of RESPECT on exhibition through September 13
Photographer Chris Young provides intimate portraits of the unique communities who live in this region. Also included is the short documentary Take me to the River. This video loop is a journey through the seasons as the Albany River and Ontario north unfold their secrets. It is an exceptional aspect of the RESPECT project which highlights the immensity of this land mass north of the 50th parallel in Ontario. Take me to the River premieres at the opening reception from 7-9 pm (Studio Theatre). Curator Louise Larivière will also be on hand to introduce the film.

FOCUS: Shift

Harbourfront Centre wants you to shift gears.

What does it mean to change your perspectives on idea, explore new ways of approaching an old notion or to literally shift gears? From June to September, Harbourfront Centre explores the idea of “shift” throughout its programming. How does an ever-changing culture influence the lives and experiences of artists? What happens when we view the world from a different vantage point? What can be learned from migration, relocation and transformation?

Harbourfront Centre: Change perspectives.

SHIFT is part of an ongoing focus in programming. Our Lens. Your View.

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Media Contact:
Linda Liontis
416-973-4381
lliontis@harbourfrontcentre.com
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