MARKHAM, ON - January 26, 2018 - This season, the Varley is proud to present Wafaa Bilal: 168:01, organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Windsor, and Inscapes, curated by Anik Glaude.

We celebrated the official launch of two new exhibitions at an opening party last Friday. Guests at the reception enjoyed Poetry Busking with Whitney French, light refreshments, a Pop-up Library from the Markham Public Library, music, pop-up gallery tours, and exhibition-related activities which included a blackout poetry workshop. The reception was generously sponsored by Oak Ridges Retirement Community.

168:01 is a major solo exhibition of works by Iraqi-born, New York-based artist Wafaa Bilal, renowned for his online performances and technologically driven encounters that speak to the impact of international politics on individual lives. For this exhibition, Bilal has constructed a makeshift library filled with empty white books. These symbolize the priceless cultural heritage, as well as the libraries, archives and museums whose systematic destruction by occupying forces continues to ravage his homeland. Also included is a powerful suite of photographs titled The Ashes Series (2003 – 2013) that brings the viewer closer to images of violence and war in the Middle East. Using Bilal’s library as a starting point, we have developed the exhibition-related program, The Book of Bridges, to gather monetary and book donations for two commendable causes. Stay tuned for more information on how you can help grow the libraries of The College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad and the John C. Yesno Education Centre in Fort Hope (Eabametoong First Nation).

Featuring works from the Varley Art Gallery of Markham’s permanent collection, Inscapes explores the landscape genre and considers the relationship between it and the natural world it depicts. Original texts by Pushpa Acharya, Whitney French and Sheniz Janmohamed accompany the works, offering new insights and interpretations.

Both exhibitions are available for the public’s enjoyment until April 29, 2018, with free admission.

Learn more about the winter exhibition lineup and related programming at varleyartgallery.ca.

Quotes:

“The arts are key to Markham’s success,” says Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “The exhibitions at the Varley Art Gallery educate, stimulate and inspire. The caliber of talent is second to none. The Gallery continues to amaze and engage visitors. I am proud that this year, the community is helping grow libraries by supporting the Eabametoong First Nation with donations to the John C. Yesno Education Centre in Fort Hope.”

“Happy New Year and welcome to 2018 at the Varley Art Gallery! We are thrilled to host Wafaa Bilal: 168:01 this season and collaborate with Eabametoong First Nation to build The Bridge of Books, an initiative specifically developed to help grow the library of John C. Yesno Education Centre in Fort Hope,” says Gallery Director, Niamh O’Laoghaire. “As a cultural hub, we always strive to partner with diverse local communities to enhance the arts and culture in Markham. We hope you join us for a fun and creative year at the Varley!”

Winter Programs & Events:

The Bridge of Books
Be part of the solution! This winter, the gallery is gathering monetary and book donations for two very worthy causes. Stay tuned for more information on how you can help grow the libraries of The College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad and the John C. Yesno Education Centre in Fort Hope (Eabametoong First Nation)

Life Drawing Drop-in
Thursdays, February 1 – March 8 | $15/drop-in session
Join us every Thursday this winter, February 1 – March 8 from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m for Life Drawing Drop-in sessions in our studio! We offer the opportunity for artists to practice nude drawing and build a social and artistic network by meeting and working amongst their peers. See varleyartgallery.ca for details.

Family Day Canvas Challenge
Monday, February 19 | 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. OR 2 – 4 p.m. | $40/family of 4
Guided by an art educator, families will team up to experiment with a variety of materials to create their own mixed media canvases. Materials are generously sponsored by Above Ground Art Supplies. Visit our website for more details.

PechaKucha Night Markham Vol. 18
Friday, February 23 | Markham Village Library | 7:30 p.m. | Pay What You Want
Connect with Markham’s creative communities! Presenters share their ideas in 20 slides x 20 seconds each. Tickets available starting February 1 at pkmarkham.eventbrite.ca.

Visit varleyartgallery.ca to learn more about events and programs at the Varley Art Gallery.