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26 March 2022 – 5 June 2022

Derya Akay

Toronto Biennial | Canada


SAHA provides support for Derya Akay’s new project Queery Dowry, for the "Toronto Biennial of Art 2022", “What Water Knows, the Land Remembers.” Curated by Candice Hopkins, Katie Lawson, Tairone Bastien with the curatorial fellows Chiedza Pasipanodya and Sebastian De Line, the second edition of the Biennial will take place 26 March 2022 – 5 June 2022., Akay’s body of works investigates the history of cotton and wool production of the artist's ancestral home, Adana, with regards to the artist's own diverse heritage (Yörük-Ramadanian-Greek-Armenian-Kurdish) and queer-trans identity. 

TBA 2019, titled The Shoreline Dilemma, was the first chapter of the two-part biennial, tracing various interconnected narratives and ecologies of an ever-changing Lake Ontario shoreline. These connections revealed systems of resistance against and movement away from industrial colonial culture, uncovering polyphonic histories embedded in and around the shoreline. 

The second chapter of the Biennial – What Water Knows, the Land Remembers – will explore locations near above-ground and hidden tributaries that channel water into Lake Ontario as well as the ravines that shape the city’s geography. Extending the interconnections of those locations and expanding the notions of the central question from 2019, “What does it mean to be in relation?”, the curators envision expansive forms of kinship—with each other, and with their collaborators, the human and more-than-human — that draw on alternative belief systems. To frame and help guide their collaboration, they have generated a lexicon—a shared vocabulary—to ground their thinking and ongoing processes of exhibition-making.


About Toronto Biennial

The Toronto Biennial of Art’s mission is to make contemporary art accessible to everyone. For 10 weeks every two years, local, national, and international Biennial artists transform Toronto and its partner regions with free exhibitions, performances, and learning opportunities. Grounded in diverse local contexts, the Biennial’s city-wide programming inspires individuals, engages communities, and contributes to global conversations.

The Toronto Biennial of Art launched in 2019 and was a popular and critical success. The Biennial provides expanded understandings of contemporary art practices and is building a legacy of free, inclusive, and accessible contemporary arts programming in Toronto, Mississauga, and their surrounding communities.

As conversations about Truth and Reconciliation as well as inclusion, equity, and accessibility continue to evolve, the Biennial is committed to developing new ways of seeing and listening.

Derya Akay

About Derya Akay

Derya Akay (1988, Turkey) is an artist living in Vancouver. He received the 2016 Portfolio Prize Emerging Artist Award in Vancouver. Recent solo exhibitions include Campbell River Art Gallery, (2017); Pumice, Del Vaz Projects, Los Angeles, California (2017); Painting with Light, Kunstverein Toronto (2015); Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Supper, Centre A, Vancouver (2014). Group exhibitions include Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, (2017); Unit 17, Vancouver (2017); Ambivalent Pleasures, Vancouver Art Gallery (2016); The Gardener Museum, Toronto (2015); Geometry of Knowing Part I, Simon Fraser University Gallery, Burnaby (2015). He has an upcoming residency with the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver titled “Mantı, Börek, Baklava” where Akay will collaborate and collect knowledge about foraging, shopping and cooking from elder women in the region that have all come from an immigrant background.

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